PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG CHILD AND HER CHINA HEAD DOLL IN GIRARD, ILLINOIS

This cabinet card portrait features an adorable little girl with a terrific smile. She is holding her china head doll. The close-up view of the child makes this image quite special. The photographer of this photograph was Fred Jorns who operated a studio in Girard, Illinois. Frederick W. Jorns (1857-1943) was once partnered with William L Harrod in operating a studio in Girard. In addition they operated the Jorns and Harrod Palace Art Car. This was a mobile studio that travelled the rails stopping in towns in Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. The studio car was pulled by an engine from the Cincinnati-Chicago and St. Louis Railroad. An 1892 photo of the studio rail car can be seen below. Fred is the gentleman wearing the suit. Jorn’s father, Gustav Jorns, immigrated from Germany in 1848. He married in 1856 and learned the photography business from his brother-in-law. Gustav established a photo studio in Springfield, Illinois. Gustav’s son, Fred learned the photography business from his father and set up his own studio in Girard. Fred married Lena Hann in 1884 and a portrait of the couple can be seen below.The couple travelled together on the Palace Art Car leaving their three children with relatives. Jorns sold his photography business around 1901 and became a grocer. He later resided in the Oklahoma Territory and then Houston, Texas. Please note the cabinet card portrait below which captures Fred Jorns reclining on a chaise. Initial research was unsuccessful in determining whether Fred Jorns operated his studio alone before he partnered with William Harrod or visa versa.

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PORTRAIT OF A WELL DRESSED MAN TAKEN IN A RAILROAD PHOTO CAR BY A CIVIL WAR VETERAN KNOWN TO BE “ECCENTRIC IN HIS HABITS”

A well dressed man poses for this cabinet card portrait taken by photographer J. B. Shane in a railroad photo car. The gentleman is dressed in his fancy clothes. He is wearing a suit with a vest and a pocket watch. He is also wearing a wide brim hat and is holding an umbrella.The photographer of this image is Captain James Boucher Shane (1840-1913). He earned the rank of captain in the Civil War where he served with distinction in the 16th Kentucky Infantry (Company D). He entered the Union Army as a Sergeant and mustered out as a First Lieutenant. After the war, he was promoted to Captain. It is my hypotheses that he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from his experiences in the war. My reasons for diagnosing him 104 years after his death will become apparent later in this story. After the war Capt. Shane moved his family to Abilene, Kansas. He tried his hand at a number of businesses including farming, In 1878, he moved to Lawrence, Kansas and operated a photo studio from a railroad car as well as studios in the town of Lawrence. In 1902 he was convicted of murder and was sent to the state penitentiary until his parole in 1912. Shane’s daughter, Juno Belle Shane, operated the studio after Shane went to prison. Her husband, Herbert Thompson eventually took over the business and renamed it to the Thompson studio.  The gallery continued to do business until 1953. A collection of Shane’s and Thompson’s papers and photographs are kept by the University of Kansas libraries. I was curious about the details of Shane’s crime and further research found details about his offense. The Journal of the Annual Encampment of the Grand Army of the Republic (1911) has a brief article about J. B. Shane. The journal explains that the Kansas Department of the GAR had proposed and passed a resolution to appeal to the Kansas Governor (W. R. Stubbs) to get Shane out of jail. The appeal was based on the fact that Shane was not allowed to testify on his own behalf during his trial. The appeal states that if he had been allowed to testify, charges would have been lowered to manslaughter, which had a shorter prison term than murder. He would have had to serve a maximum term of ten years for the lower charge. The appeal also explained the details of Shane’s crime. The article states that after the war, Shane had bad fortune in his photography business and became “eccentric in his habits”. It seems that the young boys in the town made sport of harassing Capt. Shane. They would annoy him by putting graffiti on his building and throwing sticks into his studio. The appeal declares that Shane was “a man of irritable temper” and reports that one day the boys threw sticks into his studio and Shane reacted by fatally shooting one of them. This occurred before the invention of the term “PTSD”, but rest assured that such a condition existed among the veterans of the civil war. It is likely that Capt. Shane was a victim of this disorder.

AN ADORABLE CHILD ON THE TRACKS: ELLA JOHNSON RIDES THE BOSTON RAILROAD

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An adorable little girl poses for her portrait as she rides the tracks of the Boston Railroad. The advertising below the image on the front of the card indicates that the photography car on the train is car number four. The expression on the child’s face is priceless. She is very photogenic and engaging. Her eyes are amazing. She is well dressed but not wearing anything too fancy. Note her high top shoes. The reverse of this cabinet card photograph has an inscription stating the child’s name as “Ella Johnson”. Below the name is the word “Blackfoot”. It is my hypotheses that Ella Johnson at some point in her life, lived in Blackfoot, Idaho, or Montana. The name “Ella Johnson” is much too common for me to do a successful genealogical search to learn more about this charming girl’s life. To view another cabinet card photograph taken in a Boston Railroad photographer’s car, click on the category “Railroad Photo Car”.

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Published in: on December 21, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG WOMAN IN A BLACK DRESS INSIDE A BOSTON RAILROAD PHOTO CAR

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Not all photographers of the cabinet card era worked out of brick and mortar photography studios that were situated in towns and cities. Some entrepreneurial photographers thought they had a better idea. These innovative photographers decided to take their studios to the public rather than wait for the public to come to them. Some photographers situated themselves on trains or steamboats while others packed up their studios and took them on the road (via wagon) from town to town. This cabinet card portrait was taken on a studio car attached to a Boston Railroad train. The photograph features a young woman in a dark dress posing next to an ersatz rock. Note the interesting image found below. The photograph comes from the website “Luminous Lint”. The image was taken around 1905 and it shows a group of people in front of a railroad photographic gallery. This train car studio was photographed while in Temple, Oklahoma.

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Published in: on April 7, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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