This vintage photograph features a large group of medical students posing with a skeleton. The skeleton is sitting on a stool and is wearing a hat. This image demonstrates that college humor has a long history. It is interesting to note that a young boy is sitting on the lap of a student in the first row. I wonder why the lad is in the photograph and what his relationship is to this medical school class. It is also notable that there is a young man sitting in a second floor window that the photographer only managed to partially fit in the image. This photograph is not a cabinet card. The photo measures 5″ x 8″. The subjects and the photographer are not identified. Neither is the skeleton.
This cabinet card features an older man carrying what appears to be a doctors bag. He is dressed as if he is preparing to make a winter house call to check the status of one of his patients. The doctor is wearing a buffalo coat and a fur cap. He is holding a scarf and a pair of gloves. He has a pocket watch that he probably uses to take the pulse of his patients. It must have been difficult to be a doctor in a rural area for many reasons; including having to travel great distances to visit ill patients in all kinds of weather. At least he didn’t have to deal with managed care. The Huffman and Barnard Studio produced this terrific image. Perrin Cuppy Huffman (1833-1894) was a photographer in Frankville, Iowa from 1862-1864; and than worked in Waukon, Iowa from 1865 until 1896. He was of German ancestry, born in Ohio, and settled in Iowa in 1853. His son Laton Alton Huffman became one of Montana’s foremost photographers. At times he worked with partners. His first partner was his wife, Christina Huffman. He later was associated with the the partner listed on this cabinet card, Barnard. They were partnered between 1882-1894.
Back in the day when doctors made housecalls; they may have looked like this gentleman. He appears to be carrying the tools of his medical profession in his doctor bag. This man was photographed by Blatt of Bernville, Pennsylvania. The physician is identified as Joel Stump.