WOMAN IN CHAINS (STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA)

This cabinet card features a woman in chains. The previous sentence, and the title of this blog entry, may be misleading because the woman isn’t exactly in chains; instead, she is wearing a chain necklace. Don’t you hate those sensational headlines that are aimed to manipulate you to watch a particular news show, or read a certain newspaper? Sorry! This lady’s name is “Emmie” according to a notation on the reverse of the cabinet card. She is thin, pretty and curly haired. The chain she is wearing has a pin attached to her collar and also has a charm or locket. Ironically, the charm resembles a  modern day pet identification tag. This image was photographed by Batchelder of Stockton, California. Perez Mann Batchelder (1818-1873) was a daguerreotypist, ambrotypist, and photographer active in a number of areas in California, including Sonora, Stockton, Vallecito, Murphy’s Camp, and Mokelumne Hill. He also operated studios in Melbourne, Australia (he followed the gold rush occurring down under) and Boston, Massachusetts. He worked in all of these locales over a short period of time. He clearly did not let moss grow under his feet. Batchelder with his brothers Nathaniel, Freeman, and Benjamin Pierce founded a daguerreian dynasty which in the 1850’s and 1860’s established dozens of galleries on both coasts of the United States and in Australia. Batchelder travelled incessantly and operated many enterprises simultaneously. He was born in Massachusetts and entered photography as a career in 1844. The book, “Pioneer Photographers of the Far West: A Biographical Dictionary” (2000) was the source of much of the information about Perez Batchelder.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This cabinet card is my favorite so far (Girl in chains from Sacramento, CA.) Keep up the good work!

  2. But”in chains” seems to be so matching – or could it be “enchanted”? The special necklace she wears, shows a heart: it might symbolize exactly your words as “engaged” in some ways, with a person or an idea.

  3. I have some of Batchelder’s Australian CDVs here.
    http://www.junkshopsnapshots.blogspot.com/search/label/P%20M%20Batchelder
    I’m thinking this was taken after he returned Australia but I didn’t know he went back to California. Did you know he was involved in the first successful aerial photograph?

  4. Also, it could have been one of his brothers. Forgotten pioneers of photography the Batchelders.

  5. Thanks for the interesting and informative comment and link concerning Perez Batchelder. He and his brothers were clearly talented entrepreneurs and had the insight to keep pace with the quick changing pace of early photography. They, and other extremely successful photographers of their era, must have possessed the same talent and traits that present day mega successful business leaders use to develop and operate their ventures. I have researched the biographies of many early photographers and the majority of their stories are very fascinating. In addition, a number of these individuals had quite impressive accomplishments outside the field of photography. Perhaps the finding that many of these photographers had interesting and accomplished lives can be explained by the hypothesis that most people who entered the photography field tended to be creative and to possess the courage to risk going into their own business. Creativity and risk taking may be among the ingredients required to live a fascinating and highly productive life.

  6. I wonder if someone’s name is etched on that locket? Such a hidden message – yet in plain sight!


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