A young girl in a fancy dress poses for her graduation portrait. She is holding a rolled diploma which is pressed against the keyboard of a piano. There are scattered books atop the piano. A ribbon hangs over the books and the ribbon has lettering on it. Magnification indicates that part of the wording says “Class of 1887” and has a drawing of a building on it (is the building a school?). The photographer of the image is B. F. Freeman whose studio was located At 42 Broadway in East Somerville, Massachusetts. Freeman was listed as a photograher in the Somerville City Directory (1883) and the New England Business Directory (1889).

Published in: on October 31, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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The Trimble studio of Nebraska City, Nebraska,  produced this photograph of an elderly man with a bristly beard and a bushy mustache. Take a look at this man’s eyes. They seem like tired eyes. The 1900 US census identifies Henry (age 29) and Robert (age 54) as being photographers in Nebraska City. Henry was married to a woman named Maggie and Robert’s wife was named Martha. To view other cabinet card images of interesting beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best).


A pretty young woman poses for her portrait at the Falk studio in Sydney, Australia. She is beautifully dressed, and has an attractive figure (give an assist to her corset). The photographer of this image was quite well known in his time. Henry Walter Barnett (1862-1934) was born in St. Kilda, Victoria. His parents were London-born Jews. Barnett began his career as an assistant to photographer Robert Stewart in 1875. When he was 21 years old he set up a studio in Hobart. He sold it to his partner in 1884 and went to London where he joined society photographers W. & D. Downey (click on cabinet card gallery category “Photographer: W & D Downey” to see some of their photographs). He returned to Australia and opened the Falk Studios in Sydney in 1887. He quickly became of the leading portrait photographers in the country. The Australian Dictionary of Biography states that “he was distinguished for his ability to bring out bone-structure and texture of the skin.” He was known as a perfectionist and he employed the most skilled craftsmen to work in his studio. He was said to have a flair for conducting business, paying little attention to cost. However, he asked “unheard-of-fees” for his services. Among his sitters were many celebrities, including Sarah Bernhardt and many other theatrical stars. In 1889 he married 20 year-old Hilda (Ella) Frances Clement Forbes”. The couple became known for their lavish entertaining. In 1896 Barnett became involved in early Australian Cinematography when he filmed scenes of the Melbourne Cup. In 1897 Barnett relocated to London where he operated a studio at Hyde Park Corner and later at Knightsbridge. His subjects included many royals and high society individuals. In 1920 Barnett sold his studio and retired in Southern France. He could not rest long and soon was involved in the collection and sale of contemporary French art.


A cute little girl in an adorable outfit, stands on a covered chair at the Bairstow studio in Warren, Pennsylvania. She has a very expressive face and eyes and her expression seems to connote fear or concern. The child’s name, “Ella Hall”  is noted on the reverse of the photograph. There were too many Ella Hall’s in the Warren area to allow for uncovering biographical information about the Ella Hall in this photograph.The photographer, James R Bairstow was born in England in 1856, entered the United States in 1878,  and was married to Mary S. Bairstow. A collection of Bairstow’s photographs are held by the Warren County Historical Society. The Bairstow studio was run by Bairstow’s son, David (1884-1968), making it a two generation business. To view other  photographs by Bairstow, click on the category “Photographer: Bairstow”.

Published in: on October 28, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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R. F. Snyder of Elmira, New York produced this cabinet card photograph of a young gypsy woman. One can not be certain whether this image displays a young gypsy woman, or a young woman dressed to appear as a gypsy. She is wearing the appropriate ethnic clothing and is holding cymbals. The reverse of the photograph has a copyright date of 1889. This cabinet card does not represent good quality posing skills on the part of the photographer. The subject was photographed at too great a distance and she is consumed by the large blank expanse of the floor beneath her and the wall behind her. Ralph F. Snyder was born about 1852 in Berwick, Pennsylvania. His father, John Snyder, was a photographer. Ralph Snyder began his photography career at age 18 and soon had a studio in Scranton, Pennsylvania (1873). He also worked in Philadelphia before coming to Elmira, New York to open his gallery. His studio in Elmira was located at 116 Baldwin (1891).

Published in: on October 27, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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A young man wearing a salvation army sweater (note the lettering on the garment), poses for his portrait at the Kopke studio in Brooklyn, New Yok. He is holding two newspapers, one of which is the “War Cry”. The “War Cry” is the official salvation army news publication. Its first publication date in the United States was 1881. I can not identify the second newspaper. Hopefully a member of the cabinet card gallery community (visitors) will be able to assist in identifying the name of the second newspaper.  To view other photographs by Kopke, click on the category “Photographer: Kopke”.

Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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This cabinet card, features an actress with a tragic story. The New York Times (1887) reported a story about Maggie Arlington’s funeral. Arlington was a stage actress. Her funeral was held at her home at 106 East 54th Street in New York City. The article states that her home was full of flower arrangements including a large arrangement from her fiance, Eddie Godschalk. Miss Arlington died from pneumonia which was reported to be secondary from a fall. The fall occurred when she was leaning over a dumb-waiter shaft in her home and slipped and fell sixty five feet. She broke both of her legs as well as one of her arms. She also sustained major bruises. She developed pneumonia shortly thereafter. Arlington was born in 1853 in Lawrence, Massachusetts and was originally named Margaret Ryerson. She began professional acting in St. Louis in 1872. She married the nephew of a United States Navy admiral. Her husband objected to her continuing her acting career so she divorced him. She had one son who was ten years old at the time of her death. Maggie Arlington does not seem to have been a major theatrical star as research yielded little about her stage career. However, her profession and the unusual tragic cause of her death, earned her an obituary story in the New York Times. This cabinet card was photographed by celebrity photographer Napoleon Sarony. To view other photographs by Sarony, click on the category “Photographer: Sarony”.



This cabinet card photograph features a young girl posed to look like a cherub. This angelic child has wings and a whimsical expression. The photographer is Charles Reutlinger who operated a studio in Paris, France. Reutlinger was quite renowned, especially for the many wonderful portraits he produced featuring beautiful European actresses and dancers. To view other photographs by Reutlinger, click on the category “Photographer: Reutlinger”.  I can not identify the “T” shaped band-aid looking object on the child’s right shoulder. Hopefully, a cabinet card gallery visitor will leave a comment explaining the mystery object.

Published in: on October 24, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (5)  
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This cabinet card features adorable siblings posing for their portrait at the Setzer studio in St. Louis, Missouri. The photographer is Theodore E. Setzer. Setzer operated his studio from the South Broadway address from about 1890 until 1910,  according to one photographer reference book. Between 1885 and 1890 he conducted business from that address as Setzer & Roth.

Published in: on October 23, 2012 at 12:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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A well dressed and intense looking couple pose for their portrait at the studio of I. N. Hays in Kenton, Ohio. They do not look like they are having fun. The woman his holding flowers, a hat, and a handkerchief. The gentleman is holding his straw hat. Magnify this photograph and you will see the gentleman has a very interesting mustache. The photographer who produced this photograph was Isaac Newton Hays. He was born in Ohio in 1835 and operated studios at various times in various towns in Ohio. He was active in Greenville from about 1865 until 1870. He left there for Kenton between 1875 and 1879. He later returned to Greenville and also did business in Wapakoneta. He returned to Kenton where he ran his studio from 1891 through at least 1898. At one time, his Kenton studio was located at the corner of Detroit and Columbus Streets. Isaac Hays left the photography studio and entered the recording studio to become a celebrated soul singer and song writer. He won two Grammy awards and wrote the “Theme from Shaft”. Just kidding! Obviously Isaac Hays, the photographer, and Isaac Hayes, the musician, are two different people from two different eras.

Published in: on October 22, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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