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”.

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VERY PRETTY FASHIONISTA IN SPARTA, WISCONSIN

richardsonThis cabinet card features a very pretty woman wearing a feathered hat. The feathers are likely ostrich feathers. She is wearing a beautiful dress and has flowers pinned to it in two places. She is wearing something that looks like a scarf wrapped around her neck and running down the dress’s front. Her hat is also beautiful. This woman would be considered a fashionista if she lived during the present era. She exudes stylishness. The woman has curly hair and an inquisitive expression. The Richardson Brothers photography firm produced this cabinet card and is mentioned in the Wisconsin Business Directory (1919).The brothers first names are cited as “Fred” and “Frank”. The “Commemorative Biographical Record of the Upper Wisconsin ……….” (1895) provides a different first name than Frank. It states that H. N. Richardson was born in 1854 in Sparta, Wisconsin. His father was a wagon maker turned farmer. H. N. was the youngest of five children.At age 21 he left the family farm and went to work in a Sparta marble works. At 23 years of age he moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota and was employed for three years n a Marble Works there before returning to Sparta. He joined his brother Frank in a photography business named “Richardson Brothers”. The brothers operated the gallery together for four years. Then H. N. moved to Stevens Point, Wisconsin and established his own studio. He eventually developed branches in Plainfield, Scandinavia, and Hancock (all in Wisconsin). H. N. Richardson married Miss Jennie A. Linneman of Minnesota and they had four children. The “St. Louis and Canadian Photographer (1900) reported that Richardson Brothers Studio in Sparta was destroyed by fire. Research also revealed that at one time Fred Richardson was partners with Fred Foster in a studio in Sparta named “Richardson and Foster”.