PORTRAIT OF A FASHIONABLE WOMAN IN LEEDS, ENGLAND (FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

This cabinet card portrait is notable for at least two reasons. First, the woman in the photograph is beautifully dressed. Note the matching trim on the cuffs of her sleeves, across her chest, and on her high collar. The second reason that makes this image special is that the photograph was taken by a female photographer. Alice Josephine Swithenbank operated the Elm Street Studio in Hunslet, Leeds, England. Hunslet is an inner-city area in south Leeds.

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Published in: on August 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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EXQUISITE PORTRAIT OF A GERMAN COUPLE BY EMILIE BIEBER (CARTES DE VISITE 1870’s)

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Emilie Bieber is one of my favorite photographers of the Cartes de Visite/Cabinet Card era. The quality of her work soars above her contemporary photographers. View more of her images by clicking on the category “Photographer: Bieber” or just put her name in the search box. This CDV captures a lovely immaculately dressed couple posing in Bieber’s Hamburg studio. The woman’s hair is beautifully done. She is wearing a cross on a chain. The gentleman is wearing formal clothes and also is wearing a ring and pocket watch. Bieber had a second photo studio which was located in Berlin. Emilie Bieber ran her Hamburg studio for 1852 through 1872 when she was joied by her nephew, Leonard Berlin-Bieber. She died in 1884. This cdv likely dates back to the 1870’s. The reverse of the photograph lists prizes garnered by Bieber at various photo exhibitions including Berlin (1865), Paris (1870), London (1872), and Vienna (1873).

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PORTRAIT OF AN ANGELIC LITTLE GIRL IN HOUNSLOW, ENGLAND

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A young girl with blonde hair poses for her portrait at Wards studio in Hounslow, England. Her simple dress and her eyes gazing upward gives her an angelic appearance. Hounslow is a suburban district in Greater London. Wards studio receives mention in the British Journal of Photography (1908). I have been made aware by a vintage photography enthusiast that the photographer is Lorraine Ward and she operated her business from the Stainesroad address from 1896 to 1922. The studio continued it’s existence under other ownership until 1937.

 

 

Published in: on October 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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YOUNG GIRL’S PORTRAIT IN CHARLOTTE, MICHIGAN

A nicely dressed young girl is the subject of this cabinet card photograph by Chapman, of Charlotte, Michigan. The girl is wearing a ring, a link chain necklace, and earrings. The cabinet card stock is unusual because of its pea green color. This photograph came from Edwin A. Chapman’s gallery. Research reveals that he received credit for many photographs that his wife had taken at his studio. Mrs. Jennie A. Chapman (born 1839 or 1840) was a photographer in her own right. Some of her images were taken in 1888.

Published in: on October 10, 2016 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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BEAUTIFUL BUT NOT SO TALENTED THEATER ACTRESS: NORA KERIN

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The top vintage real photo postcard features actress Miss Nora Kerin (1883-1970) as she appeared in the theatrical production of “The Prince and the Beggar Maid”. The actress is absolutely beautiful as is her costume. The play opened at the Lyceum in June of  1908 and ran for 82 performances. Miss Kerin played Princess Monica. The actress was born in London and her family was chock full of actresses including sister, Eileen Kerin and cousing Julia Neilson, Lily Hanbury, and Hilda Hanbury. Photographs of Miss Neilson and Mis Lily Hanbury can be found elsewhere in the Cabinet Card Gallery. Nora Kerin made her stage debut in 1899. In conducting my preliminary research about Nora Kerin, I was struck by the number of negative reviews of her acting that I encountered. One review concerned her performance as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”. The production was at the Lyceum Theater in 1908 and the review appeared in London’s “Daily Mail”.  The reviewer wrote “‘Oh, Juliet. Juliet, wherefore art thou Juliet?’ This is, of course, an inversion and a parody; but, seriously, the Juliet of Miss Nora Kerin cannot be taken so. She declaims in the conventional old-fashioned style. She somehow destroys – on the stage – her own personality, and instead of looking the pink of charm and youth (as she is when “taking a call”) she manages to conceal both. Many of her lines were badly spoken, falsely intonated and punctuated. She had moments … melodramatic outbursts … but she is not the personality … she has not the witching simplicity of the real Juliet”. Clearly, Miss Kerin was not a luminary actress of her time. However, she was quite pretty and fifteen portraits of her can be seen in the National Portrait Gallery. The photographer of this postcard image was Rita Martin, a celebrated female photographer. She is considered one of the best British photographers of her time.Her studio was in an exclusive neighborhood at  at 74 Baker Street, Marylebone. She was born Margareta Weir Martin in Ireland.  Margareta “Rita” Martin started her career in photography in 1897 by assisting her elder sister Lallie Charles in running her studio. In 1906 Rita opened her own studio. She had a style of photographing subjects in pale colors against a pure white background and she tended to avoid photographing men and older boys.  Rita had a specialty in photographing actresses including Lily Elsie and Lily Brayton. She was also well known for her child studies which often involved children of well known actresses. Lily’s sister, Lallie Charles was more known as an excellent society photographer. Many of Rita Martin’s photographs can be found in the National Portrait Gallery. A photograph of Rita Martin, by Rita Martin can be seen below. This vintage real photo postcard was produced by the Rotary Photo Company and was part of a series (no. 1796 Z).                                                                                                                 The second postcard portrait of Miss Kerin is also a good representation of her beauty. In addition she is wearing a beautiful lace dress and an extraordinary hat. The photographers of this terrific image, Foulsham & Banfield were well known celebrity photographers. Frank Foulsham and A. C. Banfield operated a studio in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. This postcard is part of the Rotary Photographic Series (no. 1796 H) and is of English origin and is postmarked 1907.                                                                                                        The third postcard features Nora Kerin in her role as Juliet in “Romeo and Juliet”. Unlike the first two portraits, in this image she is wering her hair down and is projecting an air of innocence through the placement of her hands and her vulnerable expression. Just like the top postcard, this image was photographed by Rita Martin and the postcard was part of the Rotary Photographic Series (1796 S) by the Rotary Photo Company. 

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REVERSE OF TOP POSTCARD

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                                                                                                                                                            by Rita Martin, sepia-toned matte postcard print, 1900s

 PORTRAIT OF RITA MARTIN BY RITA MARTIN 

 

 

 

 

THE “WILD MEN” OF PRAIRIE CITY, ILLINOIS

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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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PORTRAIT OF AN ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL AND HER HOOP TOY IN VIENNA, AUSTRIA

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This vintage photograph features an adorable little girl sitting on a wall and holding her hoop toy. She is wearing a cute dress and is wearing a bow in her long wavy hair. She is also wearing a wonderful smile. The photographer of this image is Marie Gleissner who operated a studio in Vienna, Austria. I was unable to find biographical information about the photographer. It is my assumption that the photographer is a woman (Marie). The photographer did an excellent job posing the little girl and produced a terrific image.

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Published in: on January 10, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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“LUCKY DOG” NESTLES INTO PRETTY WOMAN’S SHOULDER -1906 REAL PHOTO POSTCARD WITH MYSTERY MESSAGE

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This vintage real photo postcard features a very cute puppy nestling into the shoulder af an attractive young woman. The humorous caption under the photo states “Lucky Dog”. The photograph is credited to “The Photographic Company of America” which was based in Chicago, Illinois. The 1900 copyright of the image is registered to the Tonnesen Sisters., The photographer of this postcard’s image is quite well known and well respected. Beatrice Tonnesen (1871-1958) was an American artist and photographer based in Chicago from 1896 through 1930. She pioneered the use of live models in print advertising. In addition, her photos were widely used as calendar art. Her sister, Clara handled the business aspects of Beatrice’s studio. The message on the postcard was written by “Ernest” in 1906 while he was in Adrian, Michigan. The postcard is addressed to Miss Gertrude Butters of Millinucket, Maine, Ernest’s message is quite mysterious and could be used as a lead in a story of intrigue. He writes “Was all packed. Trunk at depot and was going to start this (Friday) morning for Dakota when I received word for Bureau to wait. I wonder if I am a _ _.” Wow! First of all it seems likely that Ernest worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Second, what was Ernest wondering about in regard to his orders to “wait”. Why didn’t he finish his last sentence of his message. This postcard is in very good condition and chock full of history and intrigue. 

LOVELY COUPLE IN CINCINNATI, OHIO (PHOTOGRAPHED BY EARLY FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER)

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A nicely dressed couple pose for their portrait at the studio of Mrs. Charles Waldack (Mary Tanner) in Cincinnati, Ohio. The gentleman’s pocket watch chain can be seen under his jacket and the woman is wearing a collar pin and necklace. The woman is displaying affection by resting her hand on the man’s shoulder. The photographer, Mary Waldack was born about 1849 in Harford County, Kentucky. Although Mary was quite talented, her husband garnered the most attention. Charles Waldack was born in 1828 in Ghent, Belgium. In 1866 he became well known for using magnesium and gunpowder to make the first underground photographs in America. He took these photographs at Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. The pictures were published as stereo cards by E. and H.T Anthony of New York. Charles pursued his photographic career in Cincinnati from 1854 until 1881. In addition, he contributed many articles to photographic literature. In 1881 he took a trip to his native Belgium. He left his wife in charge of his studio. He died a brief time later and Mrs. Waldack managed the business until at least 1893. Mary Waldack is a member of a small group of pioneering women photographers. To view other images by early female photographers click on the category “Female Photographers”.

Published in: on October 13, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A GENTLEMAN WITH AN INTERESTING BEARD IN GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN

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This cabinet card portrait features a well dressed handsome gentleman with a stylish mustache and beard. Men were more creative with their facial hairstyles during the cabinet card era compared to today. This gentleman’s mustache is incredibly thick and he is wearing his beard in a fashion that might be called “the billy goat” look. To view other interesting beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best). This photograph was taken by the Hamilton studio in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The Hamilton studio was located in Grand Rapids between 1886 and 1911. The studio was run by Daniel H. Hamilton (1836-1891) and his wife, Emma J. Hamilton (1852-1918). Daniel Hamilton was born in New York while his wife was born in Iowa. Their studio was at times single proprietor and at times run by a partnership. Daniel ran the studio between 1886 and 1896. Emma ran the studio between 1897 and 1907 and then again between 1909 and 1910. There were two partnerships in the studio’s history; Hamilton & Vancampen (1908) and Hamilton & Reingholtz (1911). Emma is listed in the 1900 US census as living in Grand Rapids with a housekeeper and a servant. Both Daniel and Emma are buried in Oakhill Cemetery in Grand Rapids.