This cabinet card photograph features a lovely couple posing for their photograph at the Harnish & Marquart studio in Marion Indiana. The pair are well dressed and likely are financially well-to-do. The gentleman is wearing a three piece suit, a wide neck tie, and a shirt with a formal collar. He appears to be quite intense and probably wasn’t pleased that some of his hair when he learned that some of his hair was out of place in this photograph. The woman is wearing a ruffled top, fingerless gloves, a high collar, and a “busy” hat. She is holding a black parasol. Her clothing gives her a “bell shape”. Like many portraits of couples in the cabinet card era, the man is sitting and the woman is standing. It likely would be a project for the woman to take a seat, never mind, look attractive and comfortable. This image is crisp and clear. The photographers were evidently talented. Information about Mr. Harnish was readily available but that was not the case for Mr Marquart. Harnish was born in Pennsylvania in 1847 to a family of German descent. He left the family farm at age nineteen and learned photography in Myerstown, Pa. He moved to Bluffton with his family in 1867. In 1871 he married Miss Laura Myers (born 1850). George Adam Harnish opened his first photography studio in Bluffton, Indiana in 1872. In 1881 he became a town councilman in Bluffton. He sold his photography business to Benjamin Ashbaucher in 1889. Marion is about 35 miles west of Bluffton. It is my hypotheses that Harnish began working in Marion after selling his first studio. Clearly that is where he partnered with Marquart. There is a photograph in the American Museum of  Photography that was taken by Harnish & Marquart in 1899.







Published in: on October 4, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This post cabinet card era portrait features a profile view of a pretty woman. She looks quite proper in her fashionable clothing and with her hair gathered atop her head. She is wearing flowers as well as a lace-like necklace hanging down the front of her dress. I can’t decide it’s purpose but perhaps it is to hold a pocket watch. In fact, I believe I may see a timepiece peeking out from the top of her skirt. This image comes from the A. N. Donaldson studio in Logansport, Indiana. He did a terrific job with the soft backlighting seen in this photograph. Research revealed some biographical information about the photographer Albert Newton Donaldson (1841-1906). He settled in Logansport in 1867. Earlier, he had participated in the civil war. In 1861 he entered the service as a private and after some time left the service as a corporal. He served in Indiana’s 10th Infantry (Company H). One source reports that Donaldson deserted from his unit on 6/15/1862 at Corinth, Mississippi. A second source never mentions the desertion. The 1880 US census revealed that he was married in 1865 to Susan E Donaldson. The 1880 census, as well as the 1900 census, listed his occupation as being a photographer.


cute little girlThis vintage photograph features a most adorable little girl wearing a cute dress. Printing on the reverse of the photograph reveals that this portrait was taken by Hunt’s Art Studio which was located in Goodland, Indiana. I want to live in a town named Goodland. A place where everyone is “good” and everything that happens in one’s life is “good”. Research reveals that Goodland, which is probably a lovely town, does not fit the bill for being the location of  “all encompassing goodness”.  In fact, the town, which originated in 1861, is named Goodland because the soil is good. Writing on the verso indicates that the little girls last name may be “Allen”. Investigating the photographer was unproductive. Although there were a number of photographers with the last name of “Hunt” operating in Indiana during the post cabinet card era, I could not find one who worked in Goodland.

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Published in: on January 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card portrait features two young men posing for their portrait at the Boggs & Jefferson studio in Marion, Indiana. This photograph of a pair of well dressed young men sitting in chairs is a study in contrast. The gent on the right sits in a stiff position and he appears a bit intimidated by the camera. Note his rigidity and the position of his hands. Compare him to his companion. The second gentleman sits back in his chair in a relaxed fashion and cooly stares at the camera. Note the lack of tension in his open left hand. Judging by his expression, this guy has attitude. Preliminary research did not uncover information about photographers Boggs and jefferson.

Published in: on December 21, 2015 at 12:32 pm  Comments (4)  
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A young man, probably a teenager, poses for his portrait at the Keller studio in Nappanee, Indiana. The young gentleman is well dressed and well coiffed. Either he, or someone else, spent a good deal of time and work to properly arrange his hair. John M. Keller (1867-1943) opened his photography studio in Nappanee in 1897. An ad in the St. Louis and Canadian Photographer (1900) advertised the business as being for sale. The 1900 US census listed him as working as a bicycle dealer. Keller married Clara Burbach in 1891. The 1908 Elkhart (Indiana) business directory reported that he had a store selling bicycles and sundries, as well as repairing sporting goods. By the time of the 1910 US census, Keller had a new occupation. He was working as a garage manager. The Goshen Democrat Newspaper (1912) reported that while Keller was testing an automobile, the flywheel came off and struck him below the knee. The unfortunate accident broke his leg. Interestingly, the newspaper also stated that after injuring Keller, the flywheel continued it’s journey and actually went through the side of the building. The 1920 US census found Keller working as a “garage mechanic” in Frankfort City, Indiana while the 1930 US census lists him as unemployed and living in Rochester, Indiana. It turns out that Keller was a real entrepreneur. According to the Rochester Historical Society, In 1921 Keller built and operated the Keller Inn which was located near the edge of Lake Manitou. He also made lures for fishermen. Apparently Keller had a shady side. During prohibition he made and sold liquor and “locals reported he also ran prostitutes out to an island in Lake Manitou”. Keller died at age 75 from heart disease. Much of the information about J. M.Keller was found at an internet site (http://www.folkartfishingtackle.com/#!john-keller/cadr). The image below was also found there. The image is a back stamp from one of Keller’s cabinet cards. It seems likely that the young man pictured in the image is Keller himself. I can’t resist supplying an interesting fact about the town of Nappanee. It is the longest city name in the US which has each letter in it’s name appearing twice.


Published in: on June 25, 2015 at 3:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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babyThis cabinet card features a very beautiful baby wearing a long gown. Her hair is styled beautifully and her eyes are wide open. This sweet baby looks like a doll. She is either wearing flowers on her gown or else someone has placed flowers on her. At first I thought this was a lovely portrait of a baby girl. However, the longer I have owned this image, the more I think that this is a post mortem portrait. The little girl’s expression and the size and placement of the flowers has led me to believe that her poor soul had departed before the photographer took this photograph. This photograph really tugs at my emotions. The image was taken by the Rodgers & Manson studio (Gem Gallery) in Elwood, Indiana.


Published in: on December 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm  Comments (5)  
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RENSALEAR COUPLE_0005A fashionable couple poses for their portrait at the Sharp studio in Rensselaer, Indiana. It is possible that this image is a wedding portrait. Joseph A. Sharp (1846-1903) was born in Frankfurt, Kentucky. He married Martha (Mattie) Stively (1849-1936) in 1874. Sharp’s obituary appears in the Semi Weekly Rensselaer Republican. The article states that Sharp began his photography career at age 21 while living in Ballfontaine, Ohio. He later lived in Kenton, Ohio and moved to Rensselaer in 1877. He worked about a year as a travelling photographer but the rest of his career he operated a studio in Rensselaer. The obituary asserts that one of the reasons he chose photography as a career was because at a young age he developed a hip disease which left him lame and unable to pursue a more active occupation. Sharp is buried in the Weston Cemetery in Rensselaer. Look below to see a photographic portrait of Joseph Sharp as well as an image of the tombstone he and his wife share.




LADY HAT F_0002The woman in this cabinet card photograph is identified as “Hattie Sugle”. Her name appears in an inscription on the reverse of the photograph. Hattie has intense eyes and is wearing an interesting large hat. Research could not garner any further information about this individual. The photographer of this image is John A. Shoaff (1836-1921) who operated a photography studio in Fort Bend, Indiana. To learn more about this photographer and to view more of his photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Shoaff”.



Published in: on February 13, 2014 at 11:48 am  Comments (2)  
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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.



This cabinet card features stage and film actress Mabel Trunnell (1879-1981). The reverse of the photograph is inscribed “Yours Truly, Mabel Trunnell 1898”. Therefore, this image captures Miss Trunnell at about age nineteen. Mabel Trunnell was born in Dwight, Illinois. She began her career as an actress of the stage but at age thirty-two she began to appear in films. In 1911 she appeared in “A Modern Cinderella, In the Days of Chivalry” and in “The Star Spangled Banner”. Her last film was in 1923 when she was in the movie “The Love Trap”. Her filmography on IMDb indicates that she acted in 199 different films. At the age of forty-four she returned to the stage. She was married to Herbert Prior, an early British film star. Trunnell was one of Hollywood’s first movie stars as was identified with Edison Studios. A magazine article in “The Moving Picture World” (1915) reviews one of her performance. The reviewer wrote “Mabel Trunnell becomes more attractive as the course of time silvers her hair”. An interesting sociological comment was also made by the reviewer which was in regard to the admirable strength portrayed by Trunnell’s character. The reviewer notes “most of us are tired of seeing women pictured as incurable weaklings”. The reviewer was certainly a man who was ahead of his time. This cabinet card was produced by the Barrows studio in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It appears that Miss Trunnell was photographed in a costume from one of her performances. She is dressed very much like a maid and seems a bit troubled in her pose. The photographer, Frank Rufus Barrows operated a studio in Fort Wayne between 1880 and 1900. He is considered one of the city’s most prolific photographers and had several locations while in business there. He was born in Sturgis, Michigan in 1854. He came to Fort Wayne in 1880 and partnered with Frank H. Clayton in operating a photographic studio. In about a years time he became the sole proprietor of the studio. He had many photos appear in Fort Wayne Illustrated (1897). He left Indiana for Medford, Massachusetts and operated a studio there until 1910 when he moved to Eugene, Oregon where he died in 1920.