MESSY HAIR GIRLSTwo sisters with identical lacy white dresses and identical frowns pose for an unknown photographer in an unknown location. The bottom of this cabinet card has been trimmed creating a mystery about the origin  of this photograph. Both girls have mussed hair. The photographer and the girls parent(s) appear to have not given a thought to combing the girl’s hair before taking this portrait.


Published in: on June 30, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  


calumet girlThis photograph captures a beautiful young girl wearing a big hat. Her adorable outfit includes a white dress, plaid jacket,white tights and white shoes. She is also wearing a ring and necklace. The image was produced by the Herman gallery in Calumet, Michigan. The photographer, Victor Herman, did an excellent job of posing the child. An advertisement for Herman’s studio can be seen in the Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory (1897) and he is listed in other directories from about 1886 through 1910.

Published in: on June 29, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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ACTRESS DURBIN_0001This cabinet card features actress Maude Durbin. Isaacc Marcosson in his book Adventures in Interviewing (1919) described Durbin as “a lovely and gracious actress representing in character and purpose the highest type of her profession”. Durbin was also known as an author. She was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and made her debut with Helen Modjeska’s theater company. She married actor Otis Skinner and and was the mother of actress Cornelia Otis Skinner. This image comes from the B. F. Devinney studio in Moberly, Missouri.


MONTAGUE_0003One wouldn’t think that a man could wear a checkered tie with a checkered jacket and still look dashing, but theater actor H. J. Montague is able to accomplish this feat. The photographer of this cabinet card portrait is theater specialist, Jose Mora. To view more of his celebrity photographs, click on category “Photographer: Mora”. The reverse of this image has an address and a return address as if it had been mailed. However, there is no stamp or postmark. The photograph is addressed to a “Jane Mure” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The script is written in very ornate calligraphy. Surprisingly, both the return and sending addresses have Philadelphia zip codes. Since zip codes are from the twentieth century (1963), it appears that someone may have added the ornate script to give the card more character but wasn’t aware, or not thinking about, the relative recent introduction of the zip code system. Henry James Montague (1844-1878) was the stage name of Henry James Mann. He was an American actor born in England. He appeared in T W Robertson’s comedies in London and in 1870 was a founder of London’s Vaudeville Theater. He came to the United States in 1874 and made quite a splash. He became a matinee idol. George Odell wrote that Montague was “a perfect specimen of refined English Manhood”. He was said to have “made other leading men seem boorish, ill dressed and possibly a bit vulgar”. Montague died quite young, about 34 years old. According to the New York Times (1878) while playing a role in a San Francisco production, he fell extremely ill from a “hemorrhage of the lungs”. He required medical attention from some theater goers and was taken to a hotel to recuperate. He rallied only briefly. During a visit from friends he became acutely ill and his last words as he was dying were reported to be,  “It’s no use, I am going boys; God bless you”. The New York Times covered his funeral. Attendees of his funeral include the “A” list of that era’s theater world. Mourners included Lester Wallack, Kate Claxton, Rose Coghlan, and Maud Granger. The afore mentioned three actresses all have portraits that can be viewed in the Cabinet Card Gallery by utilizing the search box.


OREGON KIDS_0001Two adorable young children pose for their photographic portrait at the Winter studio in Brownsville, Oregon. The little boy is wearing knickers and the little girl wears curls. The photographer of this image is John A. Winter (1831-?). He was born in Ohio of Ohioan parents. He was active as a photographer in a number of Oregon cities including Eugene, Albany, and Jefferson. He was in business in Brownsville during the 1890’s. Winter owned a sheep ranch near Brownsville that totaled over 900 acres of land. From 1888 until 1900, he was the official photographer of Oregon State University. To learn more about John Winter, click on the category “Photographer: Winter”.


JENNIE ELHORN_0003This cabinet card was produced by New York City photographer Marc Gambier and features stage actress Miss Jennie Elhorn? (Elkorn?, Elborn?). Initial research revealed no information about actresses with any of these three names. It is only an assumption that the subject of this photograph is an actress. The notion that she is a theatrical performer was derived from the “look” of the image and the fact that Gambier was known for his stage actress photographs.  To view other photographs by Gambier, and to learn more about him, click on the category “Photographer: Gambier”.

Published in: on June 22, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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calif girl and dollThis cabinet card features a pretty young girl posing for her portrait while she holds her doll. The girl has a serious expression as she looks into the distance. She is wearing a necklace and has a bow in her hair. The photographer is Oscar Victor Lange (1853-1913)  of San Francisco, California. He was a leading photographer in San Francisco and also was known as a landscape painter. He was born in Hoboken New Jersey to German immigrants. His family name was “Fahrenberg”. His father was a portrait painter and his family moved around alot. The 1860’s found them in New Orleans and in the 1870’s the family lived in Texas. During the 1870’s Oscar moved to San Francisco where he worked with Ernest W. Newth producing stereographs. At this time he changed his last name to “Lange”. In the 1880’s Oscar opened his own San Francisco studio on Market Street and during the 1890’s he relocated to Montgomery Street. Lange was known for his urban architectural photographs and also for his portraits of railroad workers. He is also noted for his astronomical photographs taken with the University of California. Lange died in 1913 from tuberculosis.

Published in: on June 21, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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VERMONT MILITIAAccording to the previous owner of this photograph, the military officer pictured is a member of the St. Johnsbury Guard which was part of the 1st Vermont Infantry. The medal on his chest reveals that he is a 5 year veteran. The photographer of this image is Olin W. Chase who had studios at various times during his career at 32 Main Street and 47 Main Street in St. Johnsbury. The 1896  St. Johnsbury business directory reports that he was married to Mary J. Chase. He is listed in the 1901 directory as being in business in St. Johnsbury but the 1904 directory indicates that Chase had relocated to Greenfield, Massachusetts.

Published in: on June 20, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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UGLY BEARD_0003The gentleman pictured in this cabinet card photograph was clearly experiencing “a bad beard day”. The previous owner of this photograph stated that “this is what happens when you shave with a hangover”. This scraggly bearded man seems to have chopped the left side of his beard shorter than the right side. The beard seems to have been styled to look like a muskrat. The photographer of this image is C. H. Hanchett of Arlington Heights, Illinois. He also had studios in Richmond and Wauconda, Illinois. The Arlington Heights studio was at Dunton Avenue and Miner Street. To view other interesting beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best)”. If there was a category “Beards (Only the Worst)”, I would have placed it there.

Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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GLOVERSVILLE COUPLE_0001A nicely dressed young couple pose for their portrait at the Girard studio in Gloversville, New York. The gentleman is wearing striped pants and his pocket watch chain is visible under his jacket. The woman in the photograph is wearing a look of strength and confidence as she rests her hand on her husband’s shoulder.  Frederick Girard is the photographer of this cabinet card. An advertisement for his studio appears in the Daily Leader (1890), a Gloversville newspaper. Girard was born in Canada and appears in the 1880 US census as a photographer in Gloversville. He worked with a photographer named David Scidmore.

Published in: on June 18, 2013 at 2:50 pm  Leave a Comment  
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