This cabinet card portrait features a uniformed British soldier in India. At least that is the opinion of the previous owner of this photograph. For all I know, this may be a photograph of a French soldier in France. Hopefully, one of Cabinet Cards Gallery’s  visitors, knowledgeable about military history and uniforms, will be able to tell us with certainty which nation’s army this gentleman represents.  The photographer of this crisp, clear, and riveting image is the Bourne & Sheperd studio. The Bourne & Sheperd studio was established in 1863. It is the oldest photographic studio still in operation. It was the most successful commercial firm in 19th and early 20th century India and it had outlets in Paris and London as well as a mail-order service. Samuel Bourne came to India in 1863 and partnered with an established Calcutta photographer. Charles Sheperd had partnered with a photographer in Agra in 1862. The two men joined forces in Shimla. Among his accomplishments, Bourne  was known for his photographic expeditions to the Himalayans and Kashmir. He became celebrated as one of India’s best photographers. While Bourne was off making himself famous, Sheperd wasn’t just sitting home eating curried chicken and naan. Sheperd became known as a master printer. The partners opened a studio in Calcutta which became their flagship. They became the photographers of Indian Royalty and the British elite. In 1870 Bourne went back to England and opened a cotton mill and became a magistrate. In 1879 Sheperd returned to England. The partners continued to operate the Indian studios with continued success for a number of years. Since then, the studio has had multiple owners.


The subject of this portrait is Charlotte Casterline of Hammondsport, New York. Her name is pencil written on the reverse of the photograph along with the initials “G. S. N. S.”. The image is dated “1898”. The photographer of this portrait is Ada Houseknecht of Batavia, New York. Research found a cabinet card photographed by Houseknecht Brothers studio located at 106 Main Street in Batavia. The studio was active from 1880 until 1949. A separate investigation revealed that Batavia was the home of a studio operated by Beecher (1858-1930) and Ada Houseknecht (1871-?). Beecher went to work for photographer William Wilson in 1880 and bought out the studio. Ada started as a photo retoucher but became a full time photographer with her husband, Beecher. She was one of the first female professional photographers in the state of New York. She took over the studio when Beecher died in 1930. Little could be discovered about Charlotte Casterline. The 1899 Annual Report of the Superintendent (New York) notes that Charlotte graduated from the Normal School in Geneseo, New York. She was 0ne of the few students in the school who majored in science. After completing some research about Miss Casterline, it seems likely that this photograph was taken at her graduation from the Geneseo State Normal School (G. S. N. S. ?).


This cabinet card features a portrait of burlesque actress and impresario,  Ada Richmond.  Richmond was from Chicago and when her businessman father died she was sent to Boston to study music. She was encouraged by a theater manager to try the burlesque stage and she became very successful in that genre of theater. The Milwaukee Daily Journal (1885) has an article in it’s theater section about the opening of Ada Richmond’s American Burlesque Company’s version of “The Sleeping Beauty”. She headed the company and performed in it. She was known as the “handsomest woman” on the burlesque stage. The article also points out that Ada Richmond was the widow of Billy Bost, a well known New York politician and “sporting character” who was shot and killed three years earlier in a political dispute. This cabinet card was photographed by celebrity photographer, Gurney. Ada Richmond looks quite angelic in this portrait and is wearing exquisite matching jewelry. The photographer’s logo on the reverse of the photograph has a symbol with the following words “I have chained the sun to serve me”. This likely is an advertisement for the studio’s electric lights which would improve the quality of customer’s photographs. A stamp on the reverse of the cabinet card notes that it was part of the “Harold Seton” collection. Harold Seton was a journalist, author and collector of theatrical photographs. He wrote a column for Theatre Magazine. To learn more about Seton and to see other photographs that were part  of the collection, click on the category “Harold Seton Collection”.


A young woman poses for her portrait at the Bishop studio in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. The woman appears pleasant and quite relaxed. Unlike most cabinet card subjects, she is actually displaying a bit of a smile. The photographer, Henry Bishop, is mentioned in some accounts of the Confederate incursion into Pennsylvania during the civil war. According to Historical Reminiscences of the War  (1884), published by the Kittochtinny Historical Society, it seems that Bishop met southern General A. P. Hill in the street near his studio. They had a conversation in which General Hill asked Bishop about some of the people he had known in the area while Hill was stationed at nearby Carlisle Barracks before the war. Hill told Bishop that General Lee was on his way to town to meet with him. While he was telling Bishop that Lee was coming, Lee’s approach was seen in the distance. Bishop hurried back to his studio to prepare to  capture a picture of General Lee. He opened the studio’s windows and pointed the camera lens out the window. Unfortunately for Bishop, Lee and Hill’s meeting on the street was a brief one, and he was unable to capture the historic scene.


This cabinet card features a well dressed man posing for his portrait at the studio of Phillip E. Chillman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This gentleman looks like an intellectual. Perhaps its his wire rim glasses and well trimmed beard that contributes to his appearance of  intellectual prowess. However, I think his expressive eyes are what makes him appear so  bright. His eyes can best be described as analytical. This guy is taking it all in, and processing it. To learn more about the photographer, and to view more of his photographers, click on the category “Photographer: Chillman”.

Published in: on September 26, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card portrait features a well dressed  young African American man wearing wire rim glasses. He has a terrific mustache and sideburns. His name is written on the reverse of the photograph (“R. L. Woods”). The photographer is Devenport and the studio was located in Waxahachie, Texas. Perry F. Devenport is identified in the 1900 US census as being forty-three years old and living in Waxahachie with his wife Marie and their three children. He was working as a supervisor for the city water company. He is also cited in the 1920 census but by that time he was sixty-five years of age and married to a forty-four year old woman named Caudia (Candice). In the 1920 census, Perry and Caudia Devenport were both listed as photographers. Interestingly, Caudia is cited in a number of photography journals. She was on the necrology committee of the Professional Photographers Association of Texas according to the Bulletin of Photography (1917). The Photographic Journal of America (1917) announced that she had won some photography awards. To view other cabinet card photographs of African Americans, click on the category “African Americans”.


This cabinet card features pretty actress Nellie Howe in a risque stage costume. The photographer and the location of the studio that produced this image is unknown. Research revealed no  information about Miss Howe. This photograph is likely an early cabinet card, dating back to the 1870’s or 1880’s.

Published in: on September 23, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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A young woman poses for the camera at the studio of Arthur & Philbric in Detroit, Michigan. She is wearing an unusually loud patterned blouse. Note the subjects fingerless gloves and collar pin. The Arthur & Philbric Studio had galleries in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as in Toledo, Ohio. Research revealed some information about James Arthur (1855-1912). He was a native of Montreal, Canada and first began work as a photographer with the well known  J. and J. W. Notman studio. He came to Detroit in 1881 and went to work with photographer J. E. Watson. In 1883 he became senior partner in the firm of Arthur & Philbric and they remained in business together for eight years. He then became sole proprietor of a firm called Arthur Studios. Research also yielded information about Philbric. Most notable is that Philbric was a woman. Her name was Helen M. Philbric and her name appears in Michigan business directories as Arthur’s partner between 1884 and 1893. No other information about Philbric was discovered. To view the work of other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.


This cabinet card features a couple posing for their portrait at the studio of A. H. Hall in Chatsworth, Illinois. The gentleman has an interesting long and narrow beard, The woman has a dress with many buttons and is wearing a pin on her collar. Note the mans hat is on the floor directly in front of where the couple is sitting. It is not uncommon to see cabinet card portraits that include hats prominently displayed on the floor. Perhaps the hats were viewed as important enough to belong in the picture but it was considered inappropriate to wear hats indoors. The couple in this photograph are identified on the reverse as Joseph and Ella Francis.  Investigation reveals that Joseph Francis served in the civil war. In 1864 he enlisted as a private in Company D of the Illinois 45th Infantry Regiment.He mustered out as a private in 1865.  The 1880 US census identifies Joseph S. Francis (1846-1930) as a farmer of Irish descent living in Illinois. The 1910 census finds the Ohio born, Francis living in Forrest, Illinois and working as a railroad car inspector. He was 64 years old at the time and living with his wife Ella Svedaker Williamson Francis (1862-1938) and four of their children. The 1930 census that Joseph Francis, at age 84, was still employed. He was working as an assessor for his township. Research found death certificates for both Joseph (1930) and Ella (1938).  The photographer of this image was Albert H. Hall. The History of Livingston County (1878) provides a brief biography of Hall. He was born in 1849 and at age 22 went to Chicago to learn the trade of photography. In 1872 he moved to Chartsworth and opened a photography and gem gallery. He married a woman named Dora Knapp.


This cabinet card features a portrait of adorable siblings named Herman and Clara Stephens and a porcelain doll standing on a miniature chair. The children are wearing overalls and cute hats. The photograph was produced by the Mickelson studio in Dwight, Illinois. The photograph is dated 1897.

Published in: on September 19, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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