Most people don’t think of Penacook, New Hampshire as the center of turn of the century fashion. However, in 1890, a new fashion trend was born in tiny Penacook. Traditional fashion centers like Paris and New York City were blindsided by the innovative dress designs coming out of Penacook. Reptilian Wear was introduced in 1890 and was overwhelmingly the most well received of all these designs. Penacook area photographers quickly were called upon to sharpen their skills in fashion photography because their services were in high demand by the rapidly growing local clothing industry. This cabinet card was produced by the studio of M. S. Lamprey who began operating in Penacook in 1858. The woman in this image is wearing an excellent example of a Reptilian Wear dress. This particular dress was sold under the Iguana label. The model in this photograph was not identified. She is wearing a necklace from which hangs a cross. If you doubt the veracity of this story; you would be correct to do so. Here is some non fiction commentary about this cabinet card. The photographer is Maurice S. Lamprey (1835-1912). The 1860 census finds Lamprey living with his parents and siblings and working as a varnisher. He enlisted in the 10th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry in 1862 as a private and was transferred to the Signal Corp which is where he remained throughout the war. The earliest city directory found that lists him as a photographer was from 1872. The 1900 US census reports that Lamprey was 64 years old, living alone, and working as a photographer in Concord. The town of Penacook was named after the Penacook Native American tribe which lived in the area. The town was a village located within the city of Concord. Penacook was involved in the textile industry. The town was located along the Contoocook River. This location attracted the hydro power industry and Penacook became a mill town.
The man in this cabinet card photograph appears to be a professional gentleman. He is wearing an overcoat and a nicely trimmed beard. He is standing next to his derby hat and has a pocket watch. Perhaps the well dressed gentleman is an attorney. Maybe its not a coincidence that the Binghamton, New York based photographer, Singhi, was located on Court Street. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription which identifies the gentleman as “Adelbert Harroun”. Research reveals that Mr. Harroun was not a lawyer but instead, he was an accountant. The 1870 census notes that Thomas Adelbert Harroun (1851-?) was the 19 year-old son of Thomas Harroun (1824-1907) and Salina King Harroun (1824-1903). His father’s occupation was listed as a “Presiding Elder” and further research found that he was a Methodist clergyman. His mother was a homemaker. Adelbert lived with his parents and two siblings in Norwich, New York. Sister Flora (age 22) was a music teacher and brother Arthur (age 11) was a student. He married his wife, Mary Winton, in 1888. The couple had two children. The 1900 census finds the 47 year old Harroun living in Dunleith, Illinois. He was living with his wife, Mary, their son N. Winton (age 10), and daughter Anna Augusta (age 9). Harroun was working as a railroad yard clerk. Further investigation revealed that daughter Anna Augusta died in 1904 in Dubuque, Illinois. The 1920 census reports that the 67 year-old Harroun was widowed and living in Waukegan Lake, Illinois with his sister Flora. He was working as an accountant. The 1930 census locates Harroun in Prineville, Oregon and living as a boarder. At 79 years of his age, he was still working (bookkeeper). The photographer of this image is Will G. Singhi. He worked in Binghamton, New York between 1872 and 1886. His albumen print “A Winter Scene” is exhibited in the online “American Museum of Photography”. Singhi had taken a photograph that appeared to capture a snowball in mid flight heading toward a newsboy who was prepared to deflect it. The museum also has on display a funny cartoon self portrait caricature that Singhi used as an advertisement. The Photographic Times and American Photographer (1883) comments on Singhi’s wonderful sense of humor.
J. Granger’s studio, located in Sparta, Illinois, produced this cabinet card portrait of the Brown family. The wide-eyed Brown’s give the appearance of a family that are overdosing on “Red Bull” or some other mega dosed caffeine drink. The Brown’s first names are written on the reverse of the photograph but only half of the names are legible. The United States Census provided assistance in learning more about the Brown clan. The 1900 census reveals that Sylvester W. Brown (1857-?) was a 42 year-old man living in the town of Central, Illinois. He was a farmer and married to Lydia Brown, three years before the census (1897). The census reports that Sylvester Brown lived with his wife Lydia (age 37), his daughter Hazel (age 12) and son Olin (age 4). It is not likely that Lydia is the mother of Hazel and Olin. That would only be possible if she was not married to Sylvester at the time of the children’s births and only married him later. A more likely scenario is that the mother of these children had died and Sylvester was a single father when he married Lydia. This theory is supported by the fact that Sylvester and the children’s names written on the reverse of the image are very legible but the older woman’s name is illegible and the name is clearly not “Lydia”. My best guess is that the woman standing next to Sylvester is either his first wife or an elder daughter. More research is required to clarify the family structure and history. The 1920 census indicates that little Olin became a soldier and pilot. The census states that he was sergeant/radio operator stationed in Pasadena, California. The 1930 census reveals that Olin became an “Air Pilot” in the US Army. Olin was then living in Belleville, Illinois with his wife, Fern. Olin was mentioned in an article appearing in Aerial Age Weekly (1922). The story is about the Army testing the Airship T-C-1 and Olin’s role as a “Motor Specialist”. The T-C-1 was a hydrogen inflated blimp. In 1923 the T-C-1 caught fire and was destroyed. No biographical information could be located about photographer J. Granger.
An adorable little girl poses for her portrait at the studio of R. J. Wood in Brockley, England. Brockley is a district of south London.The studio was located opposite Whickham Road. The charming curly haired child is wearing a fancy dress and a necklace. The image shows a girl with lots of personality and a winning smile. Be sure to note the two dolls that are sharing the chair with this bubbly little girl.
This cabinet card portrait features a young attractive woman. She is dressed in an interesting manner and I will leave it to one of the cabinet card gallery’s fashion knowledgeable visitors to describe her clothing. It looks like she is wearing a large neckerchief held in place by a broach, but thats just my best guess. The photographer did an excellent job with the lighting in this photograph. The photographer of this image is C. R. Baker who was located at 35, 37, and 39 Monroe Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Business directories for Detroit list Charles R. Baker as a photo printer beginning in 1876 and his listing soon changes to photographer and appears in directories through 1919. The Photographic Times (1884) has a “seeking employment” ad placed by Baker. He was searching for a job as a “first class printer and toner”. The 1900 U.S. census reveals that Baker lived with his wife, Sarah, and his 14 year old son Owen. Both Baker and his wife were 40 years old. The couple also appear together in the 1920 census. The census indicates that Charles Baker was born in Massachusetts and worked as a photographer.
This cabinet card portrait features Caddie Johnson in a very fine dress. She is posing for the photographer at the Buckeye Portrait & View Company at No. 13 North Walnut Street in Canton, Ohio. No further information could be found about Ms. Johnson or the Buckeye Portrait and View Company. However, an explanation of the term “Buckeye” was excavated. The Buckeye is the state tree of Ohio.
Benjamin J. Falk, New York City theatrical photographer, produced this cabinet card portrait of English actress FFolliott Paget. She is dressed to look her best; wearing pearls and a fur coat. Ms Paget appeared in fourteen Broadway plays including “What Every Woman Knows” ((1908-1909) and “The Rivals” (1912).
This cabinet card, by Eclipse Studios in Jamestown, New York, captures two very young girls at play. The girls are sitting in miniature chairs and a small cloth covered table, drinking tea from a miniature china tea set. The children have serious expressions as they sit down for tea. The photographer is G. H. Monroe who’s studio was located at the the corner of West Third and Washington Streets, in Jamestown. The Professional and Amateur Photographer (1900) reported that George H. Monroe was an officer with the Columbian Dry Plate Company. Research also revealed that he was the photographer of a number of postcards produced in the Jamestown area.
This cabinet card features a portrait of a handsome young man with slicked back hair. He is dressed beautifully and well groomed. The photographer is named Smith but the location of his studio is not listed on the front or the reverse of the photograph. The initials on the front of the card indicate that the photographers full name is C. R. Smith. There was a photographer named C. R. Smith located in Clearwater, Minnesota. He was listed in Camera Craft (1908) and also in The Photographic Journal of America (1917). It is not confirmed that this C. R. Smith is the photographer of this cabinet card. It is interesting to note that the Cabinet Card Gallery has a number of photographs by the photographer who photographed this gentleman. All of the photographs share the same logo containing the photographer’s initials. To view these photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Smith CR”
The same woman appears in each of these two photographs by the Baker Art Gallery of Columbus, Ohio. The woman is very pretty. She is wearing a black bow in her hair in both photographs and in the profile portrait she is wearing a hair comb. There is a lot of bare skin in these photographs which make them a bit risque, though tastefully done. The Cabinet Card Gallery is building a nice collection of photographs from the Baker Art Gallery. To view these images, click on the category “Photographer: Baker Art Gallery”.