SLED DADThis studio portrait captures a slouching dad pulling his daughter on a sled. Dad is wearing a suit, hat, and gloves while the child is bundled up in a winter jacket and warm winter cap. She is holding the sleds steering rope. She won’t go far on the sled considering it is atop straw instead of snow. Dad has assumed a very awkward slouching position for this photograph. Perhaps he is disabled. It is also possible that the photographer did a poor job of posing the father. In fact, the photographer, S. P. Gaugler, shows little skill in his production of this photograph. The subject of this photograph is actually the owner of the Bellevue, Ohio studio that produced this image. According to the previous owner of this photograph, the album that this cabinet card was taken from indicated that the subject is Simon Peter Gaugler and the little girl is his oldest daughter, Edith. It is surprising that a photographer would do such a poor job of posing for this photograph. The 1880 US census lists Simon Gaugler (1840-1915) as residing in Bellevue, Washington and working as a photographer. He was forty years old and living with his 27 year-old wife Lorinda. The couple had married in 1874 and were raising a four year-old daughter (Edith) with the help of a live-in servant. The 1900 census found the couple still residing in Bellevue and living with their 15 year-old daughter (Ethel). Simon continued to work as a photographer.  By the time 1910 arrived, Simon and Lorinda were living in Lyme, Ohio with their daughter Ethel and her husband John. Simon was still operating a photo gallery even though he was seventy years old. In 1914 Lorinda died in Bellevue and a year later, Simon passed away in Atlanta, Georgia. He had moved to Georgia to be with his daughter Edith, the adult version of the little girl pictured above. Edith Gaugler (1876-1960) had become Mrs. Frederick Schanck on 9/10/99. At the time of their marriage, she was a school teacher and her groom was a telegraph operator and clerk. Census data reveals that the couple lived in Lyme, Ohio (1900), and moved to Atlanta, Georgia sometime before 1920. The couple still lived in Atlanta at the time of the 1940 US census.


Published in: on January 19, 2014 at 12:37 am  Comments (1)  
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Six young woman and two young men pose for a group photo at the studio of W.D. Archer in Dyson, Ohio. It is possible that this image is a graduation picture. The young man sitting on the floor is holding a piece of paper in his hands. Perhaps the paper is relevant to the reason these eight teenagers are gathered for this group photograph.

Published in: on November 21, 2013 at 12:06 pm  Comments (1)  
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BOWLING GREEN COPLS_0004Two sportily dressed couples pose for their portrait at the Morrison studio in Bowling Green, Ohio. To learn more about Robert Prescott Morrison and to view more of his photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison (Bowling Green). The couples are dressed as if they are about to embark on an outside adventure. The standing woman is holding a fan. The standing gentleman has something that appears to be pinned to his vest. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can identify the mystery object. Guesses are welcome so please feel free to leave a comment with your hypotheses.

Published in: on November 17, 2013 at 12:30 pm  Comments (1)  
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DASHING MAN_0001The gentleman featured in this cabinet card portrait appears to be dashing off to conduct some business. He holds a walking stick and wears a scarf. He was photographed by the Mulligan Brothers studio in Columbus, Ohio.

Published in: on July 31, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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SAILOR BOY_0006A ten year-old boy named Horace H. Justice Jr. poses proudly in a sailor suit at the studio of Anderson &  Hartshorn in Dayton, Ohio. Horace’s naval cap displays the name “Dewey” rather than the more typical ship name. Admiral George Dewey (1837-1917) was a US naval officer best known for his victory at the Battle of Manila Bay during the Spanish American War. He came home to the United States and was received as a conquering war hero. Young Horace is clearly paying tribute to Admiral Dewey. The Spanish American War era was a time marked by a escalation of patriotism in the United States and this image provides an illustration of this nationalistic fervor. It is also possible that Horace’s father may have served with Admiral Dewey and that Horace Jr. is emulating Horace Sr.. Initial research found a  Horace J. Justice living in Dayton. The 1900 US census reveals that Justice was married to Mattie Justice 1885) and at the time of the census, they had a twelve year old son also named Horace.  Horace Justice Sr. is mentioned in many Dayton city directories from 1871 through 1909. He worked many years as a travelling salesman.  It could not be established that Horace Sr. was in the armed forces. It appears that Horace Jr was born in 1888 and died in 1948. Information was also found about the photographers. Photographer James Otto Hartshorn was a leading Dayton photographer. He was born in Ohio in 1869. A Dayton history book reveals that he was “deprived” of his parents when he was thirteen years-old and forced to live with various friends. He worked on a farm until he turned eighteen and and then moved to Dayton and for a short time worked in a cotton batting factory. In 1888 he became employed in a photography studio where he learned to become a very skilled photographer. In 1891 he married Ella M. Huesman of Dayton.  In 1894  Hartshorn partnered with Charles F. Anderson and opened up the studio that produced the portrait of  Horace Justice Jr..


GIRL AND DOLL OHIO_0001This photograph captures an adorable dark skinned girl with ringlet curls posing with her large doll. The little girl and the doll are well dressed. The child is wearing a cute patterned paisley dress. The amount of detail seen on the doll’s facial features is terrific, as is the little girl’s smile. The girl is dark complected. Many cabinet card sellers would advertise this image as being a photograph of a Native American, Black, or Hispanic little girl. Obviously, there is no way to know the ethnic origin of this little girl but unscrupulous sellers would have no problem advertising a possibility as a certainty. Collectors of antique photographs must beware of such practices within the hobby. The photographer is the Armstrong studio in Paulding, Ohio. No further information could be found about  the photographer of this image.

Published in: on April 10, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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HANDSOME COUPLE_0004This cabinet card captures a fashionable handsome couple   She is wearing a gorgeous dress and an elaborate hat with a feather. The photographer is William G. Starke and his studio was located on the corner of Main and Fifth Streets in Zanesville, Ohio. Starke operated in Zanesville from at least 1881 through 1897 and at some point, he was joined in the studio by his son, William E. Starke (1856-?).

Published in: on March 28, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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ribbon lady_0004This cabinet photograph, by the Gardner studio in Napoleon, Ohio, offers a helpful hint worthy of appearing in Real Simple magazine. What should one do with those extra ribbons that are just laying around the house? A creative and economic answer is to stick them onto a plain dress to liven it up. Unfortunately, the end result of following this advice is that one is left with a very unattractive dress. To learn more about the photographer and to view other photographs by the Gardner studio, click on the category “Photographer: Gardner”. 


Published in: on March 22, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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lovelyladThis cabinet card features a portrait of a very lovely lady posing in the studio of  Blakeslee & Moore in Ashtabula, Ohio.  The town of Ashtabula was the site of a major train wreck in 1876 and one of the firemen who responded to the resulting blaze was Frederick W. Blakeslee. Besides being a firefighter, he was also a photographer and he used his camera to record the aftermath of the disaster. The image he made has become legendary in the history of disasters and the history of Ashtabula. He sold thousands of prints of the scene. Fred W. Blakeslee  was in business in Ashtabula from 1870 to 1897. Blakeslee was born in Ohio in 1843. He was a lifelong resident of Ashtabula. At the end of the civil war he opened a photography studio in the town. Beginning the 1870’s he was joined by Frank C Moore (1851-1907). For a time, they operated a branch in Geneva, Ohio. Moore began his photography career as an apprentice in Ashtabula and then ran his own studio in Lima, Ohio between 1870 and 1875. Moore’s partnership with Blakeslee ended in 1894. Blakeslee’s son Frederick K Blakeslee (1880-?) also became a photographer in Ashtabula. The story of the “Ashtabula Train Disaster” is immensely tragic. The accident is thought to have been caused mainly by the collapse of a bridge owned by the Lake Shore and Michigan Railroad. The bridge was a joint creation by Charles Collins (engineer) and Amasa Stone (architect and designer). On a winter night in 1876, a train carrying 159 passengers and crew crossed over the bridge and when the first engine just passed the far side of the bridge, the bridge began to collapse and the rest of the train fell into the ravine. Ninety-two people were killed in the accident and most died from fires that were started from the train car’s oil lamps and stoves. The passengers were trapped in the burning crushed cars. The accident happened after a heavy snow storm and the rescuers were ill prepared and not equipped to help the poor victims of the train wreck. Charles Collins testified about the bridge design to an investigative jury and after finishing his tearful testimony, went home and shot himself in the head. Amasa Stone was held partially responsible for the accident, but he refused to accept blame. He theorized that the train jumped its tracks and destroyed the bridge. However, it is probable that he suffered severely from the incident, and about seven years later, he shot himself in the heart.



A well dressed African American man poses for his portrait at the J. A. Pfeifer & Company gallery. He is wearing a dress jacket, a pin striped vest, winged collar and bow tie. This handsome young man is unidentified. The reverse of the cabinet card lists Pfeifer’s name but also the names Smith and Mulligan Brothers. Presumably these three names belong to photographers who were employed the the Pfeifer studio. The address of the gallery is also printed on the reverse of the card. The business was located at 262, 264, and 266 South High Street in Columbus, Ohio. According to the book “Artists in Ohio” (2000), the photographer of this image, John A. Pfeifer (1859-1932), was active in the Columbus area from 1882 to at least 1913. During much of that time, he was partners with George C. Urlin of  the “Mammoth Art Palace” on High Street. To view images by Urlin, click on the category “Photographer: Urlin”. The Oberlin Review (1888) noted that the Urlin & Pfeifer studio won the contract to be the class of 1888’s photographer. A competitor in the bidding was the Cleveland firm of Urlin & Becker. Urlin’s participation in the bidding under two different studios, caused the students to raise some ethical questions about the bidding process. Pfeifer proved to the students that he had the legal right to use Urlin’s name and the class “was convinced of his honesty and integrity” and retained him as class photographer. In 1891 Pfeifer and George D. Saas (1854-1924) founded Pfeifer & Saas Printers. In 1905 Pfeifer became the sole owner of the firm and renamed it the Pfeifer Show Print Company.


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