CROWN PRINCE WILHELM AND PRINCESS CECILIE OF GERMANY (PRESS PHOTO)

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This vintage press photograph features Crown Prince Wilhelm and his wife, Crown Princess Cecilie. The photo was taken by George Grantham Bain in 1915 and it likely appeared in a number of newspapers.Some readers may be wondering about these Royals. Who are these people? Prince Wilhelm (1882-1951) was the last Crown Prince of Prussia and the German Empire. He married Duchess Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1886-1954) in 1905. The pair’s marriage wasn’t rock solid. The Crown Prince had affairs with both American opera singer Geraldine Farrar and dancer Mata Hari. The photographer of this photograph was a pioneer news photographer. George Grantham Bain (1865-1944) was a New York City photographer known as “the father of photographic news”. He was a chemistry graduate of St Louis University and also received a law degree there. He then became a reporter for two St. Louis newspapers in succession and one of his assignments was Washington DC correspondent. He then worked for United Press International and in 1898 started the Bain News Service. Forty thousand of Bain’s glass negatives are in the collection of the Library of Congress. This vintage press photo was published by the Bain News Service.
220px-Ggbain                                                 Photo of George Grantham Bain

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FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER SHOOTS FAMOUS POLITICIAN: PORTRAIT OF THEODOR TANTZEN BY CHARLES REUTLINGER (CARTE DE VISITE)

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This carte de visite image features German politician Theodor Johann Tantzen. The photographer who took this portrait of Mr. Tantzen was the celebrated photographer, Charles Reutlinger (1816-1881). Theodor Johann Tantzen (1834-1893) was from a political family in the Oldenburg State. His father was a member of parliament. Two of Theodor’s children became important political figures. His son, also named Theodor, became Prime Minister of Oldenburg. Tantzen’s grandson was philosopher Karl Jaspers (1883-1969). Theodor Tantzen grew up in Heering and at age twenty-one, he took over his fathers farm. In 1866 he was elected to the Oldenburg parliament. He remained in parliament for several terms and in fact died while still a parliament member. While in parliament he served in a number of other political roles. Now some words about the photographer. Charles Reutlinger was also part of a prominent and talented family. Charles Reutlinger was of German descent and founded the Reutlinger Photography Studio in Paris in 1850. The studio took photographs of many of the city’s rich and famous residents and visitors until 1937. The British Journal of Photography (1867) provides a wonderful description of Reutlinger’s studio. Charles’s brother Emile took over the studio in 1880 and he ran it until 1890. Emile’s son, Leopold took over in 1890 and among his accomplishments was that he developed the company’s esteemed and economically successful postcard business. The studio became known for it’s unusual art nouveau style of postcard designs. These were very notable in it’s portraits of actresses. Leopold also introduced risque/erotic postcards. He operated the business until losing an eye in an accident with a champagne cork in 1930. He died seven years later.

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WALTER Q. GRESHAM: CIVIL WAR HERO AND HOLDER OF TWO US GOVERNMENT CABINET POSITIONS (PHOTOGRAPH BY CELEBRATED PHOTOGRAPHER C. M. BELL)

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Walter Q. Gresham (1832-1895) was quite an accomplished man in both his military and his political careers. He was an American statesman and jurist. He held offices that included US Postmaster General, Judge on the US Court of Appeals, Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Treasury. He was a two time candidate for the Republican nomination for President (1884 and 1888). He also served as a Union officer in the American Civil War. He entered the army as a Lieutenant Colonel of the the 38th Indiana Volunteer Infantry. He was promoted to full Colonel and led the 53rd Indiana Infantry and took part in the fight for Vicksburg as well as other battles. In 1863 he was appointed Brigadier General and commanded Federal forces in Natchez, Mississippi. In 1864 he became a division commander under General Sherman during the Atlanta campaign. He was forced to leave the army after being shot in his knee; an injury that left him lame for the remainder of his life. He was married to Matilda McGrain in 1858. Gresham is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. The photographer of this historic cabinet card is C. M. Bell. Charles Milton Bell (1848-1893) was also an accomplished man. He was the youngest member of a family of photographers that operated a studio in Washington DC from around 1860 until 1874. He established his own studio on Pennsylvania Avenue in 1873. He quickly became one of the most successful photographers in the city. He was noted for his portraits of Native Americans as well as political figures and celebrities. His subjects included President Chester Arthur, Chief Yellow Bull, and Helen Keller. His photographs can be found in many prestigious institutions including The Library of Congress, Harvard University, Dartmouth University, and the Smithsonian. Bell is also known for his photographs of President Garfield’s assassin, Charles J. Guiteau. He was the only photographer authorized by Guiteau and the Government to take photographs of Guiteau and other people playing roles in his trial. Bell also took medical photographs relating to the assassination and assassin.

THE HONORABLE LORD ASHBOURNE: CHANCELLOR OF IRELAND AND FATHER OF THE WOULD BE ASSASSIN OF MUSSOLINI (CAB CARD)

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The London Stereoscopic Company produced this cabinet card portrait of the Honorable Lord Ashbourne. The title Lord Ashbourne was created in 1886 for Edward Gibson (1837-1913), the Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Gibson was appointed Ireland’s attorney general in 1877. His daughter, the honorable Violet Gibson (1876-1956) is known for her attempted assassination of Italy’s Benito Mussolini in 1926. She shot him three times while he sat in a car but merely lightly wounded him. After nearly being lynched by a mob, she was deported to England where she spent the rest of her life in a mental institution. An image of the verso of this cabinet card can be found below. The advertising reveals that the London Stereoscopic studio was photographer used by Britain’s royal family. It is also stated that the studio has won medals for photography in many cities throughout the world. It is also interesting to note that the advertising advises customers that free photography lessons, studios, and darkrooms were available to their clients. To view other images by the London Stereoscopic studio, click on the category “Photographer: London Stereoscopic”.

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KATE SHIPPEN ROOSEVELT: PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY HIGH SOCIETY WOMAN BY CELEBRATED PHOTOGRAPHER NAPOLEON SARONY

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It is not infrequent that a cabinet card presents an interesting mystery. This cabinet card, by celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony of New York City, conjures  up some fascinating questions. Is the woman in this photograph a member of one of America’s most famous political families? It is likely that the pretty woman with the dreamy gaze seen in this photo is a Roosevelt. Let me tell you a little about Kate Shippen Roosevelt (1855-1925). In 1883, Kate Shippen Roosevelt (1855-1925) was married to Hilborne Roosevelt who was a world famous organ maker. He had factories in New York City, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. His company made some of the finest and largest pipe organs in the world. He designed the first electric organ and he was a first cousin to President Theodore Roosevelt. Kate was the daughter of William W. Shippen who was the president of the Hoboken Land and Improvement Company and Hoboken Ferry Company. It is not a surprise that their wedding was called by the New York Times (1883) the event of the season. An article in Town Topic Journal of  Society (1883) announces that Kate Shippen Roosevelt would be performing a monologue and that she was one of the “best amateurs” engaged in such performances. Kate was also a well known women’s suffrage critic. She called suffragettes “soapbox militants”. Hillborne Roosevelt died in 1886 at age 37. He left his widow and three year-old daughter quite wealthy and they continued to be part of high society in New York City.  I believe that that the woman in this image is Kate Shippen Roosevelt because  1) the inscription on the reverse of the image is supportive (see below), 2) Mrs. Roosevelt was a member of society and Sarony was a society photographer, and 3) My research was unsuccessful to find another celebrity sharing the name “Kate Shippen”.  Unfortunately, I could not find a photo to confirm or disconfirm that the subject of this cabinet card portrait was Mrs. Roosevelt. The bottom image is the gravestone of Kate Shippen Roosevelt which is located at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

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CHARLES HENRY PARKHURST: CLERGYMAN, SOCIAL REFORMER, CROOKED POLITICIAN’S AND CORRUPT POLICEMAN’S NIGHTMARE (1892)

 

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Charles Henry Parkhurst (1842-1933) is the subject of these Cabinet Card photographs which are published by Newsboy. Photographer Napoleon Sarony has the 1892 copyright for the top photograph. The second photograph is marked “375” and is part of Newsboy’s tobacco premium series. Parkhurst was a clergyman and social reformer. He was a presbyterian minister and from 1874 until 1880, he was a pastor in Lenox, Massachusetts. He then became the pastor for Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City (1880-1919). During the year of this photograph, Parkhurst began giving tough sermons attacking the political corruption in the New York City government. This led to the exposure of the corruption in Tammany Hall and subsequent social and political reform. He had a special concern about the problem of prostitution in New York City’s tenderloin section. He hired private detectives to investigate the houses of ill repute and their police protection. Concerning the police, he said “while we fight iniquity they shield or patronize it; while we try to convert criminals, they manufacture them”. He took his concerns and investigative results to court on these matters. He was President of the New York Society for the Prevention of Crime and published numerous magazine articles and books. Parkhurst died tragically; while sleep walking he fell off the second story porch of his home.

LILLIAN RUSSELL: CELEBRATED AMERICAN ACTRESS AND SINGER

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Lillian Russell (1860-1922) is pictured in the top Cabinet Card photograph by famed New York celebrity photographer, Falk. Lillian Russell is captured in costume as she appeared in “Pepita” (1886). Russell was a very famous American actress and singer who was known for her beauty, style, voice and stage presence. Her theater career began with roles in comic operas including the work of Gilbert and Sullivan. She married composer Edward Solomon in 1884 and two years later, he was arrested for bigamy.  She performed in New York and elsewhere in starring roles in comic opera and musical theatre. In 1904 she switched to dramatic roles due to voice problems. She later also appeared in vaudeville. She retired from the stage in 1919. She later wrote newspaper columns, advocated for women suffrage, and was a popular lecturer.  She married four times and her longest marriage was to Diamond Jim Brady who supported her extravagant lifestyle for four decades. It is interesting to note that the New York Times (4/2/1886) reported that during the performance of “Pepita”, an opera by her husband, Edward Solomon; there were obvious signs of marital discord observed on stage. The newspaper blamed issues revolving around Russell’s interfering mother, as well as, issues pertaining to Russell’s sudden prosperity. The newspaper article correctly predicted that there would soon be a divorce. The second cabinet card, is also photographed by Falk. This photograph provides a close-up image of Lillian Russell and is a testimonial to her beauty. The third cabinet card was published by Newsboy and used by the tobacco company as a premium (#340). The photographer was Falk and the image was copyrighted in 1893. To view a collection cabinet cards by Falk; click on the category “Photographer: Falk”. The fourth cabinet card is another image produced by B. J. Falk. Miss Russell is in costume and is posed provocatively partially behind sheer lace. The fifth cabinet card, also by Falk, provides a terrific profile portrait of the beautiful Miss Russell.


US SUPREME COURT JUDGE, US SENATOR, AND CIVIL WAR COLONEL: MEET STANLEY MATTHEWS

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This cabinet card portrait features Stanley Matthews (1824-1889).  This image was produced by the Reynolds Photo Company of Chicago, Illinois, and shows Matthews wearing his judicial robe.  The photograph was part of the “Photo of Celebrities” series. Matthews served as a Supreme Court Justice from 1881 until his death. He was appointed by President James Garfield. At the time of his appointment he was a United States Senator from Ohio. Matthews was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Kenyon College and then practiced law in Ohio, and later on, in Tennessee. He was the editor of the Cincinnati Herald for two years. He served in the Ohio State senate and then became a US Attorney until 1861 when he resigned to become a Lieutenant Colonel in the 23rd Ohio Infantry. At the time that Matthews was appointed a Supreme Court Justice, his nomination passed Congress by just one vote. As a judge in the nation’s highest court, he wrote the decision in the Yick Wo vs. Hopkins case. Politicians in San Francisco had passed a law asserting that laundries could not be operated in wooden buildings without a special permit. This permit would be required in addition to the other permits already required. This new law  had much impact considering that ninety-five percent of the city’s laundries were in wooden buildings. Two thirds of these laundries were owned by Chinese businessmen. When the new permits were issued, all non Chinese owners received permits and all Chinese owners were denied the permits. Yik Wo continued to operate his laundry without the permit and was convicted, fined, and later jailed for refusing to pay the fine. His case rose up the hierarchy of courts until it reached the Supreme Court. In his decision, Matthews wrote that the permit statute was discriminatory and that the Chinese laundry owners were entitled to equal protection under the fourteenth amendment of constitution.

JOSIAH BENNETT: STATE SENATOR FROM MASSACHUSETTS

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This cabinet card features a portrait of Massachusetts Senator Josiah Bennett. His mustache is very notable and earns him a spot in the cabinet card gallery category “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. Be sure to check out the collection of extraordinary mustaches. This portrait was taken in 1885 by the Bushby & Macurdy studio located on Washington Street in Boston. Asa Bushby was born in South Danvers, Massachusetts in 1834. He was a self taught portrait painter and after returning from the Civil War, he became a photographer. He opened a studio in Peabody, and then moved to Lynn, and later to Boston, Massachusetts. At some point in his career, he partnered with George W. Macurdy. He is listed in the 1889 Boston business directory.  At the end of the 1880’s he moved to Tacoma, Washington and died there in 1897. Civil war buffs may be interested to know that Asa Bushby served in the 1st Regiment Massachusetts Heavy Artillery (company D). He entered, and later left the regiment as a private.  To view more photographs by Bushby & Macurdy, click on the category “Photographer: Bushby & Macurdy”. Josiah Bennett served as a state senator. He was served on a committee that addressed state prison issues. Hopefully, further research will yield more information about Mr. Bennett.

RUFUS B. COWING: NEW YORK CITY JUDGE AND WALL STREET LAWYER

This cabinet card portrait features Rufus Billings Cowing, New York City Judge and Wall Street lawyer. The photograph was published  by Fredricks whose studio was located at Broadway and Ninth Street in New York City, New York. The New York Times (1906) reported Judge Cowing’s retirement from the bench of the Court of General Sessions. He had served for 28 years and had been involved in some sensational criminal and political corruption cases. His career was intertwined with the history of New York City. After leaving the courts, he entered private practice by joining his son’s firm on Wall Street. Cowing was born in Jamestown, New York in 1840. Cowing’s father died when Cowing was just 5 years old. At age 12, he came to New York City where he attended boarding school until he entered the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn from which he graduated in 1861. Next, he clerked at a bank for a short while and then decided to enter a law career. He worked for and studied at a New York City law firm for about two years and then entered Harvard University’s Law School, graduating in 1865. He practiced law in New York City and got involved in politics. He had an unsuccessful run for an assembly seat in 1875. He ran as a Republican in a heavily Democratic district and nearly won. Cowing was married twice and had children from both unions. He was married to Hester Tugnot (1866) and Marie Ling (1901). Cowing died in 1920. Charles DeForest Fredricks, the photographer of this image, was a well known New York City photographer who was known to have photographed many celebrities during his career.