TRAVELERS FROM INDIA VISIT BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

INDIANTEMPLE_0003This cabinet card portrait features four Indian men posing for their portrait at the Holland studio in Boston, Massachusetts. These visitors are wearing their traditional clothing, including turbans. At least one of the men is barefoot. One of the men is holding a paper while another is holding a book. Could it be a prayer book? These men may be Sikhs. The previous owner of this photograph suggested that the seated men are Sikhs and the other two men are Burmese attendants. Hopefully, someone from the cabinet card gallery’s vast unpaid research department will be able to specify the ethnicity of the subjects of this photograph. It is is interesting to note that the photographer’s studio is located on Temple Place. Could there be a Hindu temple nearby? The photographer of this terrific image is Henry F. Holland (1853?-1911?). He entered the world of Boston photography when he became a partner with George P. Roberts in 1886. Their studio was located at 10 Temple Place (the same address as this image). The partners designed their own back drops and their studio was a great success; at one time employing 25 people. The gallery was advertised as “the finest studio in New England” and Holland’s business motto was “Realism in Photography”. Apparently Holland should have practiced realism in business because the gallery eventually went bankrupt. Speculation is that a poor investment in a printing business led to the collapse of Holland’s studio. His partner, Mr. Roberts, left the firm in 1888, two years before the bankruptcy. Holland was buoyant and by 1891 had established a new photography studio called “Ye Holland Studio” which he opened on Washington Street in Boston. He soon left the studio for his son’s Tom and C. E. to manage. Holland than entered business in another field for which he had much passion. He formed the Freeman-Holland Company and became involved in the electricity business. He became the local general manager of the National Electrical Manufacturing Company. He also combined his interest photography and technology by becoming a photographer of industrial equipment.

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Boston’s Temple Place was named after the Masonic Temple which was at the head of the street during parts of the 19th Century see http://www.historicnewengland.org/collections-archives-exhibitions/collections-access/collection-object/capobject?refd=PC001.01.TMP.505

  2. I cannot be sure but the young man in the middle, with the traditional indian turbant, seems to me your now very famous Swami Paramhansa Yogananda whose chief american legacy SRF is headquartered in Los Angeles since the 1920′: he came in America to spread his Kriya Yoga message to the west peoples; in his very famous Autobiography of a Yogi tells us he landed in Boston to join the October 1920 International Congress of Religious Liberals where he spoke his very first public discourse in America (October 6) after travelling for two months from India to Boston from August to the end of September on the first ship leaving India for America after the First World War named “City of Sparta”-

    • It would be wonderful to have an early image of Paramahansa Yogananda but unfortunately, he does not appear in this photograph. The famous Swami was born in 1893 and died in 1952. Considering that this photograph is from sometime during the 1880’s or very early 1890’s, Paramahansa Yogananda was still a child during the cabinet card era.

  3. Not only fascinating to have so much information for a photo or photographer, but to speculate as to the story behind the photos.


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