PORTRAIT OF A SOUTHERN GENTLEMAN IN LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY

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This cabinet card photograph features a portrait of a southern gentleman. He is finely dressed and holding his hat in his hand. He is wearing a stylish beard and mustache. His facial expression communicates arrogance. The photography studio that produced this image is the Johns & Faught studio of Lexington, Kentucky. The cabinet card gallery has other photographs by this studio and they can be seen by clicking the category “Photographer: Johns & Faught” or by placing the studio’s name in the search box. If you view the other photographs you will note that this studio does an outstanding job with their portrait photography. In the book “History of Fayette County, Kentucky” (1882) it is stated that W. E. Johns was born in Lexington in 1843. He began his photography business in Lexington in 1870 and by 1876 opened a new studio at the address (56 East Main Street) where he photographed this cabinet card. By at least 1886, James Faught worked for Johns as an operator in his studio. At a later date, the pair became partners in the business.

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Published in: on November 29, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF A HANDSOME HISPANIC OR MEDITERRANEAN YOUNG MAN (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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This vintage real photo postcard features a handsome ethnic looking young man posing for his portrait at an unidentified private photo studio. Perhaps the man is of Hispanic or Mediterranean origin. The gentleman is well dressed and gives the appearance of being a businessman. His facial expression exudes self assurance. This photo postcard certainly evokes a number of unanswerable questions. The postcard’s stamp box indicates that it was printed on Artura card stock sometime between 1908 and 1924. Residue on the reverse of the postcard reveals that it once was a resident of a photo album.

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Published in: on October 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TWO YOUNG DANDIES WITH TERRIFIC HATS (VINTAGE REAL PHOTO POSTCARD)

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Two dandies pose for their photographic portrait at an unidentified studio. They are wearing wonderful hats and both of the men are flashing half smiles. The postcard has a CYKO stamp box revealing that it was published between 1906 and 1915. 
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Published in: on October 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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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A GENTLEMAN WITH A TERRIFIC MUSTACHE IN ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA

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A well dressed man poses for his portrait at the studio of R. W. Loucks in St. Paul Minnesota. He is wearing a wide neck tie with an even wider knot. The gentleman has a wonderful well groomed mustache. He is displaying a serious demeanor as he poses for this cabinet card image. The Minnesota Historical Society’s directory of early Minnesota photographers reveals that R. W. Loucks worked as a photographer in Minnesota during the 1890’s and 1900’s. His St. Paul addresses included 405 Wabasha (1893-1894) and 225 East Seventh (1897). He also had studios in Minneapolis; 1221 Washington Avenue North (1898-1902) and 28 Central Avenue (1903). This information asserts that the above photograph was taken during 1893 or 1894. Mr. Loucks appears in the 1900 US census. From this document we learn that he was born in Canada in 1850 and immigrated to the US in 1887. He was married to Anna L Loucks in 1877 and at the time of the census, lived with their twelve year old daughter named Lillian.

 

Published in: on August 1, 2016 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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THREE FASHIIONABLE MEN AND THEIR HATS

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This vintage real photo postcard features three fashionable men and their hats. These guys appear to be dressed for a special occasion. The men are smiling for the photographer, not a common sight in many portraits of this era. What era, you may ask? The answer lies in noting that the AZO stamp box indicates that the postcard was published sometime between 1904 and 1918. The names of these men and the identity of the photographer are lost to history.

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Published in: on July 8, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  

PORTRAIT OF EDWIN PHELPS IN ROME, NEW YORK AND THE EASTMAN KODAK CONNECTION

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An inscription on the reverse of this cabinet card portrait reveals that the subject’s name in Edwin Phelps. The photograph was taken at the Brainerd Photo Company in Rome (Oneida County), New York. Preliminary research tells us a little bit about Mr. Phelps. He was born in Oneida County in 1829. He was married to Amanda Howard (1832-1904). The 1880 census indicates that the couple had three sons living at home with them. He worked as a carpenter during at least four decades.  He died in 1902 in Baltimore, Maryland and is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Camden (Oneida County), New York. The images seen below include a portrait of Phelps taken at a later date than the portrait seen above, and a photograph of Phelps’s gravestone. The photographer that produced this image is Jonathan Millard Brainerd (1851-1926). Brainerd was born in Oneida, New York. After finishing school, Brainerd began working for photographer H. Hovey and after two years the two men became partners in a firm named appropriately Hovey & Brainerd. The business partnership lasted ten years until Brainerd bought out Hovey. Brainerd was married to Sarah C. Knight in 1874. Brainerd’s studios included locations in Rome (112 West Dominick Street) and in Oneida (28 Main Street). He had an interest in public service which is reflected in the three years that he spent as an alderman and his position as treasurer of State Custodial Asylum. He died in Utica, New York and is buried in Rome Cemetery in Rome, New York. His obituary appeared in the Rome Sentinel (1926) and the article included an interview with his colleague, photographer Betty Filchard. She noted that Brainerd was a friend of the famed photography entrepreneur George Eastman, one of the founders of Eastman Kodak. She stated that Brainerd was a genius and had invented a new camera shutter that Eastman had patented under his own name and “broke Jonathan’s heart”.

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                                                                                                                               LATER PORTRAIT OF EDWIN PHELPS

 

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                                                                                                                                     GRAVESTONE OF EDWIN PHELPS

 

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                                                                                                                           PORTRAIT OF JONATHAN MILLARD BRAINERD

 

 

Published in: on June 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A VERY FASHIONABLE GENTLEMAN IN BUFFALO, NEW YORK

 

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The gentleman in this vintage photograph looks like he just walked off the page of an issue of Gentleman’s Quarterly. His jacket is buttoned with only the top button and he is wearing a wide tie and pocket handkerchief. Note the watch chain under his jacket as well as the boater hat and cane that he is holding. The photographer of this image is Andrew Simson (1837-1922). He emigrated to Buffalo at the age of 11 from Germany. At the beginning of his career he had a partner and the name of their firm was Upton & Simson. Simson had a number of  “claims to fame”. In 1901 he was an accredited photographer at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo. He also is known for training Howard D. Beach (1867-1954). Beach was a great talent who worked in several disciplines. He was a portrait photographer, inventor, scientist, poet, lecturer and photo/art critic. He partnered with with Beach in 1896 (Simson & Beach) and in 1900 purchased Beach’s interest in the studio. Research revealed that Beach was considered the major photographer in Buffalo in regard to serving the “most cultured” citizens of the city. This photograph is not the same size as a cabinet card. It measures about 4 x 7 1/4 and is known as a “Promenade Card”.  The printed word “Promenade” can be seen in the center of the bottom border of this image.

Published in: on May 9, 2016 at 6:09 pm  Leave a Comment  
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DISTINGUISHED LOOKING ELDER GENTLEMAN IN ST. CLOUD, MINNESOTA

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This fabulous cabinet card portrait features a very distinguished older gentleman sitting in a chair and holding what appears to be a cane. He is well dressed and sporting a thick mustache and relatively long beard. The photograph was taken by the Hill studio which was located in St. Cloud, Minnesota. There is no information on the reverse of the photograph so the address of the photographer and the identity of the subject is unknown. There were three photographers named Hill in St. Cloud during the cabinet card era. Joseph Hill (1820-1892) was Irish born and began his photography career in St Paul, Minnesota (1858-1867). He later operated studios in St. Peter & Anoka (1878-1879), Brainerd (1881), St. Cloud (1868-1869, 1880-1889). Joseph Hill’s son took over the St. Cloud studio. His son was Eugene S. Hill (1856-1936) and records indicate he took over the studio in 1883. A third photographer in St. Cloud during the 1880’s was someone named M. Hill. It is unknown to me whether he was part of Joseph and Eugene’s family. Whichever “Mr. Hill” took this photograph, it is a beauty. The photograph measures about 3 3/4 ” x 8″.

Published in: on April 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF A VERY HANDSOME YOUNG MAN IN HINTON, WEST VIRGINIA

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A handsome young man poses for his portrait at the Hinton Photo Company in Hinton, West Virginia. The fellow looks quite dapper with his fine suit, bow tie, and nicely groomed mustache. The name of the photographer who operated the studio is unknown as is the year the photograph was taken. However, it is known that this type of photograph would have been taken shortly after 1900. Several photographs by the Hinton Photo Company can be found in the library historical collection at West Virginia University. The reverse of this photograph (see image below) possesses a ghost image of a woman in a fancy dress.

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Published in: on April 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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