This cabinet card portrait features two young African American children sharing a large chair while posing at a photography studio in Denver, Colorado. The Beebe studio was located on Arapahoe Street within the mile high city. The children are adorable. They are looking at the photographer with bright and wide open eyes. One wonders how the youngest child is being held into the chair. Perhaps there is a brace attached to seat so that the baby doesn’t get injured due to falling or sliding onto the floor. In many cabinet card photographs of children this youngster’s age, there is a hidden parent under some fabric holding the child in place. Good quality photographs of African American subjects are not easy to find. Discrimination and economic factors are among the principal causes of their relative rarity. The photographer of this cabinet card portrait is John E. Beebe. Denver city directories indicate that he operated his studio between 1887 and at least 1894. Langdonroad.com, a historical photographer directory, reports that before his arrival in Denver, Beebe was a photographer in Chicago, Illinois.
Unlike a lot of children photographed during and soon after the cabinet card era, this child is showing some emotion. It’s exciting to be able to stand on a chair and have parental permission to do so. The child looks adorable in his/her plaid outfit. Note the pretty wicker chair. The Nast studio captured this somewhat unfocussed but lovely portrait.
This cabinet card features two dandies posing at the Bates studio in Denver, Colorado. The studio was located in the Tabor building at Sixteenth and Larimer Streets. The subjects of this photograph are well dressed and wearing hats. Both men are holding walking sticks. The reverse of the image has an inscription that states ” Nellie Sanborn’s, 1882″. Research revealed very little about the identity of Nellie Sanborn. The only lead found is that there was a Nellie Sanborn born in Colorado in 1863 who appears in the Iowa State Census of 1885. At the time of the census she was living in the town of Keokuk and was twenty-two years old. Nellie Sanborn’s connection to the gentlemen in this image is unknown. Photographer W. L. Bates appears in the 1881 Denver city directory under the occupation of photographer. A Colorado genealogical site contends that Bates worked as a photographer in Denver between 1880 and 1890.
According to an inscription on the reverse of this photograph, the young boy in this image is named Charles Evan Johnson Jr.. At the time that this cabinet card was produced, Charles was two years old. The previous owner of this image stated that the young boy is wearing a Chinese style woolen dress and hat. I am not sure if that description is correct. The photographer of this photograph is Charles Bohm of Denver, Colorado. His studio was located at 284 Fifteenth Street. He is cited in a number of sources as the former employer of Frank Albert Rinehart (1861-1928) who became a famous American artist for his photography capturing Native American personalities and scenes. To view the work of Alfred Edward Rinehart, Frank’s brother, click on the category “Photographer: Rinehart”. Charles Bohm was an engraver, a jeweler and a real estate developer. He was born in Germany in 1846 and his family came to the United States to escape the democratic revolution of 1848. For many years the Bohm family lived in New Jersey where he became an apprentice in a design and engraving business. After a two year trip to Denver, he returned to New York where he designed copper plates, illustrated magazines, and organized the Palette Art Club. In 1872 he moved back to Denver and established a business offering design, engraving and photographic portraiture. He was active in Denver society and was a trustee for the water company and the library. Apparently, he loved speed and was involved in racing cars, horses and sleds. Research was not fruitful in learning about the subject of this photograph, Charles Evan Johnson Jr.. His name is too common to properly identify him in research materials.
An inscription on the reverse of this image indicates that this handsome well dressed young man was named Theo Sparks. He looks quite spiffy with his winged collar shirt, wide tie, and handlebar mustache. The photographer was not identified nor was the location of the photographer’s studio. Despite a paucity of information, research found some biographical information about Mr. Sparks. Theo Sparks (1870-1956) was born in Indiana. The 1880 US census finds him at age 10, living in Linton, Indiana.He lived with his parents, Peter S. and Mary E. Sparks. His father was a farmer. He lived with four older siblings, Iris (age 18), Orian (age 17), Ishmel (age 14), and Pascal (age 12). He also lived with three younger siblings, Marco (age 8), Eura (age 6), and Cush (age 2). Also living with the family was Theo’s fraternal uncle, Wesley Sparks. Theo and his siblings had very unusual and interesting names. Peter and Mary Sparks deserve kudos for their creativity in baby naming.The 1900 census finds the 29 year-old Theo Sparks living in Denver, Colorado and newly married to Maud Sparks (age 24). He was working as a motorman. According to the 1910 census, Theo and Maud still lived in Denver and had four sons, Rolland (age 8), Warren (age 5), Glen (age 4), and Jorville (age 3 months). It seems Theo and Maud continued Theo’s parents tradition of giving some of their children unusual names. Theo supported his family with his income from working as a street car motorman. The 1920 through 1940 censuses indicate that Theo and Maud continued to live in Denver with different members of their family being part of their household in each of the censuses.
Georgie Cooper (1882-1968) appears in this cabinet card by Rose & Company of Denver, Colorado. Georgie Cooper was born in Battle Creek, Michigan. Her mother was an actress, Georgie Woodthorpe (1860-1927). Cooper started as a child actress and appeared as “Little Lord Fauntleroy” with her mother at the Burbank Theatre in Los Angeles, California. She later married actor, Landers Stevens and both were active appearing in films. She appeared in 47 films from 1928 through 1944. The photographer of this cabinet card is John K. Rose. He later took on a partner and started a studio named Rose & Hopkins. This partnership was dissolved in 1901. It is interesting to note that “Little Lord Fauntleroy” had much impact in cabinet card photography. In addition to the existence of a number of portraits of child actors portraying the character; many children’s attire and hairstyle in cabinet card images were based on the clothing and appearance of the “Little Lord Fauntleroy” character. “Little Lord Fauntleroy” was the first children’s novel written by English-American author Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was published in 1885. In regard to fashion, the classic Fauntleroy Suit was a velvet cut-away jacket and matching knee pants worn with a fancy blouse with large lace or ruffled collar. It became a major fad in formal fashion for American middle class children. Most commonly, boy between 3 and 8 years of age wore these suits and a minority of these children also wore ringlet curls.
This Cabinet Card is a portrait of a very beautiful young woman photographed by Alfred Edward Rinehart in Denver, Colorado. She is wearing a necklace and earrings and her hair style is meticulously done and the style appears unusual for photographed women of this time period. Perhaps she is an actress or was part of Denver’s high society. Rinehart’s studio was located on one of Denver’s oldest and most historic blocks (Larimer Street). Rinehart was a pioneer photographer who came to Denver from Lafayette, Indiana in 1874. He was the city’s leading photographer during the mining boom and photographed many of the early Denver pioneers. His subjects included Kit Carson and Mountain Man Jim Baker. Rinehart died at age 63 in 1915.
Three well dressed men pose for their photograph in the mining town of Leadville, Colorado. The photographer is Luke. The men are wearing Western clothing and great hats. One man has a pocket watch and chain. Leadville is located at an altitude of 10,152 feet and in the late 1800’s was the second most populated city in Colorado. Denver was number one in population. Leadville was one of the worlds largest Silver camps and was the home of Doc Holliday shortly after the gunfight at the OK Corral.
This very clear image of a uniformed fireman was photographed by the studio of Mc Donald & Co of Denver, Colorado.