This cabinet card features a family portrait taken at the Lenhart’s studio in Allentown, Pennsylvania. There is a real contrast of facial expressions between mother and father in this image. The mother of this family appears calm and bright eyed; and she has a pleasant smile. The father is looking quite haggard, depressed, and disoriented. Maybe he is finding the children exhausting, or perhaps; he has fallen upon hard economic times. Writing on the reverse of the photograph provides the answer. “Well I’m living here in Allentown. And it’s hard to keep a good man down. But I won’t be getting up today. And its getting very hard to stay. And we’re living here in Allentown”. Ok. These words are not really on the back of the image. The words are actually lyrics to Billy Joel’s hit song, “Allentown”. Sorry, I couldn’t resist the temptation. The photographer of this cabinet card is Thomas Lenhart. He was a talented photographer and one of his photographs is exhibited in the American Museum of Photography. The cabinet card displayed is a double self portrait. It is called a double self portrait because the image captures Lenhart taking a photograph of himself. In other words, he assumes two different poses in the same photograph. Lenhart is known to have operated in Allentown between 1894 and 1899. It is very possible that he was located there before and after those years; but no documentation for other years has been found. To view other photographs by Lenhart, click on cabinet card gallery’s category “Photographer: Lenhart”.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The difference in the couple’s expression was the first thing I noticed.

  2. This is a beautiful photo. And you reeled me in perfectly with the comment about the wife’s beautiful smile and husband’s dour expression. Then the quote. Wait a minute. Those are the words to a song I know…
    I cracked up…

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