PORTRAIT OF CHARLOTTE CASTERLINE IN BATAVIA, NEW YORK (FEMALE PHOTOGRAPHER, 1898)

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. ?).

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  1. I’ve a cabinet card also by Ada Houseknecht, with a similar horizontal orientation and another strong, individualized image of a young woman. I can’t paste it in the comments, but if you message me via my own blog, happy to share the image. Love your blog — great images.


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