A nicely dressed woman poses for her portrait at the studio of A. Hatch in Bath, Maine. The woman appears to appreciate jewelry. She is wearing a necklace with a cross, earrings and a bracelet. She is wearing a hairband and has curly hair and bangs. The Maine Register (1891) reports that Hatch’s studio was located at 46 Front Street in the town of Bath.
Four beautiful children pose for their portrait in Coblenz, Germany. It is likely that the children are siblings. The three girls are wearing bows in their pretty long hair. The boy is wearing a nautical outfit. The photograph is by A. Graeb of Coblenz, Germany. Coblenz is a city situated on both banks of the Rhine River.
These two Cabinet cards present quite a mystery. The dramatically dressed and attractive young woman in the top cabinet card is simply identified as “Etta”. She appears to be an actress and my research reveals a large number of actresses named Etta who were stage performers around the turn of the century. I have been unable to determine this actresses identity, but a leading candidate might be Etta Butler (1879-1903). Etta Butler was a well-known actress and impersonator. She began her career at age 19 with the Tivoli Chorus in San Francisco. A year later she became a member of the “Around New York in Eighty Minutes” company. She was later featured in Frohman comedies. She was last seen in “The Liberty Belles” at the Madison Square. Because of her popularity and promise, she was retained by David Belasco in a long term contract. She died of Typhoid fever in Roosevelt Hospital, in New York City at age 24. This mystery lady was photographed by Bradley and Bulofson of San Francisco, California. The bottom cabinet card has an inscription on the reverse signed by “Etta”. Are these two cabinet cards, taken by the same photographer, portraits of the same woman? One can see enough resemblance between the two images to hypothesize that they are likely the same “Etta”. Take a look at another cabinet card by these photographers by clicking on the category “Photographer: Bradley & Rulofson”. That very same click will provide the reader with additional information about the photographers of this image.
This cabinet card is a memorial photograph of J. W. Stubbs who was accidentally killed in Hong Kong. Stubbs was a stoker (tended to the engine) aboard the H.M.S. Astraea. He died in 1912 and this cabinet card was made by his shipmates in his memory. The image of this smiling and handsome 20 year-old sailor, who died tragically, evokes much sadness. The Astraea was a cruiser of the Royal Navy. She was commissioned for service in 1895 and was active in World War I. She was scrapped in 1920. The photographer who made this memorial card was A. Hing of Hong Kong.
This cabinet card creates a historical mystery. Is this image really a portrait of Captain William James Williams? Captain Williams was among the first African American officers to serve in a state volunteer regiment during the Spanish American War. He served in the 6th Massachusetts Infantry, Company L. This company was probably the first and possibly only African American company to be attached to a white regiment. Williams commanded Company L and was the first African American to enter the US Volunteer army with a captain’s commission. He was six feet tall. He was a product of Boston schools and was a lawyer. He joined the Massachusetts Militia in 1891. The reverse of this card is inscribed “William James Williams, Captain, Spanish American War”. A photograph of Captain Williams found from another source, has resemblance to the man in this image, but does not confirm the identity. The photographer of this image is William G. Hussey of Salem, Massachusetts. A photographic journal (1900) reported that Hussey sold his Salem studio in 1900.
Two young woman and two children pose for their portrait at the studio of Nicklas & Co. in Chicago, Illinois. The women and oldest child are wearing very complicated decorative hats. One woman is holding a fan on her lap and the oldest child is holding a basket of flowers. Wild hats were clearly the rage during the time of this photograph.
This photograph features a ship captain posing at the Calm Studio, located at the Plazuela De Alfaro in Panama. The card is inscribed to Mr. and Mrs. Wilson and signed by W. C. Gibb. The captain is wearing a nautical uniform and it is unknown whether he is a military or a civilian sailor. Research reveals that the Alfaro Plaza may be named after Jose Eloy Alfaro Delgado (1842 -1912) who was a President of Ecuador who was a strong opponent of pro Catholic conservatism and whose views and actions caused him to be exiled to Panama in 1911. A year later he returned to Ecuador, where he was imprisoned; and then taken from the prison by a mob and executed.
A couple poses with their four young children at the studio of Maxwell in Mount Ayr, Iowa. One of the girls is holding a bisque doll and the boy is holding a riding crop. The image is dated 1895-96. The photographer, M. G. Maxwell is mentioned in a number of photographic journals for winning medals for his work (1894, 1896, 1900 and 1907).