THE SHEPARD FAMILY CONCERT COMPANY

This cabinet card features a portrait of the Shepard Family Concert Company. In this photograph, mother is playing the piano (or organ) and the five children and their father are playing violins. The photographer of this cabinet card is unknown, as is the location of the studio. A photograph of the Shepard family and their instruments appears in The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont (located in Middlebury, Vermont). In addition, the museum possesses a “cigar ribbon quilt” serving as a piano cover. The quilt is made from silken advertising ribbons which cigar companies used to tie cigars together for packaging purposes. This particular quilt was made by Mary Emily Shepard (“Minnie”), the matriarch of the Shepard Family. The Shepard Family was Massachusetts based, and mostly toured upper New England. The musical group venues included the Town Hall Theatre, in Middlebury, Vermont. Family Musical Troupes were popular in the 1880’s and 1890’s.  Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Shepard  and their children, Kittie, Laura, Lessie, Georgie, and Burtin were regionally well known and appreciated in the late nineteenth century. Each family member were multi instrumentalists. The family could perform as a choral group, a brass band, or a violin ensemble with the mother playing the pump reed organ. In addition, sometimes, the children would perform as a banjo quintet.

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A WINTERS TALE: FATHER READS TO DAUGHTER IN RADEBERG, GERMANY

A proud papa reads to his young daughter as they pose for their portrait at the studio of Otto Richter, in Radeberg, Germany. The child does not seem to interested in the literary offering.  The book seems to be more of a historical picture book, or a pictorial magazine; rather than reading that would hold a child’s interest. Interestingly, the girl is bundled  in a winter coat and wearing a ski cap, while her father is wearing formal clothing. Radeberg is a small town located about 20 kilometers from Dresden, Germany. The town was started in 1872 after a brewery was established there. Today, Radeberger beer ranks as the ninth best selling beer among Germany’s breweries.

Published in: on October 30, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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TWO YOUNG GIRLS, A DOLL, AND A BUILDERS CATALOG IN ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI

This cabinet card features two young girls posing in front of a nicely landscaped house. The house may actually be just part of a house, and  serve as a prop inside the photographic studio of  Mr. Denison, in St. Louis, Missouri. One girl, with long braids,  is holding a doll. The second girl is holding something very unusual for a child to be displaying, That is, unless she is an aspiring home builder. This girl is proudly brandishing a 1902 catalog from the William G. Frye Company. This business was located in St. Louis, and sold door, sash, blinds and many types of millwork. In regard to Mr. Denison, no information was found about him except that his Chouteau Avenue address (about 1900) was followed by a move to 1452 Cass Avenue (about 1906), also in St. Louis.

Published in: on October 29, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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SALVATION ARMY SISTERS IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

This photograph, by Dillon, features two young woman in their Salvation Army uniforms. Dillon’s studio was located in Chicago, Illinois. The woman’s Salvation Army brooches are worn at their collar. Note that one of the woman is wearing spectacles. The name “Walker” is written twice on the back of the photograph. The names appear directly above and below each other which likely indicates that each woman is named Walker, and that they are sisters. To view other photographs of Salvation Army workers, click on the category “Salvation Army”. The photographer of this image may have been S. W. Dillon, who was the Vice President of the Chicago Photographers Club, according to an article in The Photo Beacon (1897).

Published in: on October 28, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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A PRETTY WOMAN IN ALTOONA, PENNSYLVANIA

A pretty woman poses for her portrait at the studio of R. A. Bonine, in Altoona, Pennsylvania. The studio was located on 14th Street. The woman in the photograph is beautifully dressed and looks terrific in her dress; a fact not lost to the photographer who took a portrait of the woman that captures her, head to toe. This image is nicely done. The pose integrates the chair and curtain for balance and the swirl in the curtain along side the swirl in the woman’s dress enhances the image. Saying it simply, this is a beautiful portrait. The photographer, Robert Atkinson Bonine (1838-?) moved his photography business from Holidaysburg to Altoona, Pennsylvania, in 1878. He came to Altoona with his wife, Matilda Hollinger (1838-?), whom he married in 1860. When Bonine wasn’t producing photographs, he was producing children. He and his wife had eleven children. A number of his children entered the field of photography. One of his sons, Robert Kates Bonine (1862-1923) was a well known film maker of travelogues. He was employed twice by Edison, and also worked for the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. His work included films about the Klondike Gold Rush, the San Francisco Earthquake, Yosemite, Japan and China.

WHO IS ACTRESS, ELLA CAMPBELL; AND WHERE IS THE REST OF HER DRESS?

Ella Campbell is a pretty woman. This cabinet card, photographed by The Sparks Photo-Publishing Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;  is quite risque for its era. The short outfit that Ms Campbell is wearing, exposes a lot more of her legs than one would expect. Perhaps there was a shortage of material available for her dress. That is not a likely explanation. More likely, the Sparks Company knew that a sexy photograph would increase sales of this image of a lesser known actress. Wait a second! Is this woman really  an actress named Ella Campbell? The only evidence available is the writing on the reverse of the card which states “Ella Campbell”. Research yields no information about an actress with this name. Further investigation is required. To view other photographs of actresses by Sparks, click on the category “Photographer: Sparks Photo Publishing Co.”.

INTELLECTUAL YOUNG MAN IN BUDAPEST, HUNGARY

An intellectual looking young man poses for his portrait at the studio of Kozmata Ferencz in Budapest, Hungary. This man looks bright and successful. If this was a present day portrait, one might suspect he was the founder and CEO of a leading innovative high tech corporation. What are those stripes on his sleeves? They look to be insignias of military rank but perhaps they are just decorative. Some help from cabinet card gallery visitors would be appreciated in identifying the stripes.  To view other photographs by Ferencz, click on the category “Photographer: Ferencz”.

Published in: on October 25, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  

PRETTY WOMAN WITH SNOW SHOE BROOCH IN DANBURY, CONNECTICUT

A pretty young woman poses for her portrait at Folsom’s gallery in Danbury, Connecticut. She is wearing a snow shoe brooch at her collar. Joseph H. Folsom (1841-?) married Sarah Elizabeth Lockwood n 1869. At the time he married, he was a veteran of the American Civil War. He had enlisted in the New York First Regiment in 1861 and had fought in several battles before being taken prisoner at Gaines Mill, in June, 1862. He was a prisoner of war in Libby Prison. After the war, he returned to his photography business in Danbury. A photography journal published in 1883 announced that his estate had sold the business. Interestingly, it seem that his wife, reestablished the photography studio. The Anthony Photographic Bulletin (1888) reported that she had opened her own photographic studio in a new location.

WORK DETAIL IN IMPERIAL RUSSIA (KIDS IN A GARDEN)

Three children are photographed in a garden, in this cabinet portrait by an unknown photographer somewhere in Imperial Russia. The nicely dressed kids are adorable. One boy is holding a rake while the other is holding a shovel. The boy with the shovel is wearing a military hat while the girl is more practical, wearing a sun hat.

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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IMMIGRANT FAMILY OF UNKNOWN ETHNIC ORIGIN IN MADISON, MINNESOTA

This photograph captures a family in unknown ethnic clothing, at the Chalmers studio in Madison, Minnesota. Hopefully, a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to identify the country of origin of this attractive family. The parents and their two sons, and daughter, are likely immigrants to the United States. An uninformed guess is that the family is from Afghanistan. The Chalmers studio was certainly a family affair. The business was started by Hugh J Chalmers (1844-1910) who was born in New Brunswick, Canada. He operated a photography studio in Lac Qui Parie (1882-1886) and in Madison (1886,  1894-?). Both businesses were located in Minnesota. He was succeeded by his son, James H. Chalmers (1874-?) who worked in Madison between 1904 and 1922. A third generation was involved with the business. James Kenneth Chalmers (1905-1966) also operated the studio.

Published in: on October 22, 2011 at 9:55 am  Comments (2)  
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