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

 

 

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MOM AND DAD AND THEIR EIGHT KIDS NICELY DRESSED IN MADISON, SOUTH DAKOTA

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This cabinet card is a portrait of a large family taken at the studio of A. T. Lewis in Madison, South Dakota. This family is well dressed and likely well-to-do. South Dakota was part of the Dakota Territory until it became a state in 1889. This knowledge reveals that this photograph was taken in 1889 or later. The city of Madison was named after Madison, Wisconsin. Wikipedia reports that the city’s original name was Herman and that it was founded in 1880. Abrah T. Lewis, the photographer of this image was married to Miss Sarah J. Norcott in 1873. She was also a photographer and is actually the more likely of the two to have taken this photograph. Mrs. Lewis tended to do portraits while Mr. Lewis focused on scenic views. Abrah Lewis was born in Oneida, New York in 1853. He next lived with his family in Canada between 1855 and 1873. In 1873, Abrah and his bride moved to Michigan and eight years later he lost his house to a forest fire (1881). Mrs. Lewis’s grandmother perished in the fire and she nearly lost her mother. The couple left for a brief stay in Canada and then settled in South Dakota and worked as photographers in Sioux Falls. Three years later they moved to Madison and opened a photography studio there that was predominately operated by Mrs. Lewis while Mr. Lewis attended to branches of the studio at Brookings, Elkton, and Arlington (all in South Dakota). The pair resided in Madison (five years), Huron (two years) and Clark (two years). Like many photographer of the cabinet card era, this couple kept moving. Their next stop was various locations in Iowa where they continued to work as photographers. One of their locations was a town called Rock Rapids. To view photographs by other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.

TWO ADORABLE YOUNG SIBLINGS POSE FOR THEIR PORTRAIT IN ONEIDA, NEW YORK

 

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This cabinet card features a little girl and her younger sibling. Big sister seems to be assuming a protective posture in relation to her sibling. Both children share pleasant smiles. Big sister is adorable. She is wearing a pretty dress and her hair is in braids. The younger child is wearing a lace bib and an outfit that has military braided stripes and brass buttons. The photographer of this image is W. J. (possibly W. T.) Richardson who operated his studio in Oneida, New York.

Published in: on January 11, 2015 at 11:57 am  Leave a Comment  
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