THE “WILD MEN” OF PRAIRIE CITY, ILLINOIS

crane

Who are these guys? I suppose we will never know. This cabinet card photograph features two older men posing for their portrait at the Crane studio in Prairie City, Illinois. The men are pretty well dressed. Both are wearing long coats and hats. One imagines that this photograph was taken during the winter, judging by the men’s clothing. The gentleman on the right side of the image has an appearance of someone who likely did not live a traditional lifestyle. His appearance might have earned him a part in a movie about a wild man living a bit away from civilization. That is, if there were movies during the cabinet card era. Of course I realize that my hypothesis could be very wrong. As much as I love to conjecture about the people in these vintage photographs, I am clear that our interpretations may reveal more about ourselves than about the subjects in the images. These old photos can be similar to the projective tests (ie the Rorshach)  employed by Psychologists. Gathering information about the photographer of this image was problematic. More thorough research could reap some very interesting results. The only photographer named Crane that I could find in the Prairie City area was Maria Ann Crane who operated a studio right in Prairie City. According to the Yale University library collection of “Women in Photography”, Miss Crane operated a studio in Prairie City in 1893. The library collection includes two of her portraits. Crane may have been an independent photographer, or like many other pioneer women in photography, she may have joined or succeeded her husband in the photography business.

 

 

Published in: on August 26, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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  1. The cap of the man on the right is a very early Stormy Kromer cap, first manufactured in 1903. The company is in Ironwood, MI. I just called the company and the receptionist pulled up the photo from CCG website and was very excited about it — is passing it along to management.

    • Thnks for the comment. Great job of identifying the hat and my compliments for informing the company. It’s really terrific that you connected the company with its product from long ago. You obviously love history and sharing it with others. Thanks again


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