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This cabinet card features a portrait of three adorable young sisters and their cute little dog. The girls may have been posing for this photograph for awhile and at least two of the siblings seem to have lost their patience. The youngest child, appears to be near tears or actually in tears. The oldest girl is rolling her eyes at the photographer while the middle child appears relatively nonplussed. The children are wearing cute identical dresses. The photographer of this image is Richard Brand and he operated a studio in Mittweida, Germany. To view other images by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Brand”.

Published in: on January 22, 2015 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Two young children and their pet dog pose for their portrait at the Bonell studio in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Big brother and little sister look intently at the camera as does their canine friend. In fact, the dog must have been well trained to sit on a stool for a long enough time to be photographed. The children are well dressed. It is unusual to see a boy as young as the subject in this photograph wearing a suit and accessorizing with a pocket watch. The kids in this image are cute but the dog steals the show. The photographer of this image is Frederick Bonell. In addition to having a studio in Eau Claire, he also conducted business in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. At the time of this photograph his Eau Claire studio was located on the corner of Barstow & Gibson Streets. One source states that Bonell worked as a photographer between 1879 and 1890. To view other photographs by Bonell and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Bonell”.


Published in: on February 22, 2014 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  
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CHICAGO DOG_0001A well dressed man wearing a derby hat poses with his dog at the Chicago photography studio of Wagner & Nickel. The gentleman looks quite content sitting beside his “best friend” and enjoying his cigar. His canine companion appears to be a young Golden Retriever. The subject has a thick beard without sideburns.


Published in: on January 17, 2014 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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BRIDGEPORT DOG_0007Photographers Seeley & Warnock took this photograph of a cute dog posing in their studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut. What a pose?  The photographers have captured this adorable canine exhibiting a smile (with his/her mouth open). The lighting utilized in this photograph could have been better, but lets remember that dogs are tough customers for a photographer. On the reverse of the cabinet card is advertising that states “Instantaneous Portraits of Children A Successful Specialty”.  Note that photographing children is not only a “specialty” but it is a “successful specialty”. Additional printing on the reverse of the cabinet card indicates that it was produced in 1892. Preliminary research found no information about Mr. Warnock but there is an abundance of information about Mr. Seeley. Henry James Seeley was well known in Grand Army of the Republic circles. He was a department commander (Connecticut) and served in national offices of the organization. He was born in Jericho, Vermont in 1849. At the age of fifteen he enlisted in the 10th Indiana Battery, Light Artillery. After serving with the unit he was transferred to the gunboat Stone River which was operating on the Tennessee River. His next post was Fort Johnson in Huntsville, Indiana. Seeley entered and left the military as a private. After mustering out of the military in 1865, he taught school in Carbondale, Illinois. He then went to Vermont to further his education and then had teaching stints in Rome (NY), Worcester, Fall River and Bridgewater (MA). In 1872 he moved to Bridgeport where he studied photography and finally settled down. He opened a photography studio there in 1872 at 922 Main Street. He spent the next forty-five years or more working as a photographer.



A long haired and very well dressed young lad poses with his dog at the Rockwood studio in New York. The boy is wearing interesting leggings and a terrific hat. His dog appears to be a Burmese Mountain Dog but that is simply an uninformed guess. There is an unusual notation below the image; “Printed on N. P. S. extra brilliant albumen paper”. The photographer, George Rockwood of  New York City was a noted celebrity photographer. It is possible that the boy featured in this image may have been a child actor. To learn more about the photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Rockwood”.

Published in: on December 22, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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boystbernard_0006A little curly haired boy in a rufflled shirt poses at the Twasaki studio along  with his large white and black spotted dog. The boy is wearing a checkered bow tie. The dog appears to be resting comfortably as it sprawls on a rug in front of his young master. The boy has a sparkle in his eyes and his foot is resting lightly on the dog’s back.The reverse of the photograph has a handwritten inscription that identifies the child as “Elden McFarland (I think)”. The writer of the inscription was unusually honest about his lack of conviction in the identification. The dog pictured in this photograph is a St. Bernard (I think). If I am wrong, someone more informed than me about dog breeds will assuredly  correct me via a comment.The photographer’s name on the bottom of this image is illegible. It appears to be Twasaki or Iwasaki but research was of no value in identifying the photographer or the location of his studio. The name Elden McFarland was too common to find biographical information about the subject. Knowing the location of the studio would have facilitated finding background information concerning young Master McFarland.

Published in: on December 20, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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emilanddogThe Gesell studio of Alma, Wisconsin, produced this wonderful portrait of a boy and his dog. The boy’s love for his dog is apparent by his expression as well as by his resting his wrist and hand on the pooch’s neck. The dog appears quite tired in this photograph which certainly makes the photographer’s job easier. Photographing dogs required special talent and the photographer of this image certainly possessed that talent. The lad pictured in this photograph is identified on the reverse of the image as being named “Emil Bardil”.  Emil Bardil (or Bardill) was born in 1893 in Alma, Wisconsin. His father was John Bardill and his mother was Katie Roffler. His parents were of Swiss extraction. The 1900 census finds seven year-old Emil living with a Katherine Bardill (age 54) and his two brothers John (age 11) and Eddie (age 9). The 1910 census reveals that Emil was a boarder in an Alma home and worked as an apprentice printer. The 1920 census discloses that Emil is living in Chico, California with his wife Alice, and working as a printer. The 1930 census indicates that Emil and his wife had taken a boarder into their Chico home and the boarder was employed as a school teacher. The 1940 census shows that Emil had become a foreman at a print shop and worked as a lineotype operator. Census data indicates in 1940, he remained in Chico. Two years later he registered for the draft. He lived a long life and died in California in 1985. The photographer of this portrait was Gerhard Gesell. He was an important figure in Wisconsin history and the Wisconsin Historical Society presents much biographical information about Mr Gesell.  Gesell was born in Germany. He came to the United States and in 1863 he enlisted in the Army and served with “Brackett’s Battalion” of the Minnesota Cavalry on the western front. He entered the military as a private and was discharged as a saddler. After the war he returned to Reads Landing, Minnesota and worked as a saloon keeper until he entered the field of photography. He began his photography career in Reads Landing in 1873. In 1876 he relocated to Alma and opened a studio at 401 South Main Street. He operated his photography business in Alma for 30 years (he died in1906). Gesell is noted for his work of documenting the town, its people and culture, and its relationship to the Mississippi River. He took many photographs outside his studio capturing the Alma citizens in many of their activities. In 1879 he married Christine Giesen and they had five children. The couples oldest son, Arnold, became a pediatrician and well known psychologist. Arnold’s son also made a name for himself. Gerhard Gesell (named after his photographer grandfather) was a noted federal judge in Washington D.C. and he presided over many important cases including the  Iran Contra Affair, the release of the Pentagon Papers., and the Watergate Scandal.  How did this blog entry go from focusing on a little boy and his dog to the Watergate Scandal? Here is an answer to that question. Part of the beauty of cabinet card photography is that each image tells a story. When we look at a photograph, we use conjecture to create a story about the photograph. These created stories are based on our knowledge, as well as our psyche. A second story is created when we research the photographers, the subjects, the activities, and the times reflected in the photographs. That is the beauty of these photographs, we never know where viewing these turn of the century images will take us.


A disoriented couple pose for their portrait along with their pet pug. The woman is wearing a striped dress with a collar pin. The man is wearing a suit and is sitting on a fur covered chair. The couple’s dog sits on the man’s lap. The photographer and the location of his studio are unknown. The bewildered couple and their pug are unidentified. However, writing on the reverse of the image indicates that the photograph was taken in 1898.

Published in: on June 25, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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The boys gather together at Snyder’s Studio in Kutztown, Pennsylvania for a group portrait. Suits and derby hats seem to be the order of the day. Someone brought their two large hounds to the gathering. The dogs appear to be hunting dogs. Examination of this cabinet card image brings up the question, “How are these men connected to each other?”.  Are they good friends?  Are they co-workers? The answer to these questions are unobtainable and we are left with only hypotheses.What do we know about the photographer? The 1880 U. S. census reveals that Charles Wanner Snyder (1852-1927) was married to Sallie A. Jackson (1858-1900) and the pair had a daughter named Lydia (born 1879). Charles Snyder was born, and later died, in Kutztown. At the time of the census, Snyder was employed as a boot and shoe maker, but he appears to have had a tendency to switch careers over time. After tiring of boots and shoes,  he worked two years as a harness maker. He learned photographic and freehand crayon work and then, became a photographer. Research reveals that he had a reputation for being an excellent scenic artist and sign painter. He also was a very civic minded man. He was credited as saving a grove from woodsmen, and establishing the Kutztown Park with the rescued property. He served six years on the Kutztown council and five years as President of the council. In 1880 he entered the bicycle business. He added a Sphinx automobile dealership to his bicycle shop in 1915. What in the world is a Sphinx automobile? The Sphinx was produced by the Sphinx Motor Car Company which was located in York, Pennsylvania. The company produced cars in 1915 and 1916. The Sphinx was a light touring car. Automobile Industries (1914) reported that the car was expected to  have an initial selling price of six hundred and ninety-five dollars.

Published in: on February 4, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Despite the title of this entry, this photograph is far from a hostage situation. Instead, two dandies pose with their young children and a larger Retriever dog. Both children are holding rifles, presumably toy rifles. The identity of the photographer, the identity of the subjects, and the location of the studio, are unknown..

Published in: on December 14, 2011 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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