PRETTY TEENAGE GIRL IN DETROIT, MICHIGAN

npa-cdv

This carte de visite portrait features a pretty teenage girl who seems to be pursing her lips to hold back a smile. She has less success hiding her “smiling eyes”. The teenager is wearing jet earrings and a jet necklace. Her hairstyle includes a braided pony tail and curly bangs. The photographer of this image is the Bigelow studio in Detroit, Michigan. The reverse of this cdv advertises that Mr Edwin Burnham Bigelow (1838-1916) was a medal winner in a number of photography exhibitions. These medals were awarded in 1872 and 1876 which obviously lets us know that this cdv was produced in or shortly after 1876. A photo of Mr. Bigelow can be seen below. He is listed in the Detroit Business Directory (1879)  as being a photographer at the same Woodward Avenue address as listed on this cdv. At the time of the directory entry he had a partner (Elmer Taylor) in the ownership of his studio. Bigelow was a civil war veteran. He served with the 5th Michigan Cavalry (Company B). He enlisted as a Sergeant and served between 1862 and 1865. He was captured by the Confederates at the Battle of Buckland Mills (Virginia). He was a prisoner for about nine months. An interesting side note is the lettering “NPA” seen on the center bottom of the cdv. NPA is the abbreviation the “National Photographic Association” which was a photographers fraternal organization that convened for the first time in Boston in the year 1869. The organization was involved in arranging exhibitions, education, and lobbying for laws that would protect their profession. In the 1870’s the organization had more than 1,000 members. The organization dissolved in 1876 due to internal disputes. In 1880 a new version of the association was born in the form of the “Photogaphers Association of America” (PAA). This Carte de Visite is the first one that I’ve seen with the “NPA” initials and I have seen many Carte de Visites.

edwin7

 

npa-cdv-1

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