A cute little girl with a sweet smile pushes open the gate in this studio photograph by E. E. Van Epps. The child wears an expression that shows her excitement about obtaining a photographic portrait. This scalloped cabinet card was created in one of four studios operated by Van Epps in Kansas. The studios were located in the towns of Atwood, Colby, Hoxie and Sharon Springs.
This cabinet card features a well dressed woman dressed in black and holding a handkerchief. The woman appears to be dressed in mourning clothes. On the reverse of the cabinet card is the following pre printed quotation “Secure the shadow ere the substance fades”. This quotation was commonly used in the photographic community in advertising to encourage people to photograph their deceased relatives to keep their memory alive. The next part of the “secure the shadow” quotation is “Let nature imitate what nature made”. It was not uncommon to photograph corpses in life-like poses or in caskets, deathbeds, or other household furniture during the cabinet card era. See cabinet card gallery category “Memorial Card”. This photograph seems to be more of a mourning card than a memorial card, though one can’t be certain. The photographer of this image is Mrs. Vreeland who operated the “leading gallery” in McPherson, Kansas. To view other photographs by female photographers click on the category “Female Photographers”. To view other photographs by Mrs. Vreeland, click on the category “Photographer: Vreeland”.
The subjects of this cabinet card portrait are Colonel Reuben Steere (1838-1915) and his wife, Rebecca (1853-1929). Steere is elegantly dressed and has a walking stick. Rebecca has unusually long hair which is displayed prominently. Reuben Steere was a native of Chepachet, Rhode Island. He was 44 inches tall and 43 pounds at maturity. He was a member of the Lilliputian Opera Company. In 1880 he married fellow Lilliputian, Rebecca Ann Myers of Indiana. The couple settled in Chepachet in 1882 and Reuben worked as a truant officer while Rebecca operated a restaurant and confectionary shop. This photograph was produced at the “photo parlors” of Rieman & Company. The studio was located on Montgomery Street in San Francisco, California. The address printed on the front of the photograph notes that the parlors were “Opposite Lick House”. What is Lick House? The name Lick House fosters all sort of silly images in my mind but the history of Lick House is actually quite interesting. James Lick was a renowned craftsman of wood products and a successful businessman. He began building Lick House in 1861. The building was two blocks long and three stories high. It was a luxurious showpiece hotel with 164 high quality rooms. It was considered one of San Francisco’s premier hotels until it burned down to the ground during the 1906 earthquake and fire. Advertising print on the reverse of the photograph includes the following two slogans, “Rieman’s Babies” and “When others fail, try Rieman”. Additional advertising on the reverse of the image are the names George R. Rieman and Fred H. Pray. At one time, Rieman and Pray were partners in operating a photography studio. Writing on the the back of the photograph states the photograph captures “the smallest married couple in the world”. To view other photographs by Rieman click on the category “Photographer: Rieman”.
The gentleman in this cabinet card portrait gives the appearance of an educated man. His long beard and wonderful spectacles contribute to his intellectual look. For an undisclosed reason, the previous owner of this photograph believed that the subject was a teacher at Smith College. The Record and Epler studio of Saratoga, New York, produced this image. To view other photographs by Record and Epler, click on the category, “Photographer: Record & Epler”.
This photograph features a not too comfortable wedding couple. Both subjects look frozen and the bride appears doll-like. She is pretty and displays a nice figure in her interesting wedding dress. She is wearing a crown of flowers while the groom has a flower pinned to his jacket. The photographer of this image is Thibault’s Portrait Gallery in Fall River, Massachusetts. The studio was operated by Joseph Thibault. Written on the reverse of the photograph is the name “Joseph Mercier”. It is likely that the groom is Joseph Mercier. There were a number of men named Joseph Mercier living in Fall River around the time that this photograph was taken, making it impossible to garner information about the subject of this image. It does appear that the Mercier’s living in the area were of French Canadian descent.
This cabinet card is not a terrific image. However, there is something about the subjects eyes that compensates for the photograph’s deficits. The teen sisters pictured in this photograph have lovely eyes. An inscription on the reverse of the image reveals that the older sister is sixteen years old while the younger girl is fourteen years old. The photograph was taken in 1893. The inscription does not identify the girls names. The photographer was the Gillespie studio in New Castle, Pennsylvania. In 1857 S. M.Gillepsie (1832-1906?) began his photography career as an apprentice to a photographer named Johnston in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1862 he opened his own gallery in New Castle. He was married to Henrietta Harper in 1859.
Can a baby be poised? If so, than the baby in this photograph certainly seems poised. The child actually has a “stage presence”. He or she is a perfect candidate for doing television commercials. Unfortunately television is decades away from being invented, so this child must settle for still photography. The baby in this photograph is very well posed. The baby is adorable and the positioning and lighting is terrific. The skilled posing also helps this image get past the Corbie Cabinet Card Censoring Committee (otherwise known as the C.C.C.C.C).. The photographer of this image is the David studio in Corbie, France. Corbie is a town in the north of France. attentive baby
The reverse of this cabinet card has an inscription that reveals that the names of the two girls appearing in this image are Ola and Gertie Cogswell. They are wearing lovely dresses and bows. They have terrific long hair and curls. The siblings appear in the 1900 census. At the time of the census, Ola was nine years old and Gertie was seven years old, They were living with their family in Cato, Michigan. Their family consisted of their parents Harley and Ella, and siblings Theodocia (age 5) and Harold (age 3). At some point after 1900, the family appears to have moved to Grand Rapids. The photographer of this image is the Chapman studio which was located in Stanton, Michigan. Ira O. Chapman (1853-1908) and E. Frank Chapman (1858-1916) were brothers who operated as photographers in Stanton, Michigan. It is unclear which brother is the creator of this cabinet card. At one point in time, the pair conducted business in Stanton as “Chapman Brothers” studio. A portrait of a group of members of the Grand Army of the Republic that was done by the photographer brothers, appears in the Flat River Museum in Greenville, Michigan.
Gustav Rieke is the photographer who produced this image of a photogenic family of siblings in Breslau, Germany. The reverse of the photograph has the notation “kinder Heuforth” written on the reverse which presumably can be interpreted as these children are from the Heuforth family. These kids are well dressed and appear to be happy while posing for their family portrait.