PORTRAIT OF EDWIN PHELPS IN ROME, NEW YORK AND THE EASTMAN KODAK CONNECTION

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An inscription on the reverse of this cabinet card portrait reveals that the subject’s name in Edwin Phelps. The photograph was taken at the Brainerd Photo Company in Rome (Oneida County), New York. Preliminary research tells us a little bit about Mr. Phelps. He was born in Oneida County in 1829. He was married to Amanda Howard (1832-1904). The 1880 census indicates that the couple had three sons living at home with them. He worked as a carpenter during at least four decades.  He died in 1902 in Baltimore, Maryland and is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Camden (Oneida County), New York. The images seen below include a portrait of Phelps taken at a later date than the portrait seen above, and a photograph of Phelps’s gravestone. The photographer that produced this image is Jonathan Millard Brainerd (1851-1926). Brainerd was born in Oneida, New York. After finishing school, Brainerd began working for photographer H. Hovey and after two years the two men became partners in a firm named appropriately Hovey & Brainerd. The business partnership lasted ten years until Brainerd bought out Hovey. Brainerd was married to Sarah C. Knight in 1874. Brainerd’s studios included locations in Rome (112 West Dominick Street) and in Oneida (28 Main Street). He had an interest in public service which is reflected in the three years that he spent as an alderman and his position as treasurer of State Custodial Asylum. He died in Utica, New York and is buried in Rome Cemetery in Rome, New York. His obituary appeared in the Rome Sentinel (1926) and the article included an interview with his colleague, photographer Betty Filchard. She noted that Brainerd was a friend of the famed photography entrepreneur George Eastman, one of the founders of Eastman Kodak. She stated that Brainerd was a genius and had invented a new camera shutter that Eastman had patented under his own name and “broke Jonathan’s heart”.

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                                                                                                                               LATER PORTRAIT OF EDWIN PHELPS

 

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                                                                                                                                     GRAVESTONE OF EDWIN PHELPS

 

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                                                                                                                           PORTRAIT OF JONATHAN MILLARD BRAINERD

 

 

Published in: on June 17, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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TWO ADORABLE YOUNG KIDS DRESSED FOR CARNIVAL: RARE STUDIO PORTRAIT

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This vintage real photo postcard features two adorable young children wearing carnival costumes. This postcard is a rare studio portrait by an unidentified photographer. The children are seated at a table and on the table is a set of blocks. This postcard was printed on Kodak postcard paper.

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Published in: on April 14, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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A LADY AND HER VIOLIN IN ALLENTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA (PORTRAIT BY THE ARTIST ARLINGTON NELSON LINDENMUTH)

A woman poses for her portrait at the Lindenmuth Studio in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She likely viewed her self as foremost, a musician. She chose to pose herself, or approved the photographers instructions, to pose sitting and holding her violin and bow. The photographer, Arlington Nelson Lindenmuth (1856-1950) is a noted American landscape and portrait painter. He worked in Allentown which is located in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania. He was a member of the Baum Circle which was a group of artists who were influenced by the work of Pennsylvania impressionist painter Walter Emerson Baum. Lindenmuth studied painting under Peter Alfred Gross and also in Europe. His paintings were exhibited in Philadelphia and New York City. He also painted a number of murals which still can be seen in a number of Allentown’s buildings. Lindenmuth is also known as one of the pioneer photographers in the Lehigh Valley. He operated a photography studio in Allentown for a number of decades. Interestingly, in addition to running a photography business, Lindenmuth taught art from his photography studio. In 1882 he worked for the Eastman Kodak Company as a traveling salesman. He was a great advocate of art appreciation. He was a proponent for the Allentown Art Museum. One of his sons, Raphael Tod Lindenmuth, had much success as an artist. Below is an example of a painting by Arlington Nelson Lindenmuth. To view other photographs by Lindenmuth, click on the category “Photographer: Lindenmuth”.

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MOTHER AND DAUGHTER DRAMA IN LEHIGHTON, PENNSYLVANIA

This portrait features a mother and her daughter posing at the Bretney studio in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. There appears to be some sort of emotional situation occurring during the taking of this photograph. The mother in the image seems none too pleased, while her daughter appears to be consoling her. The reverse of the photograph indicates the daughter’s name is Molly. It appears that Molly has to be strong for her mother, as her mother has suffered some sort of a loss. The History of Carbon County, Pennsylvania (1912) reports that Clement H. Bretney was the leading photographer of Lehighton. He was born in Mahoning, Pennsylvania in 1873.  After leaving public school he studied art as a private pupil of H. Parker Rolfe of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Next he studied at Curtis-Taylor Studio in Philadelphia. He then worked with W. D. Rishel, a Lehighton photographer. Bretney bought Rishel’s studio in 1899. It is also reported that Bretney was a “dealer in Kodaks” and carried a large stock of photographic supplies. Langdon’s list of 19th and early 20th century photographers asserts that Bretney operated his studio until 1905.