A distinguished looking Black man poses for a photograph in the studio of Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachussets. The gentleman has an interesting looking expression. He looks proud and he also has what appears to have a “sparkle in his eye” accompanying a half-smile. Elmer Chickering (1857-1915?) was a prestigious Boston photographer who was began his career in the city around 1884.  His obituary states that he photographed many of the leading men and women of the city, state and nation. Chickering was well known his baseball related photographs as well as for his many celebrity portraits. To view more photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Chickering, E.”.

Helen Tracy: Stage Actress


Helen Tracy (1850-1924) was an American stage actress. A series of roles in the plays of Shakespeare is included in her acting resume. She’s wearing very interesting earrings and a great hat.  The Cabinet card comes from the studio of Sarony, one of the renowned photographers of theatrical stars and other celebrities.

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 10:48 pm  Comments (3)  
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Cute Girl and her Doll in Salt Lake City, Utah


This terrific Cabinet card captures an adorable young girl and her doll. She seems a little apprehensive about her big day at the photographer. This Cabinet card was photographed  by J. A. Christenson of  Salt Lake City, Utah.

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 5:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Fireman in St. Louis, Missouri


This fireman is posing for his portrait in St. Louis, Missouri. The photographer is Meier.Charles F. Meier was a photographer in St. Louis between 1875 and 1900.

Published in: on December 29, 2008 at 3:35 am  Leave a Comment  
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Cute Siblings in Lebanon, New Hampshire


Clinton and Mary Derby are the subjects of this Cabinet card. Brother and sister are dressed adorably. Note the size of the chair the young girl is sitting in, and the fur rug. The photographer is C. E. Lewis of Lebanon, New Hampshire. Lebanon is a city in western New Hampshire. In the mid 1800’s industries began there including furniture manufacturing, machine shops, tanneries, mills (ie woolen textile) and clothing factories. The area attracted many French workers from Quebec.

Published in: on December 28, 2008 at 3:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Jewish Children in Brooklyn, New York


This Cabinet card is a photograph of four Jewish children posing in a studio with a background (perhaps added during the developing process) of Hebrew words. This is  a Jewish New Years card (Rosh Hashanah). The photographer of this Cabinet card is S. Borsuk of Brooklyn, New York.  It is noted that the studio is near Eastern Parkway. Eastern Parkway has some interesting history. It was the first “parkway” and was conceived by Frederick Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in 1866 (Olmsted designed Central Park). Eastern Parkway was designed as a wide road with several medians with trees, benches, and bike and pedestrian paths. The concept of the parkway was to bring the country to the city.

Published in: on December 27, 2008 at 3:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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Police Officer in Owatonna, Minnesota



The policeman in the Cabinet card appears to be holding a night stick or baton. He appears quite intense. His uniform appears to show both a British and a frontier western influence. He’s a lawman wearing a sheriff like star. The photographer is Chesley of Owatonna, Minnesota. Owatonna was founded in 1854. It is in southern Minnesota. The origin of its name is interesting. A story was concocted to promote tourism and to sell bottled water. The creative fictional account stated that an Indian chief’s daughter, “Princess Owatonna” was dying but cured from water bubbling up from the ground in the town. It is likely that Chesley, the photographer of this Cabinet card, photographed many of the tourists who came to Owatonna to see and drink the “miracle waters”.

Published in: on December 26, 2008 at 2:27 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Meet the Brown Sisters of Memphis, Tennessee


Katie, Lottie, and Mattie Brown pose for this portrait at the “Cottage Gallery” of Gebhardt and Company in Memphis, Tennesse. The reverse of the card has a message sending “compliments” to the children’s Aunt Hannah and is dated “July 21/ 1887”. Note the props that the children are holding; a book, a basket, and the middle child is holding something that I can not determine. What do you think is in the basket and what is in the centered girl’s hand? Leave a comment with your ideas.

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 11:54 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fireman in Chicago, Illinois


This fantastic Cabinet card captures a Fireman in an old style uniform. He is seated in the photographic studio of Alex. Hesler of Chicago, Illinois. Note the pin on his bib that looks like a hydrant. Also note that his belt has some numbers and some writing. It would be terrific to have someone knowledgeable about fire department history to leave a comment explaining his uniform, pin and belt.

Published in: on December 24, 2008 at 5:05 am  Comments (2)  
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Turkish Family Poses in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


A Turkish family is posing in their traditional garb for photographer L.A. Sawyer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Cabinet cards capture history and this photograph represents the building of America through immigration. How did this family adapt to life in this country? What issues did they face? Lots of questions and no answers. We can only imagine or read about the struggles of other immigrant families. The inscription below the photograph appears to indicate that this family comes from Bitlis, Turkey. Bitlis is located in southeastern Turkey, southwest of Lake Van and 4600 feet above sea level. It is rich in history, having been controlled by Arab dynasties, Byzantines, Persians and Mongolians. By the 14th century it became part of the Kurdish dynasty and was very autonomous until 1847 when it became part of the Ottoman empire. During World War I, the city was occupied by the Russians. The occupation had adverse impact on Bitlis; it reduced its population and damaged their weaving and dyeing industries.

Published in: on December 23, 2008 at 3:37 am  Comments (1)  
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