MAN POSING FOR PHOTOGRAPHER IN CALCUTTA, INDIA

Calcutta, India is the location at which this cabinet card photograph was taken. The studio of Johnston and Hoffmann were the photographers. The reverse of the card has the stamp of Austrian lithographer, Bernard Wachtl of Vienna. Calcutta is the current capitol of the Indian state of West Bengal located in eastern India. However, at the time of this photograph and until 1911, during the British Raj (colonial rule), Calcutta was the capitol of India. It would be interesting to know why this gentleman was in India and something about his identity, but this information has been lost over time. Research reveals some information about the photographers. Theodore Julius Hoffmann and P. A. Johnston established a commercial photography studio in Calcutta (1882) and Darjeeling (1890). Their studio is considered to be the second largest commercial photography studio in India in that period. Many of their images were of North and Northeast India as well as Sikkim and Nepal. To view other cabinet cards from India, click on the category “India”. To view other works by Bernard Wachtl, click on the category “Lithographers: Bernard Wachtl”.

FASHIONABLE BLACK WOMAN IN RENO, NEVADA

This Cabinet Card captures a pretty young Black woman posing at the studio of Rifenburg and Dowe in Reno, Nevada. The woman is beautifully dressed and the details of her elaborate dress are easily seen in the closeness and clarity of this image. Note the woman’s dark gloves and that she appears to be holding a cane, or perhaps, a parasol.

Published in: on December 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm  Comments (3)  
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OLD MAN WITH PIPE IN BALLSTON, NEW YORK

Mr E. H. Chapman posed for this cabinet card photograph at the studio of J. S. Wooley in Ballston, New York.  He inscribed the back of this card indicating that he turned 67 years old on September 17th, 1895. He gave the card to an unidentified person, to mark the occassion.  Mr Chapman’s eyes show a certain wisdom that only comes with age. His pipe and straw hat add much character to the image of this older gentleman.  Ballston, NY is in Saratoga County, and north of Schenectady. Research reveals that Edw H Chapman was President of the Ballston town board in 1856 and was involved in the manufacture of woolen goods and in 1867 had a business manufacturing bricks. Research also reveals that the photographer of this cabinet card is Jesse Sumner Wooley (1867-1943). At age 13 he worked for a photographer in Saratoga and in 1887 he opened his own photographic studio in Ballston Spa. He became a noted photographer as a result of his taking expeditions and chronicling them in the form of lantern slide/stereoptic lectures. In 1893 he and noted landscape photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard took a photographic expedition exploring the Adirondacks and they prepared a photographic lecture about this trip. Wooley also took similar expeditions to Florida (preparing a photographic historical presentation), the Chicago Exposition (Worlds Fair), New York City (100th anniversary of George Washington’s inaugaration), and to California (Yellowstone National Park). The Florida stereoptic lecture is one of the few professional lantern slide/stereoptic lectures that survive today.

AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN CHILLING AT TURN OF THE CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHIC STUDIO

Attractive young Black woman poses at Smith’s Photographic Studio at an unnamed location. She is very fashionably dressed. Note the wonderful details of her cape and hat. Unfortunately, there are no clues as to the identity of this woman nor the identity or location of the cabinet card photographer.

LETTICE FAIRFAX: THEATRE ACTRESS (PRETTY THE WAY AN ENGLISH GARDNER’S DAUGHTER IS PRETTY)

Lettice Fairfax, an English actress, is the subject of this cabinet card. Her first stage appearance in America was at Daly’s Theater in New York City. She had a role in “Number Nine” in December of 1897. The reviewer in the New York Times wrote that she was “a pretty, fragile and very nervous” actress. He also labelled her the “new ingenue” and reported that she was pretty the way an English Gardner’s daughter is pretty. I guess that means that she was pretty in “the girl next door”  kind of way.  The photographer of this cabinet card was famed theatre photographer, B. J. Falk and the photograph  is copyrighted in 1898. The reverse of the cabinet card is stamped “Charles L Ritzmann” of Broadway, New York.

CALIFORNIA COUPLE LOOKING NONE TOO PLEASED

A couple poses for a photograph at the studio of Hardesty & Armstrong in Santa Ana, California.  Both the man and woman in this cabinet card photograph look very unhappy. She looks particularly sour. The couple are nicely dressed; the woman is holding a fan and the man is holding a rolled piece of paper. Is he holding a wedding certificate for a wedding picture? Has he just graduated from a college? Is this a brother and sister? The answer is lost to history. Note the gentleman’s pocket watch.

Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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ADELE BELGARDE: THEATRE ACTRESS WITH QUESTIONABLE TALENT

This cabinet card portrait captures Adele Belgarde, an actress of the theatre. On August 22, 1879, the New York Times critic reviewed her performance in “Julia” The critic clearly was not impressed when he wrote “there is so much she attempts that she cannot do, and possibly would never be able to do.”  The critic also writes that her acting “was not sufficiently good” or warrant much praise. More information about this feather clad actress will be sought. The photographer of this cabinet card is Myers located on Broadway in New York City.

Published in: on December 10, 2009 at 8:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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