This carte de visite portrait features an aged woman wearing mourning clothes. Her black dress, black hat, and sad expression, all suggest that she has suffered a recent loss. Her left hand is placed on a book atop a small table. The book is likely a bible. The photographer of this cdv photograph is J. R. Bentley. He operated a studio in Edmonton, Canada. Research found an ad in “The Photographic News” (1893) in which Bentley advertises the sale of his studio. It is very interesting to note that the advertising on the reverse of this CDV refers to Bentley as a “Portrait, Landscape, & Equestrian Photographer”. I do not remember ever seeing a early photographer refer to himself as a “Equestrian” photographer. I wonder if Mr. Bentley took photos of individual horses, or if he photographed individuals sitting on horses. I hope someday I locate one of Bentley’s equestrian photographs.

Published in: on April 6, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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This cabinet card portrait features a handsome and well-dressed young man posing for photographer, A. E. Rinehart. The photo studio was located in Denver, Colorado. Rinehart was a well known and talented photographer. Rinehart’s studio was located on one of Denver’s oldest and most historic blocks (Larimer Street). Rinehart was a pioneer photographer who came to Denver from Lafayette, Indiana in 1874.  He was the city’s leading photographer during the mining boom and photographed many of the early Denver pioneers.  His subjects included Kit Carson and Mountain Man Jim Baker.  Rinehart died at age 63 in 1915. Rinehart’s brother, Frank Albert Rinehart (1861-1928) was also well known for his photography, capturing Native American personalities and scenes. The reverse of this photograph has an inscription which indicates that the name of the pictured subject is Edward S. Hartwell. The 1910 census states that Hartwell was born in New York in 1867. At the time of the census he was living in El Paso, Colorado and working as an auditor for a railroad. Denver business directories reveal that Hartwell worked as a Paymaster between 1887 and 1907. He married Mamie M. King in 1891 and divorced her in 1906. To view other photographs by A. E. Rinehart, place his name in this blog’s search box.

Published in: on April 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This vintage real photo postcard features an attractive young woman sitting in a chair by a fireplace. She is reading a magazine by the light of the fire. The young lady is adorned with a lot of jewelry (two bracelets, a necklace, and a ring). She is wearing a pretty dress and a pretty smile.  The postcard was published by Rotophot Berlin (RPH). It is part of a series (no.3677/2). Rotophot made it’s debut in Berlin, Germany around the turn of the century (1900). The company had other European offices including London and Budapest. They published many different postcard topics including stage stars. Many of their early postcards were tinted. Eventually Rotophot morphed into “Ross Verlag”, a postcard company that collectors know for the many postcards they produced featuring actors and actresses. This postcard has a French stamp.

Published in: on April 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (5)  


This sweet little boy is adorably dressed. He poses for his studio portrait in front of a very nice backdrop painting of the sea. The child is holding on to a hoop toy. He takes extra precaution that the toy won’t roll away by standing on the bottom of the hoop. A note below the image identifies the boy as Otto and the year the photograph was taken (1913). I am not a linguist so I can only guess what language the embossed studio information is written in. My hypothesis is that this photograph was taken in Russia, or possibly Greece. If I am correct, one wonders what a boy with a German name (Otto) is doing in Russia or Greece. Hopefully, a visitor to the Cabinet Card Gallery will be able to identify the language and leave a comment which will solve the mystery.

Published in: on April 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  


This vintage real photo postcard features French cabaret actress Mademoiselle Davrigny. She is truly a stage beauty. Her smile is delightful. Preliminary research yielded no biographical information. This postcard was published by Societe Industrielle de Photograpie (SIP) of Rueil, France and was part of a series (no. 1676). The photographer was Edouard Stebbing who was active in Paris between 1890 and 1910. Stebbing taught at a University in Paris and invented the stebbing camera, and was known for his work with emulsions. It is reported that he was friends with the artist Monet. He died in 1914 and his wife (Celestine) died five years earlier. Stebbing was a prolific photographer during the Belle Epoque Paris. He appears to have been an expatriate from England. He published many articles in British Photographic journals. Stebbing photographed many theatrical stars. A frequent publisher of these postcards was Monsieur G.Piprot, of “Etoille” or “Star” publishing in Paris. The “Photographic Times and American Photographer” (1883) cited Stebbing as “one of the bright lights of the French Photographic Society

Published in: on April 2, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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An Arlo Guthrie song has the following lyrics. “I don’t want a pickle. Just want to ride on my motorcycle. And I don’t want a tickle. Cause I’d rather ride on my motorcycle.” Motorcyclists often have a passionate relationship with their bikes and riding, Perhaps the chap in this vintage snapshot shares that same enthusiasm. This photo features a middle aged or older motor cyclist. His bike has a British (Bristol) license plate and was manufactured by the Douglas company. Douglas was a British motorcycle manufacturer that operated from 1907 through 1957. The company was based in the city of Bristol.  Interestingly, the company also built cars in its early days (1913-1922). This photograph measures about 3 3/8″ x 2 3/8″ and is in good condition (see scans). I believe that this photograph is from the 1920’s.

Published in: on April 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (7)  
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This vintage snapshot features two enthusiastic men manning their ham radio station. The large desk that these men are sharing hosts numerous electronic devices. The electrical wires that power this station seems to be jerry rigged. It appears to be an electricity nightmare and I doubt this amateur set-up would pass an official fire or electronic inspection. Note the telephone, table radio and typewriter captured in this photograph. These two ham radio operators seem to be having a good time pursuing their hobby. It is possible that the men are actually at work and performing their duties utilizing the radio. The poor, and possibly dangerous wiring, leads me to believe that the men are amateurs and that this ham radio station is a home set-up.

Published in: on March 31, 2018 at 2:38 pm  Comments (2)  


This vintage real photo postcard features a beautiful semi-nude woman sitting on a stool and admiring herself in a mirror. This risque postcard is tastefully done. The postcard was published by a French firm known as “P.C.” from Paris. The P. C. logo is an abbreviation for Papeteries de Levallois-Clichy. The firm published a variety of real photo postcard topics including portraits of women, nudes, views, and holiday cards. The company was active in the 1920’s.

Published in: on March 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  


This cabinet card portrait features comic opera star, Helen Bertram (1869-1953). As I researched her life, I became more and more interested in her experiences and character. She was a person who’s life itself was a drama. More on that later. She was one of America’s leading prima donnas of her era. Bertram was born in Illinois.  Her father was a wealthy grain merchant. She trained at the Cincinnati College of Music and at age 20 began working as a lead singer for a number of opera companies, including Abbott, Conried, and the Bostonians. In fact, she worked for many opera companies because she tended to switch allegiances when offered better salaries. She had much impact on comic opera. Influential roles in “The Gingerbread Man” and “The Prince of Pilsen” contributed to that impact. The St. Paul Daily Globe (1887) printed a review about a very early Bertram performance  with the Abbott company. The review states that she sang with ‘such exquisite art as to win the hearts of her audience”. The article also describes Miss Bertram as a brilliant debutante in opera, and states that she had an “exceedingly handsome face, pretty figure, graceful movement, and sweetness”. Her off-stage life was tumultuous and her scandals were covered closely in American newspapers. Plainly said, her personal life was a disaster. In 1893, news articles revealed that she and actor, Edward Henley, were having an affair. Both were married and their affair caused both of their spouses to file for divorce. At first Bertram denied her extramarital relationship saying “Oh my! Mr Henley has had so many sweethearts, it seems too bad that I should be made the scapegoat for all this.”  In 1894, Bertram and Henley announced plans to marry. They were not married long because Henley died. The St. Louis Republic (1901) reported that Bertram had thrown a locket containing Henley’s ashes off a balcony. The rationale for pitching the ashes was that she had fallen in love with another man. Bertram denied tossing the ashen remains of her husband. In 1903 she married her third husband, matinee idol Edward Morgan. He had a sensational history of stormy marriages and relationships. At some point in time, Bertram had a relationship with George d’essauer, a wealthy French nobleman. George got himself into some trouble concerning a forgery scandal. After being indicted, he fled to Europe were he was arrested for other charges. The St. Louis Republic (1905) ran an article about Bertram being taken to court for unpaid bills. She claimed she was bankrupt as the reason for non payment. In 1906, her third husband, Edward Morgan died. He died from a fall in his hotel room, but the coroner theorized that the fall was due to his well known morphine addiction. From 1908 into the 1930’s she announced several retirements only to return to the stage. Later roles included vaudeville and concert tours with provincial orchestras. Bertram also had a movie career and the IMdB lists her as appearing in three movies including “The Lightening Conductor” (1914) and “Rhythm on the River” (1940). Back to the cabinet card seen above. The studio that produced this photograph was the Aime Dupont gallery. Dupont (1842-1900) founded his photography business in 1886 in New York City, New York. He was formerly a sculptor and he was of Belgian origin. His American wife, Etta Greer, was also a photographer. She was well respected for he work as a portraitist of opera singers in Paris, France. She was educated in Paris and spent much of her childhood there. She also met and married Dupont in Paris. The couple was very talented and they became very popular as portrait photographers in New York. Among their society and celebrity clients were many singers who were appearing in New York. After Dupont’s death, his wife, and later his son (Albert), operated the studio. His wife kept the name of the studio the same, after the death of her husband. In 1906, the Metropolitan Opera hired its own official  photographer, resulting in diminished portrait work in that sector. The studio went bankrupt in 1920.


This vintage real photo postcard features a photograph of fraternity brothers posing in front of their fraternity house. I have been unable to identify the specific fraternity that these boys represent. There are some clues that might help another researcher to uncover the name of the fraternity. The banner held by a boy in the second row identifies the university as Colgate, located in Hamilton, New York. There are four pillows that may be revealing. The pillow on the end, reports the year as 1906. The other three pillows are held by boys in the front row. Each pillow has a letter; which I assume is written in Greek. One of the pillow’s letters is impossible to read. Investigation reveals that historically, Colgate had many student organizations. The school was founded in 1819 and the institution’s rich history of student societies include Literary Societies, Greek Fraternities, Honor Societies, and even secret societies. This postcard has been postmarked twice. The card was processed in both Norwich and Hamilton, New York. The postmark was stamped in 1906. The postcard is addressed to Miss Abigail Post (1885-?). The 1900 US census reveals that she was the daughter of a farmer and the 1910 US Census lists her as a public school teacher. In 1913, she married Thomas Ray Gorton.