This photographic portrait features a pretty young lady posing for her portrait at the Flagg and Plummer gallery in Lewiston, Maine. The subject has quite the sour expression on her face. She looks exasperated, as if she has spent more time and effort at the photographer than she cared to. A pencilled inscription on the reverse of the photograph reveals that the Flagg and Plummer studio was the successor to the Curtis and Ross studio. The notation also discloses that the young woman in this photograph was named Florence L. Bisbee and that the image was produced in 1899. According to the U.S. Census of 1900, Florence Bisbee was born in 1877 and lived in Auborn, Maine. She lived with her father (Byron), mother (Adiline), and two older brothers. Florence worked as a dry goods clerk, her father was a grocery clerk, and her brothers worked as shoe cutters. By the 1910 census, Florence was employed as shoe stitcher and in the 1920 census she was still living with her parents at the age of forty-three. The 1930 census found her as a head of household and living with an older woman. She was still a shoe stitcher. Very little information could be found about this photographs creators. The Flagg and Plummer studio is mentioned in an article in The Bulletin of Photography (1915) concerning the formation of an advertising group of photographers.
This Cabinet Card appears to be a wedding portrait. The bride looks beautiful in her bow plagued gown. Her feathered hat is terrific. The groom seems to be a bit older than the bride. Perhaps he lied on match.com about his age. Hopefully someone knowledgable about wedding gowns of this period can opine about whether this is a wedding portrait. The photographer is H. Seymour Squyer of Auburn, New York. Could the signature on the bottom of the cabinet card be less legible? Research relied on his address to identify him. In 1893, Squyer won an Eastman Prize that was listed in the American Journal of Photography. In 1900, he was cited as a leading expert in legal photography by the Archives of Neurology and Psychopathology. He was the legal photographer for the New York Prison System and involved in innovative work to improve the value of photography for identification of prisoners. Squyer’s photograph of Harriet Tubman is in the Smithsonian Art Portraiture Gallery.