In the 1880′s and 1890′s many people came to California to seek their fortune. The couple pictured in this cabinet card found a fortune. The fortune was not gold or money; instead it was E . W. Fortune, a Los Angeles photographer. The couple probably wasn’t disappointed in this excellent image. The subjects are well posed and the photograph has wonderful clarity. The well dressed and handsome gentleman has a neat beard and is holding a book on his lap. He is wearing a pocket watch. The young woman in the portrait has a pretty dress and is wearing a bracelet on her wrist and a pin on her collar. Judging by their general appearance, the couple seems to have been financially well off. The pair are identified on the reverse of the image as Mr and Mrs W. R. Williams. A genealogical investigators heart sinks when he or she sees a name like “Williams” needing to be researched. There are generally just too many “Williams” to sort through, and the researcher ends up with multiple people who fit the description of their quarry. As expected, research gleaned no biographical information about Mr. and Mrs. Williams. The photographer of this cabinet card operated his studio in Los Angeles, California. The address was 151 South Spring Street. City directories for Los Angeles list Fortune operating as a photographer between 1888 and 1893. He certainly may have conducted his business both before and after those dates but no confirmation could be found.
A distinguished looking older gentleman poses for his portrait at the Steckel studio in Los Angeles, California. The subject is very well dressed and has neatly cut hair, a walrus mustache, and a nicely shaped beard. The beard is shaped like the letter “V”. (To view other noteworthy beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best). Note that the gentleman is wearing a lapel pin which is probably representing a fraternal organization. George Steckel (1864-1938) was a highly skilled photographer and won many important awards for his work. In the book “Los Angeles from the Mountains to the Sea” (1921), author, John Steven McGroarty, provides some biographical informaion about the photographer. Stecker was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania and dropped out of public schools at age thirteen. He then worked for a photography studio for two years. He moved to Philadelphia and did photography work there. He then returned to Allentown and opened his own studio which was in business for three years. His next stop was Kansas City, where he worked in the Real Estate field until 1888. He then travelled to Los Angeles and opened a studio, partnering with Joseph H. Lamson (see images by Lamson by clicking on category “Photographer: Lamson”). The partnership eroded after two years, and Stecker opened his own studio in Las Angeles. It is interesting to note that posters made from his 1894 photograph of Eugen Sandow (1867-1925), nude, with the exception of strategically placed fig leaf, are available for sale today. Sandow was a Prussian pioneering body-builder who was a celebrity of his era.
A gentleman, identified as J. B. Titus (on the reverse of the cabinet card) is the subject of this photograph by G. E. Lawrence, of Los Angeles, California. George E. Lawrence was also a member of the California National Guard and was listed as holding a rank of Major and as being a Signal Officer. The military information is listed in a publication of the California Adjutant General’s Office (1906). The subject, Mr. Titus, has an interesting thick and scraggly beard which qualifies him to join the Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Beards (Only the Best)”. Click on the category to view multiple photographs of remarkable beards.
Cabinet Card photograph of a handsome US military man. Do the three stripes mean he is a sergeant? The image is very clear and the photographer was Blanchard of Los Angeles, California.