IT’S ALL ABOUT THE DRESS IN PHILADELPHIA: LAURA DEXTER TELLS COUSIN GUSSIE ABOUT HER ADVENTURES IN FASHION

“Dear Gussie,

Here is a Photo of my self in full dress if you would rather have me in my black lace dress I will exchange this for it. Everyone thinks this is the best I have ever had taken. Recd (received) your letter will answer it tomorrow. I tinted this for you.

With love, Your devoted Cousin,   Laura Decker.”

The above is the inscription found on the reverse of this cabinet card. Laura Decker was definitely fashion conscious and also very excited about her appearance in this photograph. She was also eager to share her joy with her cousin Gussie. Although this is not a particularly flattering image of Laura, the dress certainly photographed well. Laura’s message to her cousin is interesting though while reading it, I felt almost guilty as if I was reading someone else’s mail. That feeling shouldn’t be too surprising because that’s exactly what I was doing. The photographer of this cabinet card was a studio belonging to George F. Chandler & Samuel Scheetz. They operated their business in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. One source indicates that the studio was located on Arch Street in Philadelphia between  1880 and 1893. Another source reveals that the two men had a gallery in Atlantic City, New Jersey in 1885. The business was located on the Boardwalk at the corner of South Carolina Avenue. To view additional photographs by Chandler & Scheetz, click on the category “Chandler & Scheetz”. Further information about Laura Decker could not be located because there were a number of women in Philadelphia who shared that name.

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SMILING AND BAREFOOT CHILD IN ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

A barefoot smiling child appears in this portrait by Thomas M. Swem whose studio was located in St. Paul, Minnesota. The wide smiling child, sitting in a fur draped chair, is pictured with a toy and a doll. The reverse of the photo advertises that Swem won a medal from the Minnesota State Agricultural Society in the “Best Photograph” category. He received the award in 1888. Thomas Swem was born in Lima, Ohio in 1848. His wife was named Cassandra and the couple married around 1877. The pair had four children. He operated a studio in St. Paul for eighteen years and then moved to Fargo, North Dakota in 1900. After 1913 he moved to Medford, Oregon where he operated a gallery until1921. Swem died in Medford in about 1931. To view other photographs by Thomas Swem, click on category “Photographer: Swem”.

Published in: on July 30, 2012 at 12:27 am  Comments (1)  
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PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

A pretty young woman poses for photographer George W. Bew in his studio. The studio was located at 1725 Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She is wearing a fashionable hat and an interesting necklace with a locket. She is also wearing earrings. A story about photographer George W. Bew (1835-1913) appears in the “Historical Journal ” (2012) of the Lititz Historical Foundation. Lititz is a town in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Apparently, after working as a photographer in Philadelphia (he is listed in the 1881 city directory), Bew moved his business to Lititz. Between 1890 and 1896 his business in Lititiz was known as the “Broad Street Gallery”. Between 1900 and 1913 his gallery was located at 162 Locust Street in Lititz. The Bulletin of Photography (1913) announced Bew’s death. The brief article mentioned that he was still working as a photographer at the time of his death, even though he was 80 years old. Another source listed his death age as seventy-eight.

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.

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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YOUNG WOMAN AND HER INTERESTING NECKLACE IN BROADHEAD, WISCONSIN

A young woman poses for her portrait at the studio of C. W. Lucas in Brodhead, Wisconsin. She has long dark hair and is dressed nicely but not fancy. She is wearing an interesting necklace. The necklace is a string of small cubes. Hanging from the necklace is a small cameo. Photographer, Charles W. Lucas located to Brodhead in 1869, He was born in 1841 and was a native of Maine. He entered the field of photography in 1866 and moved to Wisconsin in 1868. He partnered with others in photography studios until 1871 when he began to operate independently. He was married to Bashie Springstead of Brodhead. It is interesting to note that there is an error  on the front of this cabinet card. The name of the town of “Broadhead” is misspelled. The name should be spelled “Brodhead”.   One wonders why Charles Lucas kept the card stock even though part of his address was spelled incorrectly.

Published in: on July 27, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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FIVE ADORABLE COSTUMED CHILDREN IN RUMA, SERBIA

Someone described the children in this photograph as enchanting; and I agree wholeheartedly. The kids in the photograph are all dressed in wonderful costumes. Perhaps they are dressed this way because they are going to a costume party. It is also possible that they are attired in costumes provided to them by the photographer for purposes of producing an interesting portrait. The children are dressed in occupational fashion. Focusing on the boys from left to right, we see a jester, a fishmonger, a courtier,and a bread seller. It is unclear to me what occupation the little girl is representing. The  photographer of this image has the last name of  “Veritas”. His studio was located in Ruma, Serbia.

Published in: on July 26, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (6)  
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ANGELIC LITTLE GIRL IN ARTISTIC POSE IN DOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE

An angelic looking young girl dressed in white, poses in an artistic portrait at the Drew Studio in Dover, New Hampshire. The little girl does not appear very happy about the process of being photographed. She has corkscrew curls and is wearing hair ribbons. She is sitting cross legged in a white wicker chair. The photographer of this large format image is A. P. Drew. The Dover Enquirer (1896) has an article which mentions Alfred Palmer Drew. In 1896 a “deluge” and subsequent fire destroyed a business block and three bridges in Dover. The flooding sent the stores on the block down the Cocheco River. The photography studio Drew and Boomer was among the stores washed away. The Bulletin of Photography (1917) contains the obituary of A. P. Drew. He died at the age of 81. He had been born in Dover and had worked as a photographer there for more than 50 years. He retired in about 1914. During the civil war he had been a member of the Strafford Guards. The regiment was originally established in 1822 and a year later became part of the New Hampshire State Militia. In 1864 the Strafford Guards were mustered into service of the Union Army for a period of sixty days. They relieved a New Hampshire artillery unit that had been sent to the front. A. P. Drew served as a corporal.

MOTHER JUGGLES BABIES IN LEWISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

“Now, for a special treat, step right up and watch an amazing feat. A mom, from her sitting position, will juggle her twin babies.” Fortunately, the only juggling this mother likely did was what most mothers do. Moms’ tend to be amazing in the way they successfully juggle their children’s needs and other important responsibilities; and do so much, so effectively. The mother and two children in this photograph are unidentified. The children are most likely twins. The photographer of this image is Pross, whose studio was located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.  Research revealed no biographical information about the photographer. However, a photograph dated 1894 was discovered that indicated that the successor to Pross’s business was a photographer with the last name of Hunter. Therefore, the above photograph was taken sometime before 1894.

Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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CELEBRATED ACTRESS ADA REHAN AND HER LABORADOR RETRIEVER (PAGE INCLUDES ADDITIONAL PORTRAITS OF MISS REHAN)

Ada Rehan was a well known and respected American actress. The top cabinet card portrait of Ms Rehan and her dog was published by Napoleon Sarony, a famous celebrity photographer in New York City, New York. Ada Rehan was born in Ireland and came to the United States at six years of age. She grew up in Brooklyn, New York. She began acting as a child. From 1873 until 1875 she became more active in acting at Mrs. Drew’s Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She then joined John Albaugh’s company and appeared in Baltimore, Albany and numerous other cities. In 1879 she joined Augustin Daly’s company upon his opening of his New York theater. She worked with his company for twenty years and appeared throughout Europe. The IBDB reveals that Ada Rehan appeared in 12 Broadway productions.  Some of the Broadway and non Broadway plays she appeared in include a number of Shakespeare productions such as “As You Like It” and “Twelfth Night”. Rehan also acted in “The School for Scandal”, “Foresters”, “Cinderella at School”, and “Our English Friend”. She retired from the stage in 1906 and lived in New York City until her death. It is interesting to note that Ms Rehan’s dog is on a leash. The leash is made of metal links. She is holding the leash with both hands. This is the first leash that I have observed in the many cabinet card photographs of dogs that I have seen. The dog at the end of the leash in this image appears to be a laborador retriever.

The second portrait of Miss Rehan was published by Newsboy of New York. The image was number 68 in a series of photographs. Newsboy distributed these images as premiums for their tobacco product sales.

The third image of Miss Rehan is a bust portrait by Louis Thors of San Francisco, California. Thors was born in Holland in 1845. He was of French descent and educated in France. He was fitted for service in the Merchant Marine and he served in that capacity for a number of years before coming to California in 1876. By 1880 he had established his photography business. One source states that his studio had more than twelve “apartments”. He won a Bronze Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1889. His wife, Gertrude M. Thors was also a photographer. Camera Craft: Photographic Association of California (1910)  printed Thors’s obituary. He was described as one of the highest esteemed photographers in San Francisco. He died of stomach cancer at age seventy-two. He worked in the photography business in San Francisco for over forty years. He left the city after the San Francisco fire and worked in St. Louis for two years before returning to California. The obituary reports that after his immigration to the United States, his skill as a painter earned him employment with photographers Bradley and Rulofsen (click on category “Photographer: Bradley and Rulofsen” to view some of  their photographs). In addition, the death notice asserted that besides his talents as a photographer, Thors had a charming personality and high moral character. To view other photographs by Thors, click on the category “Photographer: Thors”.

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HANDSOME COUPLE IN CHICAGO, ILLINOIS

This photograph features an attractive couple posing for a photographer in Chicago, Illinois. The photographer’s last name is Banks and his studio was located at 2445 Kensington Avenue. The couple is very well dressed and share very serious expressions.The gentleman has a terrific mustache which curls at both ends. The couple are unidentified and no biographical information was found about the photographer.

Published in: on July 22, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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