JOSIAH BENNETT: STATE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS

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This cabinet card features a portrait of Massachusetts Senator Josiah Bennett. His mustache is very notable and earns him a spot in the cabinet card gallery category “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. Be sure to check out the collection of extraordinary mustaches. This portrait was taken in 1885 by the Bushby & Macurdy studio located on Washington Street in Boston. Asa Bushby was born in South Danvers, Massachusetts in 1834. He was a self taught portrait painter and after returning from the Civil War, he became a photographer. He opened a studio in Peabody, and then moved to Lynn, and later to Boston, Massachusetts. At some point in his career, he partnered with George W. Macurdy. He is listed in the 1889 Boston business directory.  At the end of the 1880’s he moved to Tacoma, Washington and died there in 1897. Civil war buffs may be interested to know that Asa Bushby served in the 1st Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery (company D). He entered, and later left the regiment as a private.  To view more photographs by Bushby & Macurdy, click on the category “Photographer: Bushby & Macurdy”. Josiah Bennett served as a state senator. He was served on a committee that addressed state prison issues. Hopefully, further research will yield more information about Mr. Bennett.

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PORTRAIT OF BEAUTIFUL THEATER ACTRESS KATE SANTLEY (PHOTOGRAPHED BY NAPOLEON SARONY)

santleyThis fantastic cabinet card photograph features beautiful theater actress Kate Santley (1837-1923). The photograph was produced by New York City celebrity photographer, Napoleon Sarony. Santley was born in Germany but raised as a child in Charleston, South Carolina. After the outbreak of the civil war in America, Santley left for England. She began her theater career in England and became a well known actress, singer, comedienne, and theater manager. In 1876 she played Wilhelmina in “The Jolly Waterman” at the London Opera Comique. Also in 1876, she started her own theater company and produced and starred in W. S.Gilbert’s “Princess Toto” at the Theatre Royale in Nottingham. Kate Santley was a stage beauty. She was slim and pretty and was frequently photographed for carte de visites, cabinet cards, postcards, and advertising. To view other photographs by this celebrated photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.

LOVELY LADY AND A TRAIN WRECK IN ASHTABULA, OHIO

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.

WOMAN STANDS BY FENCE POST IN LEBANON, PENNSYLVANIA

Elvin E. Schartel, a photographer from Lebanon, Pennsylvania, produced this image of an intense looking  young woman standing at a gate. She is wearing a necklace with a locket. Schartel is listed in the 1889 Lebanon business directory as a photographer.

Published in: on December 27, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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AUSTRIAN WOMAN HOLDING A PITCHER AND BASKET (PHOTOGRAPH BY RUDOLF KRZIWANEK)

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A pretty Austrian woman poses for her portrait at the studio of Rudolf Krziwanek. The woman is holding a pitcher in one hand and a basket with the other hand. The reverse of the photograph has an imprinted date which indicates that the image is from 1894. Krziwanek had studios in both Vienna and Ischl, Austria. Rudolf  Krziwanek was a noted Austrian photographer in Vienna. He operated his studio there between 1870 until his death in 1905. He is well known for the many portraits he took of the Hapsburg Court.

Published in: on December 26, 2012 at 1:21 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TOOTHLESS OLD MAN WITH ODD BEARD IN HOWELL, MICHIGAN

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An elderly man poses for his portrait at the Gibson & Morgan studio in Howell, Michigan. The gray haired  gentleman appears to be missing his teeth and is wearing an unusual beard that occupies much of his neck and little of his face. To view other interesting beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best)”.

Published in: on December 25, 2012 at 12:24 pm  Comments (4)  
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TWO MEN IN UNIFORM IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

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Two uniformed men strike an affectionate pose for a studio photographer in Kansas City, Missouri. Magnifying the photograph did not help definitively determine if the men were railroad conductors, firemen, police officers, or some other uniformed occupation. The photographer of this image is the Driffill studio. Mrs. Kittie Driffill operated a photography studio at 615 West 6th Street, in Kansas City. City business directories confirm that she had a studio in Kansas City between at least 1887 and 1910. According to the 1900 United States Census, Kittie worked the business with her son Edward Mack. In 1907 she worked with her husband Thomas Driffill.. Kittie Driffill also used the first name of Katherine.

SMALL BOY AND HIS BIG DOG IN NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK.

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A long haired and very well dressed young lad poses with his dog at the Rockwood studio in New York. The boy is wearing interesting leggings and a terrific hat. His dog appears to be a Burmese Mountain Dog but that is simply an uninformed guess. There is an unusual notation below the image; “Printed on N. P. S. extra brilliant albumen paper”. The photographer, George Rockwood of  New York City was a noted celebrity photographer. It is possible that the boy featured in this image may have been a child actor. To learn more about the photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Rockwood”.

Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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A BOY AND HIS DOG: BOY IDENTIFIED AS “ELDEN McFARLAND (I THINK)”

boystbernard_0006A little curly haired boy in a rufflled shirt poses at the Twasaki studio along  with his large white and black spotted dog. The boy is wearing a checkered bow tie. The dog appears to be resting comfortably as it sprawls on a rug in front of his young master. The boy has a sparkle in his eyes and his foot is resting lightly on the dog’s back.The reverse of the photograph has a handwritten inscription that identifies the child as “Elden McFarland (I think)”. The writer of the inscription was unusually honest about his lack of conviction in the identification. The dog pictured in this photograph is a St. Bernard (I think). If I am wrong, someone more informed than me about dog breeds will assuredly  correct me via a comment.The photographer’s name on the bottom of this image is illegible. It appears to be Twasaki or Iwasaki but research was of no value in identifying the photographer or the location of his studio. The name Elden McFarland was too common to find biographical information about the subject. Knowing the location of the studio would have facilitated finding background information concerning young Master McFarland.

Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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A PORTRAIT OF A BOY AND A CHAIR BY MISS LIBBY IN NORWAY, MAINE (NOTED FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

MISS LIBBY_0007A young boy dressed in a double breasted jacket and wearing a tie poses for this portrait by Miss Libby of Norway, Maine.  Minnie Libby (1863-1947) had a sixty year business career in Norway, Maine. She was a very able photographer and also an eccentric. She was the daughter of a Maine born blacksmith who was also a carriage maker and dealer. The 1880 census lists her at age sixteen as being an artist. She was sent to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and developed an interest in photography. She worked as a studio photo retoucher while living in Boston. In 1882 she worked as a photo retoucher at the Anthony Crockett Picture Studio in Norway. In 1885 her father constructed a building to house her first studio. By the 1890’s Miss Libby was quite successful. In 1905 her father helped her buy a new studio which caused some controversy in the town of  Norway. The seller of the building neglected to tell his tenant, a photographer, that the building was sold. The tenant photographer took ads out in the local paper denouncing the underhanded business practices of Miss Libby who ultimately occupied the building. Miss Libby’s response to the ads was to take out her own ads in which she said that she would use the advertising space to talk about her business, and not to make misleading statements about her competitors. In 1940, Life Magazine discovered Miss Libby. They did a feature on her life as a photographer, both past and present. Minnie Libby also produced oil paintings while working as a photographer. She was a talented artist and did many paintings of plants and flowers as well as landscapes. The Life Magazine article describes Miss Libby’s appearance. She most often wore knickers, men’s shirts, and a flowing bow tie. She was also described as a “first class photographer”. To view other photographs by Miss Libby, click on the category “Photographer: Libby”.