CUTE YOUNG WOMAN WEARING A PLUME HAT IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

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A young woman with blonde hair poses for her portrait at the Dabbs studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is wearing a distinctive hat with a feather plume. She has a wonderful smile. It is as if something struck her as funny while she posed for this photograph. The woman appears to be in her teenage years. The reverse of this cabinet card has a light inscription dating the photo as being taken in 1881. The photographer who produced this lovely image is Benjamin Lomax Horsley Dabbs. He was an English immigrant whose father was a pioneer in the American photographic supply business. Dabbs opened his studio in Pittsburgh in 1861. He was considered by many to be the best photographer in Pennsylvania and he was a close friend of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Carnegie. To view other photographs by the Dabbs studio and to learn more about his interesting life, click on the category “Photographer: Dabbs”.

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Published in: on December 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PORTRAIT OF AN OLDER MAN WITH BRIGHT EYES AND A LONG WHITE BEARD (PITTSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA)

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This cabinet card portrait features a well dressed handsome older gentleman with a wonderful long white beard. The man has striking eyes. They are bright and soft and he projects a certain sweetness and friendliness.  This photograph was produced by the Dabbs gallery in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Benjamin Lomax Horsley Dabbs was born in London in 1839. He immigrated into the United States while still in his childhood. His father was a pioneer in the American photographic supply trade. Dabbs learned the photography field from his father, George Dabbs. Benjamin came to Pittsburgh in 1861 and opened a business selling photography supplies. That same year he also bought a gallery from a Mr. Rorah. He grew the business dramatically and in 1869 he sold his supply business to concentrate on being a photographer. During his tenure as a photographer in Pennsylvania, he was considered by many to be the best photographer in the state. In 1868 Dabbs married Sadie Dickson and the couple ultimately had nine children. Dabbs was a close personal friend of Abraham Lincoln and steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Dabbs drew some attention for his stance on free resittings for customers who were not satisfied with the portraits taken by his studio. Unlike many other photographers, he refused free resittings because “the public do not value what they can get for nothing”. In his later years, Dabbs was debilitated by rheumatism and other illness. He died at age sixty in 1899. His celebrated portrait of Andrew Carnegie can be viewed today at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art.

PORTRAIT OF A “DANDY” IN GREENSBURG, PENNSYLVANIA

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A very good looking man is the subject of this portrait from the Hile studio in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. This gentleman is perfectly coiffed and ready for a photo shoot with “Gentleman’s Quarterly”. Note his pretty and sizable bow tie and the gold chain of his watch visible at the bottom of the image. I wonder if this photograph is a wedding portrait? The photographer of this image, William Hile (1838-1922) operated his studio out of his home at 114 East Pittsburgh Street. His daughter Lilli was also a photographer at the studio. William Hile was married to Lucinda Reamer Hile (1841-1918) and the couple had four children. Today’s Greensburg is part of the Pittsburgh metropolitan area. During the cabinet card era, Greensburg was a railroad stop and a vibrant center of the local mining industry. William Hile is buried at the St. Clair Cemetery in Greensburg (view his grave marker below)

William Hile

Published in: on March 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SASSY WELL DRESSED YOUNG BOY IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

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This cabinet card features a well dressed young boy with attitude. His expression and hand on his hip gives him a sassy appearance. Note his jumbo bow tie. This photograph was taken by Lewis W. Zuver (1854-1927). Zuver was a member of a family of photographers. His brother Leander L. Zuver (1861-1924) had a studio in Tionesta, Pennsylvania. His sister Mary M. Zuver was married to Jacob West and had a studio  in Bradford, Pennsylvania. She was known for her portraits of women and children. Lewis, the photographer of this image was a guy who got around. He had studios in New York (Olean, Ellicottville, Salamonca), Ohio (Cleveland), and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh). One source reports that he was in Pittsburgh at least from 1893-1900. He is listed in the Pittsburgh Directory (1895). At one point in his career he operated a studio on a steamboat that ran up and down the Alleghany between Olean, New York and Pittsburgh. A portrait of Henry J. Heinz (ketchup king) by Lewis Zuver can be found in “The Successful Americans” (1899). Zuver was clearly quite an entrepreneur and deducing from this image, he was a talented photographer. To view other photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Zuver”.

Published in: on February 18, 2015 at 10:47 am  Comments (3)  
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PROFILE PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

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The woman in this photograph is quite pretty.The photographer, J. R. Pearson, chose to pose her for a profile view. Pearson’s studio was located In Pittsburgh, Pensylvania. An inscription on the reverse of the cabinet card has an inscription which identifies the subject as “Sheila Pape”. The subjects first name was not easy to decipher so it is possible that “Sheila” is not the correct name.

Published in: on July 12, 2014 at 12:03 pm  Comments (1)  
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FASHIONABLE WOMAN IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

A pretty woman, wearing a fashionable, but unusual dress, poses for a photographer named Joseph G. Morris, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The studio was located at 16 Sixth Street, in Pittsburgh. She is wearing a collar pin. On the reverse of the photograph is the handwritten name, “Hillz”. One imagines that Hillz is the last name of the subject of this photograph. United States census data reveals some biographical information about the photographer of this cabinet card. Morris was located in the 1880 census. Morris was about 29 years old and he and his father (David Morris) were both working as photographer agents. In 1900, Morris and his 18 year old son, Harry, were boarders, and the older Morris was working as a photographer while the younger Morris was employed s a photographer apprentice. The 1910 U.S. Census finds Morris  still working as a photographer and living with his wife, Mary P. Morris.

Published in: on February 15, 2012 at 12:45 am  Comments (4)  
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THREE YOUNG CHILDREN POSE FOR THE COLUMBIA VIEW AND BUTTON COMPANY (MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE OR PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

Three young children pose together for a cabinet card portrait by the Columbia View & Button Company of Memphis, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This photograph precipitates a number of questions. Was this photograph taken outdoors, or is this an in-studio portrait? Was this image produced in Memphis, or, in Pittsburgh? Finally, why is the photographic studio called a “View & Button Company”? Lets attempt to answer the previous questions. It is not clear if this is an indoor, or outdoor photograph; nor is it apparent in which of the studios, the image was produced. However, one source reports that the Pittsburgh studio existed between circa 1893 and 1900. This cabinet card is marked on its front as being photographed in 1901. Does the 1901 date preclude the possibility that the image comes from the Pittsburgh studio? The answer is a resounding no. The date on the card  was preprinted and the source is not certain the Pittsburgh studio definitely closed in the exact year 1900. The third question concerns the reason the name of the studio includes the terms “View & Button” . The likely  answer is  that the studio originally produced stereoviews and photograph buttons. The buttons were generally portraits and varied in size. They could be worn or displayed on a piece of furniture or shelf. Large photographic buttons were most popular between 1900 and 1930. The smaller pinback buttons were popular beginning the 1890’s. There is some other information that may prove to be important in learning more about the image. On the reverse of the cabinet card, there are two names written. These names likely identify two of the subjects in the photograph. The two subjects names are Mary  Baker and Guy Baker. Searching census data with a common name like”Baker” was an exercise in frustration, in regard to identifying these probable siblings. After viewing this cabinet card, one notes that the three children in this photograph are not fashionably nor expensively dressed. They are different from most of the children seen in cabinet cards. The majority of children tend to wear their sunday best, which is generally much nicer than these children’s wardrobe. One surmises that these children are from a poor family.


DOE EYED BEAUTY IN LACE (BROOKLYN, NEW YORK; 1895)

A doe eyed beauty in lace poses for her portrait at the studio of Edward Carey Dana in Brooklyn, New York. The studio was located at the intersection of Fulton and Bond Street. Dana also owned a studio in Pittsburgh. To learn more about the photographer, click on cabinet card gallery’s category, “Photographer: Dana”. This photograph is dated 1895. No identifying information is available concerning the pretty young woman who is the subject of this photograph.

Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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SAILOR GIRL IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA

A young girl dressed in an elaborate sailor outfit and holding a straw hat, poses for her portrait at the Robinson studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The studio was located and 2 & 4 Sixth Street.

Published in: on November 16, 2010 at 12:02 am  Leave a Comment  
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LITTLE BOY FOUND IN SEASHELL IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLANIA

This cabinet card is a portrait of a little boy sitting quite comfortably in a sea shell chair. He appears disinterested in his surroundings at the Lies’s Studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He looks cute in his polka dot bow tie and fancy clothing. The seashell chair prop in this photograph is very unusual; in fact, such a chair has not come to the attention of the Cabinet Card Gallery ever before. The photographer, George Lies, deserves credit for his creativity.

Published in: on June 16, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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