The gentleman featured in this cabinet card portrait appears to be dashing off to conduct some business. He holds a walking stick and wears a scarf. He was photographed by the Mulligan Brothers studio in Columbus, Ohio.
A young girl poses for her photograph creating a memory of her participation in a religious ceremony. Is the event a communion, or possibly a confirmation. This pretty girl is holding a prayer book and a lit candle. She is dressed in all white and wearing a pair of gloves. The photographer is Walter Klie whose studio was located in Regensburg, Germany.
This cabinet card features a portrait of theater actress Lillian Conway. The image was produced by Jose Mora, the famous New York celebrity photographer. To view other images by Mora, click on the category “Photographer: Mora”. Lillian Conway was Brooklyn born and grew up in a theatrical family. Both her parents were appeared on the stage and her mother was also a theater manager. Lillian’s sister, Minnie, also was an actress. Lillian made her theater debut at the Brooklyn Theater playing a minor role in the burlesque “Evangeline”. She next appeared as the lead in “Virginius”. After her parents died, Lillian moved to Boston where she appeared in Globe Theater productions and next moved to Philadelphia to continue her theatrical career. While in Philadelphia, she met and married a local banker, left the stage, and had two children. The marriage had multiple problems including allegations that her husband was an alcoholic. She divorced her husband, who later died in 1887. Miss Conway returned to the stage and organized the Lillian Conway Opera Company. She took the “show on the road” but her theatrical group failed, partially due to scandal. It seems Lillian Conway was guilty of sharing a hotel room with the troupe’s unmarried business manager. Conway later fell ill, and with the help of the Actor’s Guild was able to finance a trip to London for treatment. Unfortunately, she died there in 1891 from rheumatic fever.
Maude Branscombe was a very popular stage beauty and light opera singer. She was reported to be the most photographed woman of her day. Biographical information about her is sparse and more will be added at a later date. Her first appearance on the New York stage was in 1876 as Cupid in a revival of Ixion at the Eagle Theatre. The portrait at the top was photographed by renowned W & D Downey of London, England.
The second portrait was cropped so the photographer is unknown.
The third portrait (Branscombe is wearing a necklace) is by L. Levin & Son of San Francisco, California.
The fourth cabinet card image was photographed by Sarony. Sarony was a well known celebrity photographer and more of his portraits can be viewed by clicking on the category of “Photographer: Sarony”. Sarony does an excellent job of capturing Branscombe’s beauty and her alluring eyes.
The fifth and sixth, and seventh cabinet card were photographed by another celebrity photographer, Jose Mora, of New York City. Interestingly, the fifth and seventh cabinet card captures Branscombe in the same costume as the second cabinet card. It is likely that the photographer of cabinet card number two, is also Jose Mora. To view other photographs by Mora, click on the category of “Photographer: Mora”.
The eighth cabinet card portrait of Branscombe was photographed by Howell, another New York City photographer with a studio on Broadway. Howell’s close-up photograph captures the actress’s beauty and her wonderful eyes. She is wide eyed and her hair is a bit mussed. These qualities add to the allure of Miss Branscombe.William Roe Howell was born in 1846 in Goshen, New York. He had a passion for drawing and painting and he directed his creative interest into the field of photography as a young adult. He opened a photographic studio in Goshen. In 1863 he moved to New York City where he joined Robert and Henry Johnston at Johnston Brothers Studio at 867 Broadway. In 1866 the firm became Johnston & Howell. In 1867, he became the sole proprietor of the gallery. By 1870, he was gaining much recognition in the field of photography. His great location in New York City gave him access to many fashionable upper class men and women as well as many celebrities. Among his photographic subjects were P. T. Barnum, Buffalo Bill, and Robert E. Lee. He opened a branch studio in Brooklyn. In 1873 he came one of five Americans to be awarded a special grand prized at the Vienna World Fair. He frequently received mention in the photographic journals. He published a book of cabinet cards that received much praise. He became a photographer for West Point, Princeton, and other notable institutions. He won many medals at photography exhibitions. In 1878 he moved his business from 867 to 889 Broadway and opened another studio with a partner (Meyer) at 26 West 14th Street. In 1880 he retired from photography due to health reasons. In 1886 he moved with his family to Washington D.C. intent on opening a photography business there. He then disappeared. He vanished just two weeks before the grand opening of his new studio. He left his wife of 16 years (Fannie Scott) and his five children penniless. His wife stated that Howell was an eccentric man and that he must have got tired of business and family problems “and cut loose from us”. He apparently returned home after a short duration of absence and his business appeared in the 1888 Washington D. C. business directory but not in the 1889 directory. He died of tuberculosis in New York City in 1890. He had been residing at the home of a colleague who ran a photography studio in Harlem. It is believed by some biographers that he had divorced his wife and returned to New York without his family.
The ninth cabinet card is another portrait photographed by Jose Mora. The actress’s costuming detracts from the overall appeal of the photograph. She seems lost in the swirl of her head covering. However, the photographer does an excellent job of highlighting Miss Branscombe’s seductive eyes. The phrase “Maude Branscombe eyes” certainly rivals the phrase “Bette Davis eyes”.
Cabinet card number ten also comes from the studio of Jose Mora. She is well dressed in this portrait. It is not clear if she is dressed for a stage role or if she is attired for a jaunt around town.
An “ordinary” couple poses for their portrait at the Sterling, Nebraska photographic studio of E. T. Benson (1870-1935). The couple are identified on the reverse of the photograph as Albert and Bertha (Wuske) Maulis. Research uncovered a copy of this image and it was referred to as a wedding picture. Albert Moulis (1868-1960) is listed in the 1900 through 1930 US census. The 1900 US census reveals that he was born in Bohemia and immigrated to the US (1888). His occupation was listed as farmer. He is also listed as a farmer on the 1910 census but by 1920 he had become a machinist. A popular genealogy site has an entry that states that Albert’s journey to America started when he stowed away on a ship rather than enter military service in the army of the Austrian Empire. Albert’s wife, Bertha (1878-1937). , was Nebraska born, but came from parents with Prussian and German heritage.
Photographer Arturo Stinco took this wonderful portrait of a young boy and his pedal car. The boy has long hair and is wearing a large bow. Judging by his clothing and his expensive toy car, he is likely from a very well-to-do family. The boy’s name is written on the reverse of the photograph. His name is Carlos Aguerra (possibly Aguerro). The photographer’s studio was located in the Argentinian town of Coronel Suarez. This town was founded in 1883 and is in the Buenos Aires province of Argentina. It was named after Manuel Isidoro Suarez (1799-1841) who was an Argentinian army colonel who fought in wars of independence against the Spanish.
A pretty young lady poses for photographer R. E. Atkinson at his studio at 257 and 259 State Street in Schenectady, New York. The young woman in this image has a look that exudes an abundance of personality. Photographers took great pride in their work which is evident in Atkinson’s advertisement on the reverse of the photograph which states his occupation as “Artist and Photographer”. Atkinson worked as a photographer in Schenectady from at least 1885 through 1888 when he was succeeded by a firm called Smith and Talbott. In 1906 he shows up in the Schenectady business directory again but this time his profession is listed as “nursery stock”. Research reveals that during the 1870’s Atkinson worked as a photographer in Troy, New York.