This vintage photograph features a handsome family posing for their portrait at the F. A. Free Studio in Davenport, Iowa. This good looking and well dressed couple had their hands full with three children so close in age to each other. It is possible that the two older children are twins. Whatever the case, all three children are adorable. Note their boots, bows, and ruffles. The photographer, Frank A. Free, is the subject of an article in the Quad-City Times (2010). The newspaper reports that a Free Photographic Studio estate sale was being held. Frank Free had already left thousands of portrait negatives to the Putnam Museum (located in Davenport) and to the Davenport Library. Frank died in 1968 and his wife Lois continued operation of the studio through part of the 1990′s. Frank Free’s name is mentioned in a number of photographic journal articles. An article in the Bulletin of Photography (1922) states that he won a silver cup in a photographic exhibition in London. He was also involved at the beginning stages (1909) with a Iowa photographers group called Cameracraftsmen.
The Brandt Brothers studio in Avoca, Iowa, produced this family portrait. Emma and Clara Holst are identified in an inscription on the reverse of the photograph. The two young women are wearing nice dresses with flowers pinned to just below their shoulders. Research reveals that Emma Holst was born in 1878 and Clara was born in 1881. Growing up, the sisters lived together in both Pleasant and Shelby, Iowa. Emma married Henry Sick in 1898. Sick was six years older than Emma. They had at least three children and in 1925 lived in Valley, Iowa.
J. F. Barton documents the resolution of the conflict between the Hatfields and the McCoys. Mrs. Irma Hatfield and Miss Henrietta McCoy met at the Barton studio to resolve the decades old dispute that decimated their families. Sorry! I couldn’t resist making up a story to accompany this cabinet card portrait. The image begs for explanation, but unfortunately, the reason for the pictured handshake is lost in history. The ladies are wearing plain dresses but nice hats. Both women are wearing fingerless gloves. The woman on the right is wearing a belt that may have been the prototype of the automobile seat belts of today. J. F. Barton is humorously mentioned in the Denison Review (1902) as a first class photographer who is “kept busy printing smiles” on his customers.
The child in this cabinet card portrait is a real cutie pie. Whether the darling child is a boy or a girl is anyone’s guess but I vote girl. She is wearing a lace collar and button up boots. Her hairstyle includes bangs and her head is covered by a straw hat. The photographer is J. H. Reynolds of Burlington, Iowa. Reynolds established his gallery in Burlington in 1872 and it was at some time (including 1888) located at 211 1/2 Jefferson Street. Reynolds was born in Warren County, New York in 1842. In 1863 he moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin where he studied photography. In the fall of 1863 he enlisted as a private in the 8th Wisconsin Infantry (Company H). He participated in the Red River campaign and then returned to Vicksburg. In the fall of 1864 he was discharged for physical disability after contacting disease while soldiering in the swamps of Louisiana. He then went to New York City where he worked as a photographer for six years until he returned to Burlington to open his gallery. In 1873 he married Miss May Wheeler from Mount Vernon, Iowa. Reynolds was a Mason and a member of the Knight of Pythias.
GRADUATION PORTRAIT FROM IOWA STATE NORMAL SCHOOL (UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN IOWA) IN CEDAR FALLS, IOWA
Cabinet cards frequently present interesting mysteries. This cabinet card inspired a number of questions. I wondered what the story was behind this unusual image. The cabinet card was out of the ordinary because of the mini photograph in the left hand bottom corner of the image. The previous owner of the photograph suggested it was a memorial card, but I was dubious. I hypothesized that the image was a graduation portrait and that the buildings in the photo insert was the college from which he graduated. I set out to learn what colleges were located in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I discovered that the University of Northern Iowa is located in Cedar Falls. From 1876 through 1909 the college was called the Iowa State Normal School. The name was changed and between 1909 and 1961, the educational institution was known as Iowa State Teachers College. Further research confirmed my hypothesis. The photo below, from the University of Northern Iowa library web site, shows the same buildings that are in the cabinet card photograph. The building on the left is South Hall (later Gilchrist Hall) and the building on the right is North Hall (later Central Hall). These buildings were located on the campus of the Iowa State Normal School. Research uncovered the photo postcard below which was identified as being from 1885. My initial hypothesis seems to be correct. This cabinet card is most likely a graduation picture. The subject in the image had just graduated from the Iowa State Teachers College. The cabinet card’s photographer was named Hahnemann Lancaster and he was located in Cedar Falls. The reverse of the photograph has printing advertising that Lancaster had won two first place prizes at both the 1884 and 1886 Iowa State Fairs. Lancaster (born in 1858) was 41 years old when he appeared in the 1900 US census. He was born in Canada. He was married to Sarah (age 39) and the couple had two sons and three daughters at the time of the census.
Four women wearing lovely dark dresses, pose for their portrait at the Walter studio in Manchester, Iowa. The ladies are a bit “touchy-feely” as they assume an affectionate pose. The photographer of this photograph is Harvey L. Walter. “The History of Delaware County, Iowa” (1878) and Langdon Road Photographer Directory both mention Mr. Walter. He was born in 1833 in Ohio and moved “west” in 1853. He married Mary Fuller in 1864 and moved to Manchester in 1871. At one point he was partners in a firm in Manchester called Walter & Weidman. They were active in the 1870′s and 1880′s. Their studio was located on Franklin Street and was above Ford Brothers Store.
This old photograph has seen better days but what a terrific image. The photographer, Clay from Cedar Falls, Iowa, took on a great challenge. It is difficult enough to photograph one dog, but Clay had to photograph two dogs and two young boys. Clay was up for the task and the resulting photograph is a visual treat. The boys in this image are dressed like young men. They are wearing jackets and ties Be sure to note their shoes and their hats. Accompanying the boys are two dogs. One canine looks like an airedale while the other resembles a border collie. Amazingly, both the boys and the dogs are looking directly at the camera.
This photograph features four uniformed nurses posing for their portrait. The names of the subjects are printed on the reverse of the image. Due to poor penmanship, some of the names are difficult to decipher. the women’s names are Kathryn Truesdell, Hadyn, Herbert, and Ethel Sheldon. Time spent researching these names was productive. Kathryn Truesdell was listed as a nurse in the 1911 and 1912 Sioux City Directory. In 1911, her employment was listed as Samaritan Hospital. Lonnie Hayden is listed in both the 1910 and 1911 directory and in 1910 she was reported to be a nurse at Samaritan. Delia Herbert was an Illinois native who was identified as a nurse in the 1909 through 1912 directories. She was also employed at Samaritan for at least part of those years. She was 24 years old at the time of the 1910 US census. Ethel Sheldon was Iowa born and listed as a nurse in the 1910 Sioux City directory. The 1910 US census listed her as being 25 years of age. Ethel Sheldon and and Delia Herbert lived together in what was likely a dormitory or boarding house. The photo postcard below presents Samaritan Hospital (1908) as it appeared close to the time that Nurses Truesdell, Hayden, Herbert, and Sheldon were employed there.
A young couple poses with their baby at the studio of White and Hugus in Ottumwa, Iowa. The couple are well dressed and the family is nicely posed for their portrait. The husband is sitting on an interesting and ornate seat (prop). The woman has her hand affectionately placed on her husband’s shoulder and the husband keeps a careful hold on the couple’s extremely alert baby. No information about the photographers was found in preliminary research. The town of Ottumwa is in southeast Iowa. It was a coal mining town. The state mine inspector reported that there were 15 mine shafts in the town in 1889. From 1890 through 1892 an exhibition center was built in the town. It was called the Coal Palace. Perhaps the gentleman in this photograph was associated with the mining industry.
A young woman has her head in the clouds in this Bellevue, Iowa portrait. The photographic effect was created by photographer M. J. Streuser in his Front Street studio. On a sad note, it is likely that this portrait is actually a memorial cabinet card. My hypothesis is that the photographer used the effect to create a heavenly image of the woman. To view other memorial cards, click on the category “Memorial Card”.