This cabinet card features three children, likely siblings, posing for their portrait at a photographic gallery in Polotsk, Belarus. The young girl in the photograph is holding a ball held inside netting. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can provide more details about this toy. The previous owner of this cabinet card is from St. Petersburg, Russia. He has provided the photographers location, as well as the photographers name, Bernstein. He also contends that the way that the subjects are dressed in this image, indicates that they are scouts. In addition, the previous owner also asserts that the photographer of this image was Jewish. In fact, research reveals that the population of Polotsk in 1897 was over 20,000, and more than half of those residents were Jewish. There was a strong Orthodox Jewish community there. The “Jewish Virtual Library” indicates that in the late nineteenth century, the city became embroiled in anti-Jewish agitation.
An exquisite looking teen beauty poses for her portrait at the studio of Fieldman. Fieldman had two galleries, and they were located in Newark and Jersey City, New Jersey. This Jersey girl has a fine hat and a fine figure. The photographer of this cabinet card photograph was Isidore Fieldman (1869-?). He was born in Russia and arrived in America during 1891. He was listed as a photographer in the 1900 through the 1930 U.S. Census. He and his wife Rose (born in Poland) spoke Yiddish, indicating that they were of the Jewish faith. During at least some of their years, the couple and their family lived in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Their children included Esther (born 1890), Milton (born 1901), Margaret (born 1901), Herman (born 1906), George (born 1914). Milton and Margaret were likely twins. Herman joined his father’s photography business.
This cabinet card features a portrait of an attractive young lady. She is posed with her back back toward the camera, a pose which offers a profile view. The photographer of this image is Samuel Sharpsteen of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the photograph was taken in 1890. The previous owner of this cabinet card stated that Sharpsteen was of the Jewish faith, but that is not factually correct. There is a tendency for owners of cabinet cards to see a name that “sounds Jewish” and assume that the bearer of that name, must be Jewish. This kind of logic results in many incorrect identifications of Jewish photographers. It so happens, that Mr. Sharpsteen was of the Methodist faith. Samuel Sharpsteen was born in 1850 near Battle Creek, Michigan. His parents were native New Yorkers who were among the early settlers of Michigan. He was educated in Battle Creek’s public schools and at age 20 left home to apprentice in photography. He then went of Owosso,Michigan, where he and his older brother opened a gallery. After six months, his brother left the partnership; and Sharpsteen stayed in Owosso until 1882. He also married his wife there. His wife’s name was Nattie Tuttle, and she was from Cleveland, Ohio. His next location was Ionia, Michigan, where he stayed 8 years. An 18 month stint in Detroit was followed by his move to Grand Rapids. His gallery was in Grand Rapids from 1888 until , at least, 1903. His studio moved around a lot. Research located nine different Grand Rapids locations over the years that he was there. In addition, he had a partner in 1890 and their studio was known as Sharpsteen & Andrews. The Bulletin of Photography (1916) announced Sharpsteen’s death. He died in Grand Rapids at age 71.
This family portrait cabinet card was photographed by Sorensen Bela in the city of Papa, Hungary. Due to the age of the seated man and woman, it is difficult to determine the family constellation. Is this a photograph of parents with two daughters? Perhaps its a photograph of a set of parents, their daughter, and their granddaughter? The community of Papa is a historical town in northeast Hungary. The town is noted for its baroque architecture and for being the center of the reformed faith in Transdanubia. In addition, Papa was the third to largest Jewish community in 19th century Hungary.
Lily Hanbury (1874-1908) appears on this Cabinet Card by Sarony of New York City. Sarony was one of the celebrated photographers of Theater Stars of the day. Hanbury was an English Stage Performer. She was born and educated in London. Her theatrical debut was in 1888 when she appeared in W. S. Gilbert’s “Pygmalion and Galatea” at the Savoy Theatre. She played on most major English stages and in such productions as “The Three Musketeers”, “The Stranger”, “Lights O London”, and Ibsen’s “Enemy of the People”. She became very popular with her performances in Shakespeare, acting in plays under the management of both Wilson Barrett and Beerbohm Tree. Tragicially, Hanbury lost her life at a young age when she died of complications after delivering a still-born baby. She was cremated and buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Willieden, England.
This Cabinet card featuring a well dressed couple, offers a bit of mystery. The last owner of this card states that this couple are “Brody Yiddish Singers”. So what does that mean? First of all, Brody is a city in Lviv Oblast (province) of western Ukraine. The city was a crossroads and jewish trade center in the 19th century. Brody is considered to be Shtetls, Brodersanger, Purim, Jewish theater, CzarAlexander III, Berl Margulis, Berl Broder, one of the “shtetls”. The city was famous for the Brodersanger or Broder singers who were among the first Jews to publicly perform Yiddish songs outside of Purim (a holiday) and wedding celebrations. These performers were the precursors of jewish theater. Due to anti Jewish regulation enacted in 1882 by Czar Alexander III of Russia and the resulting exodus of Russian Jews; throughout 1881 hundreds of Jewish immigrants arrived in Brody daily. The most famous Broder singer was Berl Margulis also known as Berl Broder (1815 -1868). It is not certain that this cabinet card really depicts Broder singers and no evidence is available to support the claim , but it is not unusual for families to pass down such information over generations and there is a reasonable chance that the history is correct and the story is worth telling. The photographer of this cabinet card is Buscdorf.
This Cabinet card is an image of a Hasidic Jewish Man. The photograph was taken by M Puhaczevski in Ponevezh, Lithuania. Note the gentleman’s skull cap and his payot (sideburns).
This Cabinet card comes from the estate of a Jewish family. The photograph is an image of a Jewish family in Minsk, Russia. The parents and children are dressed up nicely for their visit to the photographers studio. Note the footwear and the young boy’s hat.
M. Goldberg and his family are photographed by Newman’s Studio of Art Photography. The studio was located on Lexington Avenue in New York City. Perhaps the Goldberg’s were recent Jewish immigrants to America.
This Cabinet card is a photograph of four Jewish children posing in a studio with a background (perhaps added during the developing process) of Hebrew words. This is a Jewish New Years card (Rosh Hashanah). The photographer of this Cabinet card is S. Borsuk of Brooklyn, New York. It is noted that the studio is near Eastern Parkway. Eastern Parkway has some interesting history. It was the first “parkway” and was conceived by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1866 (Olmsted designed Central Park). Eastern Parkway was designed as a wide road with several medians with trees, benches, and bike and pedestrian paths. The concept of the parkway was to bring the country to the city.