This vintage photograph features a woman who seems intent on making a fashion statement. Unfortunately, it is difficult to interpret the message she is trying to deliver. Certainly she is dressed in a very feminine manner. Some may argue that her attire is very juvenile. The bows on her shoes and her large and frilly bonnet might be expected to be seen on a little girl rather than someone this woman’s age. The woman in this photograph displays an air of confidence and a tight smile. She has a long braid hanging down to her waist decorated by a hair bow. She is holding a fan and wearing a beaded necklace and a bracelet. Perhaps the most striking aspect of this photograph is the pattern on the woman’s dress. The dress has a pattern that consists of five-pointed stars. These stars may have some meaning. Historically five pointed stars have been associated with certain religious, cultural, and fraternal groups. This vintage photograph was taken by a studio located on Strand Avenue in New York City.

Published in: on April 1, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  


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This cabinet card portrait of a pretty teenage girl is by esteemed Chicago photographer John Kimball Stevens. A number of photographs by Stevens can be viewed in the cabinet card gallery by clicking on the category “Photographer: Stevens”. Stevens operated his gallery out of the McVicker’s Theatre building. The young woman in this photograph is bright eyed and has a terrific pleasant expression. She is clearly holding back a smile. She apparently liked jewelry as evidenced by her interesting necklace, collar pin, and earrings.

A visitor to the Cabinet Card Gallery, named Jon, left a comment indicating that he had found a cabinet card image at a flea market that appeared to be the same woman as the one pictured above.He was kind enough to send a copy of the image that he found (see the image below). I definitely see the similarity in appearance that Jon is referring to. However, the woman in the top cabinet card has a rounded face and springy curls while the woman below has an oval face with thick tight curly hair. In addition, their eyes and smiles are vastly different. Both photographs were taken by the Stevens Gallery which was quite prolific. It is no surprise that they likely had many instances of photographing people that had similar appearance. Thank you Jon for sharing the photograph and your observations.
Reader photo sent Stevens

Published in: on March 26, 2017 at 7:15 am  Comments (7)  
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This tintype portrait features two well dressed young women wearing fancy hats. The ladies are quite pretty. They are well adorned with jewelry. They seem unusually relaxed while having their photograph taken. I would love to know their story. This image is the second tintype to appear in the Cabinet Card Gallery. A tintype, also known as ferrotype, is a photograph made on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel. They were very popular during the 1860’s and 1870’s.

Published in: on March 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  


I do not think it is an exaggeration to state that the young woman seen in this cabinet card portrait, is exquisitely beautiful. She is well dressed and well coiffed. She has lace at her collar and at the bottom of her sleeves. Her hair was meticulously prepared for this portrait. She is wearing star earrings and a ring. She is holding a folded fan decorated with feathers. John L. McCormick and his partner Sumner B. Heald (1835-1900) operated the Boston studio that produced this excellent portrait. Both McCormick and Heald are no strangers to the Cabinet Card Gallery. The two photographers have a number of photographs in the gallery that can be accessed by placing their last name in the site’s search box. Take a look at their work and learn a little bit more about McCormick and Heald. Interestingly, Heald supervised the portrait studio operated by famed Boston photographer, George K. Warren (1824-1884). Warren also has a large presence in the Cabinet Card Gallery. Heald oversaw the celebrity and theatrical portraits produced by the Warren Studio.





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″.


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




This cabinet card portrait features a lovely young woman holding an open book or magazine. She is nicely dressed and has accessorized herself with a bracelet, collar pin, and broach. She is displaying what appears to be a half smile. This photograph was taken at the Hardy Studio in Boston, Massachusetts. Amory Nelson Hardy (1835-1911) was born in Cumberland, Maine. He was married to Angeline Davis (1833-1920). In the beginning of his photography career he worked in Bucksport, Maine. He then moved to Boston and had a studio on Washington Street (1868, 1879-1887) and Winter Street (1873-1878). These dates are only a partial representation of his career. This photograph was taken at the Washington Street studio. To view other photographs by Hardy, click on the category “Photographer: Hardy”.


Published in: on February 2, 2017 at 10:01 pm  Comments (1)  
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This vintage photograph features a portrait of a pretty young woman wearing a lace collar and lace bib. Note her collar pin and her lovely eyes. This photograph comes from the studio of George F. Riel of Chicago, Illinois. He was a talented photographer. You can make your own judgement about his talent by clicking on the category “Photographer: Riel”. You will be able to view more of his images and learn more about him.

Published in: on January 20, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card portrait features a lovely young woman with curly hair. She is wearing a ribbon around her neck as well as earrings and a collar clasp. The photographer’s use of lighting makes this image notable. The dark background against the woman’s white clothing makes a contrast which highlights the portrait. The young lady sort of “pops out” of the darkness. The photographer of this photograph is L. V. Newell & Company. The studio was located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. To learn more about Mr. Newell and to view more of his images, click on the category “Photographer: Newell”. His other work in the Cabinet Card Gallery also demonstrates his mastery of lighting and his ability to create crisp and clear images.


Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The young woman featured in this cabinet card portrait isn’t just another pretty face. She is also cerebral. Her pose indicates that she’s deep in thought. She is reasonably well dressed and wearing a necklace, ring, and a pair of earrings. Wearing all that jewelry when your standing next to a bale of hay seems a bit incongruent, but at least she is holding a handkerchief to wipe away sweat from any farm yard labor she may encounter. This cabinet card was produced by Pearson & Nesbit who operated a studio in Des Moines, Iowa. Research revealed a tragic story associated with one of these photographer partners, Oliver E. Pearson (1857-1896). The website iowaunsolvedmurders.com features an article providing details of Mr. Pearson’s murder. Nancy Bowers is the author of the article. Pearson was pushed from a height at his studio in Des Moines.  The motive for his murder was related to a business dispute. First, some biographical details about Mr. Pearson. As a boy, Oliver Pearson showed much interest and talent for drawing and photography. After high school he obtained a two year apprenticeship with Des Moines photographer George Washington Stiffler. By 1880, Pearson established his own gallery which he named Pearson’s Portraits. In addition to being a talented photographer, he also drew. Some of his art and photos were entered and won honors in art competitions. His most noted photo was that of a small dog named “Doc”. This dog was the mascot of the 23rd Iowa Infantry regiment during its participation in the civil war. In 1895, Pearson joined brothers Charles F. and Henry W. Wilcox in a business deal. Henry sold ads for a local newspaper while Charles managed the Iowa Historical Illustrative Company. The pair published the “Des Moines Illustrated Souvenir”, an elaborate pictorial volume that celebrated the people and the city of Des Moines. A page in the book was devoted to Pearson. The text begins by praising him and his work but than the writer began to denigrate him. For example, some of his work “bearing his name do not do him credit as they were made by his assistants”. It seems that there was some trouble between Pearson and the Wilcox brothers. Just months after the publication of the volume, the Wilcox brothers climbed the outside steps to enter Pearson’s second floor gallery. Pearson was the only one in the gallery to greet his visitors. The reason for the visit and what exactly happened is unknown. However, witnesses did view the end of the meeting because a pushing and shoving match occurred on the second floor landing outside the photography studio (see photo below). Oliver Pearson was seen falling over the railing down to the concrete below. He fractured his skull in the fall and witnesses carried him home and called for medical assistance. Pearson died from his injuries. Charles and Henry Wilcox were immediately arrested. The businessmen and other associates of Pearson were in an uproar about his violent demise. He was a well liked and well connected citizen. His family received much support from the community. The Des Moines Daily News reported that it was amazing that angry community members didn’t raid the jail and lynch the Wilcox brothers. What caused Pearson’s murder? Some local papers reported that the brothers had gone to visit Pearson because the photographer believed that the pair owed him money and they wanted to settle the matter. The Des Moines Daily News interviewed the brothers who claimed that Pearson started the violence and that he had lost his balance, slid down the rail and fell off the landing. Although the coroner believed that Pearson was murdered, a grand jury did not indict the Wilcox brothers due to lack of evidence. The jury could not rule out that his death may have been accidental. Pearson left behind his wife Susie and three young daughters. His widow sued the Wilcox brothers for twenty-five thousand dollars but lost the case. Research concerning Carroll E. Nesbit (1859-1949), Pearson’s partner in the studio that took this cabinet card photograph, tells a pretty tame story compared to Pearson’s sensational story. Nesbit appears in the 1880 US census as a young photographer working in Des Moines. His name also appears in several Des Moines business directories as late as 1903. By 1910 he had moved to South Hood River, Oregon where he worked as a farmer. The 1940 US Census also finds him farming in Oregon. Upon Nesbit’s death, he was buried in Idlewild Cemetery in Hood River.

 oliver-pearson-6th-and-walnut1                                                                                                 Second Floor Landing: Site of Pearson’s Murder