PORTRAIT OF A YOUNG BOY IN MAINE BY A PHOTOGRAPHER WITH A BIZARRE STORY

This scallop-edged cabinet card features a young boy posing for his photograph at the Swan studio in Norway, Maine. Some may argue that the child is actually a girl. However, it was common for young boys to wear skirt type clothing and have long hair. John Wesley Swan (1857-?) appears in the 1884 Portland, Maine city directory as a photographer. The 1900 US census reveals that Swan was Canadian born and lived in Norway with his wife (Annie) and their two daughters. Swan married his wife in 1883. According to Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin (1900), Swan’s studio was destroyed by fire and he lost a large number of valuable negatives of scenery in the area of Norway. The journal also states that the “loss was large and the insurance is said to be small”. Swan was the official photographer of the Grand Trunk Railway system. He won a gold medal at the Paris Exposition according to Photo-Era magazine (1900). At one point in his career in Norway, Swan had a partner in his business (Swan & Cobb). John Wesley Swan was involved in a bizarre incident that made the annals of the history of Norway. The book,  “A History of Norway, Maine: From the Earliest Settlement to the Close of the Year 1922”, tells a  mysterious story about Mr. Swan. While on a trip to Boston in 1893, Swan disappeared for a period of about six months. The writer states that Swan “claimed to have been sand-bagged and robbed in Boston and when he partially recovered consciousness found himself in New Orleans”. His memory had “left him” and he wandered around until his memory returned while he was in Texas. Swan returned to Norway and explained his disappearance to his friends and family, and community. According to the writer, many doubted the validity of his explanation.

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Published in: on July 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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PORTRAIT OF A BEAUTIFUL MOTHER AND DAUGHTER IN BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA (BY FAMOUS PHOTOGRAPHER ROLAND REED)

 

This vintage photograph features a smartly dressed pretty woman with her adorable young daughter. The little girl’s expression is absolutely priceless. The photograph was taken by the Reed studio in Bemidji, Minnesota. Bemidji is a Ojibwe (Chippewa) word that means “a lake with crossing waters”. The town was chartered and organized in 1896. The town has been called the “curling capital” of the United States. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph has the name “Mary Keining”. This is probably the name of the mother in this portrait. The photographer of this photograph was a well known American artist and photographer named Roland (Royal Jr.) W. Reed (1864-1934). He was part of an early 20th century group of photographers of Native Americans known as pictorialists. The pictorialist movement was influenced by the 19th century art movement of Impressionism. The pictorialists emphasized lighting and focus. They tried to recreate images as they may have been rather than as it was. A group of pictorialists took photographs of Native Americans and Native American life as it was before the damage wrought on the culture by reservations. Roland Reed was born in Wisconsin. He grew up with a strong caring interest in Native Americans and a desire for adventure. His first job when he left home was working in a Minnesota sawmill. In 1885 he worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad and became familiar with the Plains Indians. He soon returned to Minnesota and used it as a home base for five years of exploration and adventure which included traveling to Tennessee, Arkansas, New Mexico, and finally Montana in 1890. He worked for the Great Northern Railway and utilized his artistic talent doing portrait sketches of Piegan and Blackfeet Indians as well doing landscape sketches and paintings. In 1893 he apprenticed with photographer Daniel Dutro in Havre, Montana. The pair eventually became partners in a studio and they also sold Native American photographs to the Great Northern Railway. For a short duration in 1897, Reed worked for the Associated Press in Alaska photographing the Klondike Gold Rush. He returned to Havre but in 1899 he opened a photo studio in Ortonville, Minnesota. He quickly developed a reputation for being an outstanding photographer of local landscapes and children. His business grew and he opened another studio in Bemidji. He frequently would leave his Bemidji studio to go photograph the Ojibwe Indians on nearby reservation. In 1907, he sold both of his studios and went to live near the Ojibwe Red Lake Reservation so he could focus on his work documenting Native Americans. He pursued this interest full time for two years. In 1909, Reed returned to Montana and opened a studio in Kalispell (the town near the western entrance of today’s Glacier National Park. He operated the studio there and also sold copies of his Native American photographs and Native American arts and crafts. While in Kalispell he spent six years on a major project of ph0tographing the Plains Indians, including the Blackfeet, Piegan, Boood, Flathead and Cheyenne. While in Montana he became part of the state’s community of artists. Included was western artist Charlie Russell. In 1913, Reed spent several months photographing the Navajo and Hopi in Arizona. That same year, Reed opened a branch of his photography studio in San Diego, California. After just a few years, he retired to Ortonville, Minnesota.  It didn’t take too long for wanderlust to set in. In 1916 he built a cabin near Cable, Wisconsin where he spent half his time between there and Ortonville. In 1920 he relocated to Denver, Colorado, where he opened a new studio and remained in business for seven years. In 1930 he retired again, this time to San Diego. During this time he worked on a book of his photographs titled “Reed’s Photographic Art Studies of the North American Indian”. While visiting Colorado Springs in 1934 he was killed in an accident. Reed’s work photographing Native Americans were funded by himself. He had little interest in having his photography utilized for advertising. He is known to have turned down an offer of fifteen thousand dollars for 200 negatives in order to ensure they would not be used commercially. In 1950, National Geographic Magazine licensed the rights to approximately forty of his photographs. A portrait of Roland Reed can be seen directly below.

PORTRAIT OF AN OLDER MAN WITH A NOTABLE BEARD IN ROME, NEW YORK

This cabinet card portrait features an older gentleman with an interesting “billy goat” beard. The Cabinet Card Gallery has an interesting collection of photographs of men with remarkable beards. You can access these images by clicking on the category “Beards and Mustaches (Only the Best)”.  This particular photograph was taken by photographer, Jonathan Millard Brainerd (1851-1926). Brainerd operated a studio in Rome, New York and was a friend of famed photography entrepreneur, George Eastman. Brainerd has another photograph in the Cabinet Card Gallery and you can see that image, as well as learn more about him, if you click on the category “Photographer: Brainerd”.

 

TWO COOL DANDIES HAVING SOME COOL BEERS

This vintage real photo postcard features two young men seated at a table having some beers. These guys seem relaxed and quite self assured. They are clearly not intimidated by the camera. The men are well dressed, one more formally than the other. They are wearing great looking hats. Take note of the urn under the table. I wonder if it has some meaning in this photograph or if it was just an available prop. It certainly looks out of place. The photographer, the studio, and the subjects are all unidentified.

 

 

 

Published in: on May 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  

PORTRAIT OF A FASHIONABLE YOUNG WOMAN (THE BUTTON LADY)

This cabinet card portrait features a well dressed young woman. She appears to be in her late teenage years. Her dress is adorned with an abundance of buttons as well as webbing and lace . She apparently liked jewelry as she is wearing a collar pin, a pin on her dress, and a couple of rings. She has very curly hair which she wears high on her head. She is displaying a half smile. The name of the photographer and the location of the studio are not listed on the photograph. This relatively close-up photograph has nice clarity and an unusual and interesting staging.

Published in: on May 17, 2017 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

YOUNG UKRAINIAN MAN WEARING A LEATHER JACKET AND CAP

 

This cabinet card image is highly unusual. I have seen few photographs from this era where the sitter is wearing a leather jacket. This young man is wearing a leather jacket and a cap. The way he is dressed suggests that he may have been a member of the military or the police. However, he is wearing no insignias or badges. The previous owner of this photograph reported that the image was purchased in the Ukraine. The cabinet card is of Russian origin but I can not confirm it is Ukrainian. If one looks at the reverse of the cabinet card inside the egg shaped oval design, one can see the word “Mockba”. This Russian word means Moscow and it is my hypothesis that the mount was produced there.

Published in: on March 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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PRETTY ITALIAN ACTRESS AND WRITER MARCELLA ALBANI

 

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Marcella Albani (1899-1959) was an Italian film actress that appeared in 50 films between 1919 and 1936. Albani was “discovered” by writer/director Guido Parish (Schamberg) when she was twenty years old. They became a very successful film couple until 1924 when they parted ways. Their movies were predominately tear jerkers and adventure stories. The actress also worked with other famous directors such as Joe May, Friedrich Zelnik, and Wilhelm Dieterle. Albani was a major star in the European cinema in the late 1920’s. Her films were made in five different European countries. Many of Albani’s roles were portraying elegant Latin beauties. She certainly looks elegant and beautiful in this postcard portrait. She is dressed exquisitely and her hat is a fashion statement in itself. At the advent of sound movies, Miss Albani turned to writing. One of her several novels was turned into a movie. She continued to act until 1936. Albani was married to director Mario Franchini in 1931. The top vintage real photo postcard is of German origin by Ross Verlag of Berlin. The postcard is part of a series (no. 1521/1). The photo is by Aafa film. According to one reliable source, the postcard was issued sometime between 1927 and 1928. The bottom postcard features a beautiful risque portrait of Miss Albani. The publisher of this postcard is also Ross Verlag of Berlin, Germany. The postcard is part of a series (no. 596/3). Printed on the postcard is the name “Albani Film”. The company was a film production and distribution firm and was active in 1934.

                                                          Reverse of Top Postcard

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PORTRAIT OF A WELL DRESSED SERIOUS OLDER WOMAN IN CAMDEN, MAINE

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This vintage photograph features a portrait of a striking well dressed older woman. She is wearing a fancy dress, a boa, and leather gloves. She is also wearing jewelry including a necklace, watch, and earrings. Note her pretty, but very busy, hat. The woman is also wearing a very serious expression. She does not seem to be having a lot of fun having her portrait taken The photographer of this image is William V. Lane (1849-1903). He operated a studio in Camden, Maine.  He came to Camden and opened his gallery in 1883. He also had a branch gallery in Vinalhaven, Maine.  He resided in Camden for 15 years; and then moved to Boston, Massachusetts. While in Camden, Lane was the Chairman of the Board of Assessors and in that capacity, he promoted a new opera house in town.  He also served as the President of the Business Men’s Association and had a one year stint as Road Commissioner. To view other images by William Lane, click on the category “Photographer: Lane”.  This vintage photograph measures 5″ x 7″.

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Published in: on February 18, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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PORTRAIT OF AN ADORABLE LITTLE GIRL IN ST. DENIS, FRANCE

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This carte de visite portrait features an adorable little girl holding a beach pail. Note the painting of a sailboat on the pail. She is wearing a dark dress with a white lace bib. She is wearing high top shoes. The little girl seems a bit intimidated by her photographic session. The photographer of this cdv image is R. Termoz and his studio was located in St. Denis, France. Saint-Denis is a town in the northern suburbs of Paris, France.

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Published in: on February 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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A PROFILE PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI (PHOTOGRAPHED BY A CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHER)

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This cabinet card photograph features a profile view of a pretty young woman. She is wearing a high collar blouse and jacket. The young lady’s hair is worn up in a sweep and she is wearing earrings. The photograph was produced by the Carpenter Photographic Rooms in Kansas City, Missouri. Marion S. Carpenter was a daguerreotypist in Dayton, Ohio in 1850. He than conducted his photography business in Cincinnati at the Palace Art Studio between 1857 and 1865. During the Civil War he was a staff photographer for the United States Government. He photographed Abraham Lincoln on three occasions. After the war he went to Kansas City, Missouri where he continued to operate a photography business. The Bulletin of Photography (1913) notes his passing at age 84 while living in Kansas City. The notification indicates that he was still actively involved in business in 1913, the year of his death.

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