This cabinet card features five members of a brass band dressed in uniform. The band band does not appear to be  an “ordinary” community band. The woman seated in the center of the bottom row has a bible on her lap. The band has the look of a salvation army band but they are not wearing salvation army uniforms. Most likely, these musicians are members of a religious based service organization. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to identify the organization that these band members represent. This cabinet card is notable for its clarity and for the detailed view of the musical instruments. The photographer of this cabinet card was the Hillman studio of Richland Center, Wisconsin.  The 1900 US census reports that William J. Hillman was a 51 year-old photographer, born in New York, and living in Richland Center with his wife Caroline (age 54) and his son Charles B. (age 22). Charles B.Hillman was listed as working as a photographer. The Photographic Times (1907) printed a paper read by Hillman. The paper was entitled ” The Successful Photographer” and the advice given in his presentation was excellent and would  be relevant and helpful to modern day business owners. If Hillman was alive today, he would have been an incredible business consultant. The Bulletin of Photography (1914) contains an announcement that the Hillman studio was sold to Frank Dickson.


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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. the young man (sitting) and woman (standing behind him) to the left look like brother and sister.

  2. They do like part of some religious sect– their clothes look very simple and almost clerical. interesting to see women back then playing horns– for some reason, that strikes me as incongruous of the 19th century.

  3. The expression on the face of the woman seated says, “oh really, just take the photo, so we can get on with . . .” ! Since she does not have an instrument but a bible, perhaps she preceded the playing with a reading?

  4. The man seated at right front holding his euphonium was my Great Uncle Frank E. Dickson. He purchased the Richland Center photo studio from Wm. Hillman in 1914. Frank joined the circus at the age of 13 and and played in the bands of “Popcorn Hall” and the Gollmar Brothers Circuses before returning to Richland Cntr. Frank’s wife Maggie (Murphy) Dickson assisted him in his photo studio. He later played in big band orchestras in Chicago where he also worked as a WPA photographer for the parks dept.
    The little brass band shown in this photograph was likely just a local one-a gathering of friends who enjoyed playing music. Frank and Maggie had no religious-based formal orchestra that I am aware of, although they were members of the local catholic church. I suspect, but cannot prove that Maggie is seated in the center and their son Paul is seated at the left. Their daughter Maurine may be one of the women standing. Frank’s family, including his birth family were very musically inclined.

  5. Thank you so much for providing additional information about this photograph. The photograph itself is quite interesting as is the background information that you provided.

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