A young couple pose for their wedding portrait in Mankato, Minnesota. The photographer is the Snow Art Gallery. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription that states “Mrs Fred Drury”. Presumably, Mrs Drury is the woman seen in this image. John R. Snow, the proprietor of the Snow Gallery, was born in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1868. At nine years old, he and his family moved to Maine where he finished common school. After graduating, he went to work in a sardine and lobster factory. He left Maine for Wisconsin and it is there that he began his photography career as a tent photographer. He travelled in this capacity and covered the area between Wisconsin and Kentucky. He later had studios in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and Zumbrota, Minnesota. He bought a studio in Mankato in 1893. His addresses in Mankato included 118 East Jackson (1893-1902), and 313 South Front Street (1912-1919). The 1910 US Census lists both John and his wife Margaret as Mankato photographers. Their son, Cecil J. Snow (1894-?), worked as a photographer in Mankato in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
This wedding portrait was produced by the Fairbanks studio in Austin, Minnesota. The bride is wearing a beautiful dress and veil. The groom is a handsome and wearing a fancy suit with a white bow tie. The wedding couple are wearing flowers galore. The photographer of this image is likely one of the Fairbanks brothers. In 1891,Henry Durant Fairbanks started a photography studio in Austin. He was joined by his brother, Guy L. Fairbanks in 1894. Henry Fairbanks appears in the US census (1900, 1910, and 1920). The census reveals that he was born in Vermont circa 1870. At the time of the three censuses he was married to Katie Fairbanks and was working as a photographer.
This Spanish American War era soldier is dressed, armed and ready to deploy. Note his long rifle and the bayonet he is wearing on his side. He is wearing two medals, one which the previous owner of the photograph identified as signifying that he was the son of a Union civil war veteran. This photograph was taken at Dempsie Portraits which was located at 316 Nicollet Avenue in Minneapolis, Minnesota. George M. Dempsie began operating in Minneapolis in about 1887 and worked until at least 1910. He was at the Nicollet Avenue address between 1889 and 1910. He operated under the names of Dempsie’s New Photographic Rooms, Dempsie Portraits, and Dempsie & Andrews. At various times he employed his sons George R. Dempsie and Guy C. Dempsie.
A well dressed family looks quite handsome as they pose for their portrait at the Christensen studio in Duluth, Minnesota. The father is wearing an unusual tie while the son is wearing a more traditional tie and a wing tipped collar shirt. The mother is wearing a pin on the neckline of her dress. The photographer of this cabinet card is John Christensen. The Bulletin of Photography (1916) reported that Christensen was one of several Duluth photographers who signed a petition urging the licensing of traveling photographers who passed through the city. The petition stated that these traveling photographers enlarged pictures at very low prices but then compelled people to purchase very expensive frames. They also charged customers in advance to enlarge family photos and then left town without doing the work or returning the treasured photographs.
Members of the cast of the American Western movie “The Magnificent Seven” (1960) pose for a group picture in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. These seven gunmen were hired to protect a small Mexican agricultural village from a gang of marauding bandits. The cast included Charles Bronson (back row left), Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner, James Coburn, Robert Vaughn, and Eli Wallach. Wait a minute! Even though the Charles Bronson guy really looks like Charles Bronson, how could the cast of a 1960 movie appear in a turn of the century cabinet card photograph? In addition, what would Hollywood actors be doing in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota if they are in a film where the locale is Mexico? Besides that, is there really a town called Sleepy Eye? It’s time for a confession. The men in this photograph are not members of a movie cast even though I could almost swear that the guy in the back row is Charles Bronson. In regard to the existence of a town named Sleepy Eye; yes it does exist. The town of Sleepy Eye is named after Chief Sleepy Eye, or Ishtakhaba. He was a chief of the Sioux tribe and happened to have droopy eye lids. He was one of four Sioux Indians to meet President James Monroe in 1824 in Washington D.C.. This image was produced by Sleepy Eye photographer S. C. Madsen who also had a studio in New Ulm, Minnesota. He operated in Sleepy Eye between 1884 and 1892 and had a studio in New Ulm in 1888. Since this cabinet card advertises the New Ulm studio on the reverse of the photograph, this photograph was likely taken in 1888. Who are the men in the picture? Unfortunately, they are not identified. They appear to be businessmen from town but that of course is just a guess (two of the men have papers in their shirt pocket). Three of the men in the bottom row have their arms crossed resting on their abdomen. The fourth gentleman apparently didn’t get the message from the photographer who posed them. The man on the far right of the top row must have just finished the all you can eat buffet at the Silver Dollar Saloon judging by the tightness of his shirt.
This photograph features a very handsome man posing for his portrait at the studio of Skrin Seth in Crookston, Minnesota. My spelling of the photographer’s name is questionable since his name is partially illegible as printed on the front of the photograph. The subject of this photograph has glamorous looks and is wearing a fur coat. He is identified on the reverse of the card but once again there is a legibility problem. His name is either “Mr. E. McKenzie” or “N. E. McKenzie”. Research revealed no biographical information about the image’s subject or about the photographer.
YOUNG WOMAN UNDER AN UMBRELLA AND EVEN YOUNGER BOY DRESSED IN “LITTLE LORD FAUNTLEROY” STYLE IN LITTLE FALLS, MINNESOTA
A young woman and an even younger boy pose for their portrait at Moe’s Studio in Little Falls, Minnesota. One can only guess about their relationship. Are they mother and son? Could they be brother and sister? The answer to these questions will likely remain unknown. The woman under the umbrella appears pensive. She is wearing a hat and holding gloves. The boy is dressed in the popular “Little Lord Fauntleroy” style that was in fashion at the time of the photograph. No information could be found about Moe or Moe’s Studio. The last name “Moe” appears to have been a popular name in Little Falls around the turn of the century. The name was of Norwegian origin.
Two women dressed in winter coats pose for their portrait at Boyer Brothers studio in West Superior, Wisconsin. They appear well prepared for the winter scene that is hanging behind them. Both women are holding books in their arms. Unlike most subjects appearing in cabinet cards, these two ladies are smiling. The Boyer Brothers include Hans R. Boyer, Henry Boyer, and Robert H. Boyer. The brothers worked in various combinations and in a number of partnerships in Superior, Wisconsin and Duluth, Minnesota. They were associated with studios from the 1880s through the 1910’s.
A father and his child pose in their winter clothing for photographer J. P. Benjamin in Pipestone, Minnesota. Both are wearing outer coats and snow hats. No biographical information could be found concerning the photographer of this cabinet card. Pipestone is located in southwest Minnesota. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow mentioned the beautiful stone area around Pipestone in one of his poems (Hiawatha). The town was established by two settlers who wanted to visit the site mentioned in the poem. A pipestone quarry is located about a mile north of the town and it was named a National Monument in 1937.