This Cabinet Card features two young children posing for their photograph at the studio of H. R. Koopman, in Roseland, Illinois. The photographer is Henry Ralph Koopman II and his father emigrated from Holland and was a well known minister in the community. The photographers brother, George, joined him in the photography studio business. The Chicago Historical Society’s magazine published an article about Koopman; “The Life and Times of a Neighborhood Photographer”. Roseland is a neighborhood located in the south side of Chicago.
This Cabinet Card presents some interesting questions. Who is this man? What is his ethnicity? What is his story? The answers are lost to history but we can hazard some guesses. Perhaps the history of Orange City, Iowa can provide a little helpful information. Orange City was originally called Holland when it was founded in 1870 by settlers from Pella, Iowa who were looking for better and cheaper land. History books refer to Orange City as being known as the “Dutch Garden” or one of the “Dutch Colonies”. The photographer of this cabinet card is J. Jelgerhuis of Orange City, Iowa. The photographer’s last name indicates Dutch ethnicity. My hypothesis is that the subject of this photograph is a Dutch man, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. This is an especially good idea since I don’t have a farm. It sure would be terrific if a visitor to this site can identify historical details concerning this gentleman’s hat. I am quite sure that such information will illuminate the issue of his ethnic origin.