LITTLE GIRL POSING IN NEW YORK CITY FOR PHOTOGRAPHER WHO WAS “SHABBILY TREATED BY CUPID”

A little girl poses for her portrait at the studio of J. K. Cole in New York City. She is wearing a light jacket and holding what appears to be, a walking stick. Her sun hat lies on the floor beside her. She has a serious expression as gazes at the camera. The New York Times (1893) reported that Cole was “shabbily treated by cupid”. The author noted that the  38 year-old photographer did not want this story published and that  Cole “admits the truth of the narrative but declares that it is a private affair and refuses to discuss it”.  Cole and the young lady in this story, were childhood friends. As they grew older, his friendship grew into love. Five years before this story appeared, they were to be married. However, without notice to Mr. Cole, she suddenly married another man who was “more abundantly blessed with earthly goods” than was Cole. Cole was quite “cast down” but he eventually recovered. Soon after the wedding, Cole’s ex-girlfriend’s marriage ended, after her husband’s mother expressed great disapproval about the pairing. When Cole learned of the separation, he returned to his beloved, and she promised to marry him. As Cole  was boarding his carriage to go to his wedding, he received a message from his fiance stating she was ill and needed some days to recover before marrying. Cole sent a firm message back to his fiance stating that the minister was waiting, all arrangements had been made, and that they needed to at once, proceed with the wedding. The messenger failed to deliver the message and failed to inform Cole of his inability to find his fiance. The next day, Cole’s fiance sent a letter to him that was critical of his failure to visit her when she was ill. Cole explained to his girlfriend the confusion caused by the undelivered message of the previous night, and the two decided to reschedule their wedding for the coming evening, just hours away. Cole dressed for the wedding , drove to her home, and waited in the parlor, talking  with his future mother-in-law. While they chatted, a little girl ran in the parlor crying out, “Lizzie has gone and run away with her old husband”. Both Mr. Cole and his intended to be mother-in-law, collapsed in shock. Ironically, Lizzie and her ex-husband, remarried using the same minister that Cole had hired to perform his wedding. Apparently, reliability and stability were not some of Lizzie’s greatest assets.

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think your photo may be of a boy. The hair is parted to the side which was a device used to distinguish between the genders, since both wore dresses.

    • Perhaps the child is a boy. I thought the child’s part was closer to the center of her head than the side but was definitely uncertain about the child’s gender. The sun hat cast the deciding vote. I thought the hat appeared to be a feminine item of headwear. However, you may be right; she may be a he. Hopefully, the child was more certain about his/her gender identity.

  2. I think he was well rid of her, but I like that expression, “shabbily treated by Cupid.” I think I may have to use it some time, at an appropriate moment.

    I’m not convinced about the child’s gender one way or the other, and I’ve seen so many exceptions to the centre/side parting rule that I am forever cautious about its reliability. I trust, however, that Cupid favoured him/her a little better, in due course, than it did Mr Cole.

  3. Love these photos and blog, but I agree with others that this is a boy. The outfit and the hat are similar to several cabinet cards in our family album, and I know who those people are – my father and grandfather for instance. This outfit is not feminine, but rather what they dressed boys in. All the girls had long curly hair – never short. Also the walking stick as well as the pose are definitely masculine.

    Thanks for sharing the photo. I think it’s great.

  4. For what it is worth, my first impression was that it was a boy..part of the hair, length and stance..and no frills on the clothing..it is a charming photo:)


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