This cabinet card portrait captures a well-dressed handsome little boy holding a large swing in a studio portrait by the Harper studio in Corsicana, Texas. The lad is unsuccessfully holding back a smile as he looks at the photographer. He apparently was enjoying posing for the cameraman. Using swings as props in cabinet card images is not extremely rare but this is one of the finer “swing images” that I’ve seen. To view other cabinet card photographs that employ swings, click on the cabinet card gallery category “Swings”. According to advertising on the front of this cabinet card, Harper had other branches of his studio located in Texas. Besides Corsicana, he operated in Tyler, Mexia, and Waxahachie. Further research that Harper also operated other studios in Texas (Bryan, Temple, Ennis, and Calvert). Apparently, Mr. Harper was quite an entrepreneur.

Published in: on January 5, 2015 at 11:40 am  Comments (1)  
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This  photograph features a woman in a bustle style dress posing for a full length portrait at the Gray studio in Omaha, Nebraska. The dress seems to play a more prominent role than the subject in this cabinet card image. In 1884 Howard E. Gray took over the Bee Hive Gallery at the address listed on this cabinet card. In about 1886 he changed the name of the studio to the H. E. Gray Studio. Omaha business directories indicate that he was operating a photography studio in Omaha  from 1884 through 1896. The 1896 directory announces that Gray had moved to Houston, Texas. Research was able to pick up Gray’s trail in Houston. Business directories state that he was a photo retoucher in in 1897 and from 1899 through 1911 operated a photography studio. Research yielded no definitive information about his family. He may be listed in the 1900 US census but there is no confirmation that Howard E. Gray listed is the same Howard E. Gray who worked as a photographer. The 1900 census Mr. Gray was 36 years-old and married to Maggie Gray (age 38). The couple was married in 1885 and had a son named Elmont (age 12). Interestingly, the census Mr Gray was listed as working as a stenographer. To view other photographs by Gray, click on the category “Photographer: Gray (NE)”.

Published in: on November 29, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This image captures the portrait of a tired looking old man. This gentleman appears to have had better days. He looks exhausted and troubled. This photograph was taken by the Mark’s studio in Austin, Texas. The photographer of this cabinet card lived an interesting life and he was both a pioneer of Texas and a pioneer of photography. Harvey Roberts Marks (1821-1902) was a well known photographer who worked in a number of locations. He was active in Baltimore, Maryland (1849-1853), San Francisco, California (1851), Mobile, Alabama  (1856-1859), Houston, Texas (1865-1870), and Austin, Texas (1870-1902). He was born in New York City. He first arrived in Texas in 1838 and received a very large land grant in Harris County (Houston). He enlisted in a company of Texas Rangers in 1840 and reached the rank of Captain. He was married to Emily H. Bassan in 1849. Research indicates that she was  member of one of the most prominent families in Baltimore. In 1849 he was Jacob Shew’s partner in the Shew and Mark’s Gallery in Baltimore. He continued the gallery alone when Shew left Baltimore until 1851. The 1850 census revealed that he had three assistants in the gallery and took 5,000 daguerreotypes annually. In 1851 he took photographs of castaways from a Japanese ship involved in an incident that caught national attention. Mark’s moved to Austin in 1870 and opened a gallery a year later. During that time he became Vice President of the National Photographic Association. Marks served during the civil war. He was a member of the Houston Battalion, Texas Infantry (Detailed Men). Research was unsuccessful in gathering this Confederate regiment’s history. Marks entered the regiment and left the regiment as a Captain.  Interestingly, when former Confederacy President, Jefferson Davis, visited Austin in 1875, he sat in Mark’s studio for his portrait. He died at the age of 81.


This cabinet card portrait features a well dressed  young African American man wearing wire rim glasses. He has a terrific mustache and sideburns. His name is written on the reverse of the photograph (“R. L. Woods”). The photographer is Devenport and the studio was located in Waxahachie, Texas. Perry F. Devenport is identified in the 1900 US census as being forty-three years old and living in Waxahachie with his wife Marie and their three children. He was working as a supervisor for the city water company. He is also cited in the 1920 census but by that time he was sixty-five years of age and married to a forty-four year old woman named Caudia (Candice). In the 1920 census, Perry and Caudia Devenport were both listed as photographers. Interestingly, Caudia is cited in a number of photography journals. She was on the necrology committee of the Professional Photographers Association of Texas according to the Bulletin of Photography (1917). The Photographic Journal of America (1917) announced that she had won some photography awards. To view other cabinet card photographs of African Americans, click on the category “African Americans”.


A young well dressed African American man poses for his portrait at the Moore studio in Denison, Texas. The town of Denison was founded in 1872 in conjunction with the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad. In 1875, famed western gambler, gunfighter, and dentist,  John Henry Holliday (Doc Holliday), had offices in Denison. Doc Holliday is also known for his great friendship and shared exploits with lawman Wyatt Earp.

Published in: on September 16, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Annie and Maggie Fleming pose for this cabinet card portrait at the Anderson’s photographic studio, located at 85 Main Street in Houston, Texas. An inscription on the reverse of the card identifies the little girls and indicates that this photograph was given to their cousin. These cute siblings appear to be a bit dubious of the photographer and their photographic session. The photographer, Samuel Anderson, operated out of the address on this cabinet card, between 1886 and 1892. To see other photographs by Sam Anderson, click on this sites category, “Photographer: Anderson”.

Published in: on August 25, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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This Cabinet Card is a portrait of a Spanish American War era soldier posing in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio was a city where a number of troops were organized for participating in this war. Note that the soldier is well armed with both a rifle, bayonet, and knife. Check out his ammunition belt.  Ironically, the cabinet card’s photographer, Lewison Brothers, headquarters their studio on South “Alamo” Street. This street is the location of the famous Alamo which was the location of a battle to the death which occurred in the war for Texas independence.

Published in: on December 26, 2009 at 2:15 pm  Leave a Comment  
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behind the curtain_0001This unusually posed Cabinet Card was photographed by Wright, in Comanche, Texas.  Two beautifully dressed woman wearing long white dresses, pose behind a frilly lace curtain. The dresses are embellished with lace, flowers, and possibly fur or feathers. The woman on the right is holding a fan and wearing a cape. Who would have thought that these Comanche, Texas women could make such a beautiful fashion statement. Comanche, Texas is located in Central Texas and is the site of the saloon where gunfighter John Wesley Hardin killed a deputy in 1874. The Comanche Chief, the local newspaper, wrote in 1880 that James L Wright was the best photographic artist in Texas outside of some photographers in Galveston and Dallas. This claim sounds like a compliment with reservations.

Published in: on June 27, 2009 at 12:25 am  Comments (1)  
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