A handsome young man preens for the camera at the Ramsdell & Halloran studio in Bangor, Maine. Writing on the reverse of the photograph is not totally legible but appears to state “Board of Editors” and “Kallour” or Kallow”. Despite the written clues on the reverse of the photograph, research did not uncover any information pertaining to this gentleman’s identity. Investigating did reveal that one of the photographers of this image was female. Miss Emily I Ramsdell (1856-1917) appears in the 1880 census as living with her parents in Atkinson, Maine and working as a school teacher. Examining several Bangor city directories reveals that she was employed as a photographer as early as 1892 and as late as 1914. The 1887 through 1899 directories show that she was partnered with Thomas F. Halloran. The Bulletin of Photography (1917) reports her death at age sixty-one.
This cabinet card is a wedding portrait of a young unidentified couple. The bride is wearing a dark wedding dress and a long sheer veil. The groom is standing in the background behind the bench his bride is sitting on. The distance between the two removes the intimacy that we tend to see in modern day wedding portraits. The photographer of this image is Miss Carrie B. Clizbe whose studio was located in Elroy, Wisconsin. She is one of a small group of female photographers operating during the cabinet card era. Research revealed very little information about Carrie Clizbe’s career as a photographer. The 1880 US census found Carrie (age 21) living with her parents and four siblings in Reedsburg, Wisconsin. Carrie was working as a “tailoress”. Her father had an interesting occupation. He sold patents. The 1900 and 1910 census does not list her as having an occupation. While investigating, I was able to locate a cabinet card produced by the Clizbe Sisters studio in Reedsburg. It is apparent that Carrie was once partners with her sister Martha. A directory of Early Western Photographers reports that Carrie’s studio operated in Elroy circa 1895. The web site for Reedsburg provides a short biography of the man that Carrie Clizbe married on 7/4/1900. Herbert H. Webb and two partners established a department store in Reedsburg called Webb and Schweke. It was known as ‘The Big Store”. Carrie died in 1921 in the city of Chicago. She is buried in Reedsburg.
A young boy dressed in a double breasted jacket and wearing a tie poses for this portrait by Miss Libby of Norway, Maine. Minnie Libby (1863-1947) had a sixty year business career in Norway, Maine. She was a very able photographer and also an eccentric. She was the daughter of a Maine born blacksmith who was also a carriage maker and dealer. The 1880 census lists her at age sixteen as being an artist. She was sent to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and developed an interest in photography. She worked as a studio photo retoucher while living in Boston. In 1882 she worked as a photo retoucher at the Anthony Crockett Picture Studio in Norway. In 1885 her father constructed a building to house her first studio. By the 1890’s Miss Libby was quite successful. In 1905 her father helped her buy a new studio which caused some controversy in the town of Norway. The seller of the building neglected to tell his tenant, a photographer, that the building was sold. The tenant photographer took ads out in the local paper denouncing the underhanded business practices of Miss Libby who ultimately occupied the building. Miss Libby’s response to the ads was to take out her own ads in which she said that she would use the advertising space to talk about her business, and not to make misleading statements about her competitors. In 1940, Life Magazine discovered Miss Libby. They did a feature on her life as a photographer, both past and present. Minnie Libby also produced oil paintings while working as a photographer. She was a talented artist and did many paintings of plants and flowers as well as landscapes. The Life Magazine article describes Miss Libby’s appearance. She most often wore knickers, men’s shirts, and a flowing bow tie. She was also described as a “first class photographer”. To view other photographs by Miss Libby, click on the category “Photographer: Libby”.
This cabinet card features a bust portrait of a young woman. This is likely an early image from the cabinet card era. The photographer of this image is “Mrs. Barker” of Gardiner, Maine. Research found very little information about this pioneer female photographer. The 1880 United Startes census reveals that Julia R. Barker lived in Gardiner, Maine and worked as a photographer. Her husband, Eugene Barker, was employed as a railroad engineer. Both were 35 years old at the time of the census.
The subject of this portrait is Charlotte Casterline of Hammondsport, New York. Her name is pencil written on the reverse of the photograph along with the initials “G. S. N. S.”. The image is dated “1898”. The photographer of this portrait is Ada Houseknecht of Batavia, New York. Research found a cabinet card photographed by Houseknecht Brothers studio located at 106 Main Street in Batavia. The studio was active from 1880 until 1949. A separate investigation revealed that Batavia was the home of a studio operated by Beecher (1858-1930) and Ada Houseknecht (1871-?). Beecher went to work for photographer William Wilson in 1880 and bought out the studio. Ada started as a photo retoucher but became a full time photographer with her husband, Beecher. She was one of the first female professional photographers in the state of New York. She took over the studio when Beecher died in 1930. Little could be discovered about Charlotte Casterline. The 1899 Annual Report of the Superintendent (New York) notes that Charlotte graduated from the Normal School in Geneseo, New York. She was 0ne of the few students in the school who majored in science. After completing some research about Miss Casterline, it seems likely that this photograph was taken at her graduation from the Geneseo State Normal School (G. S. N. S. ?).
A young woman poses for the camera at the studio of Arthur & Philbric in Detroit, Michigan. She is wearing an unusually loud patterned blouse. Note the subjects fingerless gloves and collar pin. The Arthur & Philbric Studio had galleries in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as in Toledo, Ohio. Research revealed some information about James Arthur (1855-1912). He was a native of Montreal, Canada and first began work as a photographer with the well known J. and J. W. Notman studio. He came to Detroit in 1881 and went to work with photographer J. E. Watson. In 1883 he became senior partner in the firm of Arthur & Philbric and they remained in business together for eight years. He then became sole proprietor of a firm called Arthur Studios. Research also yielded information about Philbric. Most notable is that Philbric was a woman. Her name was Helen M. Philbric and her name appears in Michigan business directories as Arthur’s partner between 1884 and 1893. No other information about Philbric was discovered. To view the work of other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.
ATTRACTIVE AND FASHIONABLE COUPLE IN LOWELL, MASSACHUSETTS (FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER WITH PHOTOGRAPHIC GENES)
An attractive and fashionable couple stand in front of the camera in this portrait by Duclos. The gallery was located in Lowell, Massachusetts. The couple in this photograph are very well dressed and likely affluent. The couple are unidentified. This is a lovely image but there was an error made in setting up the couple’s pose. Take a close look and see if you can find the photographer’s mistake. I will describe the error in the second-to-last sentence of this paragraph. There is only sketchy information about the photographer of this image. However, the information is pretty amazing. An article in the Nashua Telegraph (1909) is entitled “DUCLOS FAMILY OF PHOTOGRAPHERS: THREE GENERATIONS OF PICTURE TAKERS”. The story reveals that the family of Mr and Mrs Alphonse Duclos of Lowell,was a family of photographers. Both father and mother were photographers and each of their six children “have charge” of photography studios. Each of the married children were married to photographers and the one and only grandchild (age 12) was considered a prodigy photographer. The article reports where each of the members of the Duclos family worked as photographers. Sadie Duclos is the family member who operated studios (2) in Lowell. When setting up the pose and while photographing this image, Sadie did not notice one of the woman’s shoes sticking out from under her dress. To view the work of other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.
A handsome young couple pose for their portrait at the Reed photography studio in Quincy, Illinois. This unidentified endearing couple are nicely dressed, and the woman is wearing a necklace. Advertising on the bottom of the front of the cabinet card indicates that Reed operated a branch studio in La Grange, Missouri. To view other couple portraits, click on the category entitled “Couples”. Candace McCormick Reed (1818-1900) was born in Crab Orchard, Tennesee and moved to Missouri as a young girl. In 1842, she married Warren Reed, a photographer. The couple left Missouri and relocated to Quincy, Illinois, and established a daguerreotype gallery in 1848. Warren Reed died in 1858 and Candace Reed became the gallery owner and photographer. She quickly sold the gallery and opened a new gallery which she named the “Excelsia Gallery”. Candace’s sister, Miss Celina McCormick, worked as an assistant in the studio. At times, Candace worked under the name of Mrs W A Reed or Mrs Warren Reed. She kept her gallery up to date technologically and she was especially gifted in the art of painting photographs. She was known for her talent in enlarging old photographs and retouching them in crayon, oil, watercolor, and India ink. Candace was able to financially support her two children and mother-in-law, with proccds fro the business. Candace was admirably very civic minded. She established a support organization for soldiers and their families during the civil war. The group was called the “Sisters of the Good Samaritan”. She also served as a nurse in Union Army hospitals in Nashville, Chattanooga, and Vicksburg. While she was volunteering for the Union effort, she left her gallery in the care of her brother, who was also a photographer. After the war, Candace operated the Quincy gallery, and also ran galleries in Missouri. The galleries were located in the towns of Canton, La Grange, and Palmyra. Candace Reed’s Quincy gallery was in busines between 1848 and 1888.
This cabinet card is a portrait of a middle aged man with a wonderful mustache and beard. The Cabinet Card Gallery has a collection of interesting facial hair cabinet cards which can be visited by clicking on the categories of “Beards (Only the Best)” and “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. The photographer of this image is Louis Bergman, whose studio was located at 56 & 58 Market Street, in Louisville, Kentucky. Perusal of Louisville business directories reveals that Bergman began business with a partner. Bergman & Flexner; the firm was listed in the 1868 and 1869 directories. He was reported to be the sole proprietor of a studio from 1872 until 1886. Bergman was listed at a number of different addresses over these years. Using these addresses, it appears that this particular photograph was taken between 1873 and 1881. From 1886 through 1894 the proprietor of the studio became Caroline Bergman. The Photographic Times and American Photographer (1883) reported that Bergman was Vice President of the Photographers Mutual Benefit Society of Louisville. Louis Bergman (c1838-?) was born in Hanover, Germany to Prussian parents. His wife, Carrie (!845-?) was born in Louisiana to German parents. The couple married in about 1865. The Bergman’s had a daughter, Lillie, who was 12 years-old at the time of the 1880 census. The census listed Louis as a photographer and Carrie as a homemaker. It is interesting to note that when the couples daughter reached 18 years of age, Carrie became the studio’s proprietor/photographer.
This cabinet card features an attractive young woman posed holding a book. The woman is nicely dressed and has a lovely figure. Her great figure is, no doubt, assisted by her tight corset. The book she is holding is entitled “Grifting“. The definition of grifting is “engaging in petty swindling”. What is a nice girl like the girl in this image doing with such a sensational book? The most likely reason she has possession of that particular title is that; it was there in the studio. The book likely belonged to the photographer. 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. A couple of interesting questions about this photograph remain unanswered. Is the subject of this photograph someone famous in society or the performing arts? Who was the photographer, was it Aimee Dupont, or his wife, Etta?