This cabinet card features a young boy driving his Keystone Auto Pedal car. The elaborate toy car was made by the Mars Company. One source told me that the car was produced in 1905 but that information is unconfirmed. The child’s expression in this photo is priceless. He is trying to appear very serious, as if he was a mature and experienced driver. In other words he seems to be saying, “Driving is no big deal for me, I do it all the time”. A light stamp on the reverse of the cabinet card reveals that the photographer of this image was F. E. Nielson and his studio was at 344 Michigan Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Fredrick N. Nielson was born in Denmark in 1884, immigrated to the US in 1903, and married his wife Sophia in 1912. He conducted his photography business in Battle Creek (1918), Saginaw (1920), and Allegan (1920-1931). This portrait suggests that Nielson was a talented photographer.
This cabinet card portrait features a pretty young mother and her small child. Both of the subjects are dressed in winter clothing. Mom is wearing a coat with a fur collar and fur sleeve cuffs. Both mother and child are bright eyed and seem to be relaxed and playful with the process of being photographed. The photographer of this image is C. A. Millard of Detroit, Michigan. To view more of his photographs and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Millard”.
This bust portrait of an attractive short haired young woman is the product of the Millard studio in Detroit, Michigan. The woman is wearing a lace collared dress and earrings. She has magnificent deep hypnotizing eyes. C. A. Millard is mentioned in The Industries of Detroit (1887) as being the proprietor of the oldest photographic studio in Detroit. It is reported that he bought out a Mr. Powelson in 1879 and at the time of the books publication, Millard employed ten to fifteen artists in his studio. An interesting side note concerns Millard’s death in 1891. Frank Scott Clark (1865-1937), a noted backdrop painter, came to Detroit in 1892 to manage Millard’s studio for Millard’s estate. Among his accomplishments, Clark was an extremely talented photographic background specialist. In fact, during his career, he created, made, and set up backgrounds for both Napoleon Sarony and Jose Maria Mora. Not too shabby a resume for Mr Clark.
This cabinet card serves as a period fashion photograph. The unidentified woman in this image is wearing a button down dress and a large hat. The photographer is J. G, Hill of Monroe, Michigan. According to the 1880 US census,the thirty year-old Hill (1850-?) was born in Canada and lived in Monroe with his wife Katie Hill (age 24) and their children, Willie (age 2) and Charles (age 10 months). Katie’s 16 year-old brother also lived with the J. G. Hill family. The 1890 Detroit business directory lists Hill and his photography studio, but from that point of time until 1897, Hill clearly relocated, and his studio can be found in the Toledo, Ohio business directory.
A young woman poses for the camera at the studio of Arthur & Philbric in Detroit, Michigan. She is wearing an unusually loud patterned blouse. Note the subjects fingerless gloves and collar pin. The Arthur & Philbric Studio had galleries in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as in Toledo, Ohio. Research revealed some information about James Arthur (1855-1912). He was a native of Montreal, Canada and first began work as a photographer with the well known J. and J. W. Notman studio. He came to Detroit in 1881 and went to work with photographer J. E. Watson. In 1883 he became senior partner in the firm of Arthur & Philbric and they remained in business together for eight years. He then became sole proprietor of a firm called Arthur Studios. Research also yielded information about Philbric. Most notable is that Philbric was a woman. Her name was Helen M. Philbric and her name appears in Michigan business directories as Arthur’s partner between 1884 and 1893. No other information about Philbric was discovered. To view the work of other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.
Here is a man with character. This older gentleman is quite an intense looking man. He has a great looking beard. The beard has a layered cut appearance. The studio that produced this photograph is Holcombe & Alvord of Detroit, Michigan. Research reveals little about the men that operated this studio. Their full names were found to be Burton J. Holcombe and Charles E. Alvord. An article appearing in “The Photographic Times” (1884) announced that the partners had opened a new gallery at 220 Woodward Avenue in Detroit. Advertising on this cabinet card reveals that the studio at some point had been located next door at number 22 Woodward Avenue.
This cabinet card portrait features a young attractive woman. She is dressed in an interesting manner and I will leave it to one of the cabinet card gallery’s fashion knowledgeable visitors to describe her clothing. It looks like she is wearing a large neckerchief held in place by a broach, but thats just my best guess. The photographer did an excellent job with the lighting in this photograph. The photographer of this image is C. R. Baker who was located at 35, 37, and 39 Monroe Avenue in Detroit, Michigan. Business directories for Detroit list Charles R. Baker as a photo printer beginning in 1876 and his listing soon changes to photographer and appears in directories through 1919. The Photographic Times (1884) has a “seeking employment” ad placed by Baker. He was searching for a job as a “first class printer and toner”. The 1900 U.S. census reveals that Baker lived with his wife, Sarah, and his 14 year old son Owen. Both Baker and his wife were 40 years old. The couple also appear together in the 1920 census. The census indicates that Charles Baker was born in Massachusetts and worked as a photographer.
This cabinet card features a portrait of a cute, but skeptical baby, sitting on a fur covered chair. The child is wearing a sweater over a gown, and is propped on a chair. The baby is clenching a toy in his/her right hand. The photograph was produced at the Detroit Art Gallery. The proprietors were listed as Dubbs, Lee & Company. Preliminary research yielded no additional information about the studio.
A cute baby
This cabinet card features a portrait of an attractive young lady. She is posed with her back back toward the camera, a pose which offers a profile view. The photographer of this image is Samuel Sharpsteen of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the photograph was taken in 1890. The previous owner of this cabinet card stated that Sharpsteen was of the Jewish faith, but that is not factually correct. There is a tendency for owners of cabinet cards to see a name that “sounds Jewish” and assume that the bearer of that name, must be Jewish. This kind of logic results in many incorrect identifications of Jewish photographers. It so happens, that Mr. Sharpsteen was of the Methodist faith. Samuel Sharpsteen was born in 1850 near Battle Creek, Michigan. His parents were native New Yorkers who were among the early settlers of Michigan. He was educated in Battle Creek’s public schools and at age 20 left home to apprentice in photography. He then went of Owosso,Michigan, where he and his older brother opened a gallery. After six months, his brother left the partnership; and Sharpsteen stayed in Owosso until 1882. He also married his wife there. His wife’s name was Nattie Tuttle, and she was from Cleveland, Ohio. His next location was Ionia, Michigan, where he stayed 8 years. An 18 month stint in Detroit was followed by his move to Grand Rapids. His gallery was in Grand Rapids from 1888 until , at least, 1903. His studio moved around a lot. Research located nine different Grand Rapids locations over the years that he was there. In addition, he had a partner in 1890 and their studio was known as Sharpsteen & Andrews. The Bulletin of Photography (1916) announced Sharpsteen’s death. He died in Grand Rapids at age 71.
A pretty woman poses for her portrait at the studio of A. J. Diehl and Co. in Detroit, Michigan. This partial profile pose accentuates the womans beautiful and large eyes. Diehl’s studio was located at 35 to 39 Monroe Avenue, in Detroit. This portrait was taken some time between 1885 and 1887.Diehl appears to be a journeyman photographer. He moved from one Detroit photograph studio to another at a rapid pace. He was the “Larry Brown” of photography. If you are not a basketball fan, an explanatory note is necessary. Mr Brown is a much travelled basketball coach. Diehl began his career as an operator in 1876. In 1882 he was a partner in Bracey, Diehl and Co.. In 1885 he operated A. J. Diehl & Co. In 1887, he was a partner in Diehl & Sharpsteen. In 1890 he was a partner in Diehl and Ladd & Co. In 1891, he was a partner in Angell & Diehl. After this short partnership, he had many other photography jobs through 1923. Perhaps Mr Diehl was a difficult person. Did he have an anger problem? Did he have a substance abuse problem? The reason for his unstable work history is unknown, but he likely had some kind of significant pathology that interfered with his work.