LILLIAN CARLYLE_0004A pretty actress exhibits poor posture as she poses in London, England, at the studio of Ellis & Wallery. The performers name is Miss Lilian Carlyle, and she appears to be pushing her chest out, possibly to amplify her ample bust. Is there a chiropractor in the house? Printing on the reverse of the photograph states that the studio was established in 1884.  The backdrop employed in this portrait is not particularly realistic but at least it doesn’t detract from the portrait and allows Miss Carlyle to be the major focus. Alfred Ellis (1854-1930) was an active photographer between 1884 and 1899. He operated a studio on Upper Baker Street in London. He was an original member and served in a number of offices for the Professional Photographers Association. He specialized in theatrical photography and sometimes photographed whole scenes inside his studio. He later went to theaters to photograph performers and play scenes. Ellis was very involved in working for copyright protection in the high courts. Between 1890 and 1900 Stanislaw Julian Ignacy, Count Ostrorog (1863-1935) joined Ellis in a studio partnership. Ostrorog had followed in the footsteps of his father Stanislaw Ostrorog (1830-1890). He also kept his father’s “photographer name”. The senior Ostorog had changed his name to “Stanislaw Walery” for professional purposes. The last name of “Walery” was derived from his wife’s name, “Waleria”. The elder Walery had set up his London studio in 1883. To view other photographs by Walery, click on the category “Photographer: Walery”.




bogardusA nicely groomed gentleman, dressed in formal clothing, poses for his portrait at the Bogardus studio in New York City. The subject has an imposing mustache and a rather austere expression.  Abraham Bogardus (1822-1908) was a descendent of Dutch settlers of New York’s Hudson Vallery. He opened a studio and gallery in New York in 1846. In 1849 he opened a branch gallery in Newark, New Jersey.   His business was very successful. Bogardus was a noted celebrity photographer. In 1868 he was one of the founders of the National Photographic Association and served as the organization’s President for five years. Bogardus was a major witness at the trial of William H. Mumler. Mumler was a “spirit photographer” and he was brought to trial for fraud. Bogardus was hired by P. T. Barnum to fake a photograph of him with the “ghost” of Abraham Lincoln. The image was used as an example of the ease at which a photographer could create fake photographs of ghosts. From 1871 through 1873 Bogardus partnered in owning his studio with Daniel and David Bendann. Bogardus was not a big advocate of extensive retouching. He spoke at national conferences about his belief in minimal intervention. The popular photographers Sarony and Mora did not support the minimalist approach. Mora worked particularly hard to create celebrity portraits with an idealized appearance. Bogardus’s philosophy caused him to be very popular with male portrait sitters. In fact, Cornelius Vanderbilt insisted that Bogardus be the only photographer allowed to sell his portrait. Wishing to retire in 1884, after 38 years of business, he put his studio up for sale and in the advertisement he stated that “The reputation of the gallery is too well known to require one word of comment”. Bogardus’s studio had been located at a number of New York City addresses and the photograph above was taken at his last location. Bogardus was also a talented writer. He published many articles in photography journals and in addition during much of the 1880’s he edited a well respected monthly entitled “The Camera”. The photograph below is a portrait of Abraham Bogardus.




touching photo

The Thomas B. Cowan studio captured these two wasp waisted women in a touching pose.The thin waists possessed by these two women didn’t come from spending hours at the gym and at palates classes. Tight fitting corsets are the likely causes of their remarkable figures. The young ladies have a family resemblance and it is quite possible that they are sisters. Thomas B. Cowan operated his studio in Jennette, Pensylvania.

Published in: on December 26, 2013 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The actress pictured in these cabinet cards is Corrine.  Corrine, like Elvis or Selena, was a performer that received national recognition and was known by just her first name. In the top portrait by celebrity photographer B. J. Falk, Corrine looks to be teenager or young adult. She is dressed in theatrical costume. Corinne was the daughter of actress Jennie Kimball. Kimball acted in the theater between 1865 and 1873. The year of her retirement, she became the mother of Corinne, who the New York Times (1896) labelled “the most famous of all the child actresses of this country”. It is not clear how Kimball and her husband came to raise Corinne, but is was speculated that she was adopted as an orphan. Kimball trained her young daughter for the stage. Corrine debuted in the theater at age two and a half.  At five years of age she played the part of  “Little Buttercup” in the Boston production of “Pinafore”. She played the role more than one hundred times. At fifteen years of age she was traveling as head of her own theater company. Jennie Kimball doubled as Corinne’s mother and manager. The New York Times (1896) reported that Corinne “was a goldmine” during her early days for Mrs. Kimball and remained a major money producer through the time the article was written. At the time the article appeared, Corinne was twenty-two years old.  Jennie Kimball’s successful management of her daughter’s career wasn’t appreciated by all observers. The New York Times (1881) asserted that the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children objected to the way Corinne was being raised and successfully pursued custody of the child. During the custody hearing, eight year-old Corinne was put on the stand and interrogated by the society’s lawyer. He asked her how many times she was photographed and she didn’t know but said “she was never photographed in tights nor with her limbs and breast exposed”. The lawyer’s questioning revealed that the child had never attended school. However, Jennie Kimball did give her “lessons” each morning. The lawyer then gave Corinne an impromptu writing/spelling test during her testimony. The attorney also prompted the child to say she had never attended sunday school and didn’t know what a bible was nor had she ever been taught anything about Jesus Christ. The society lawyer was initially able to convince the judge to remove the child from the custody of Mrs Kimball because she was “unlawfully exhibited and employed” in dancing, singing and acting on the theatrical stage. Mrs. Kimball was allowed to take her daughter for a brief period to change her clothing but was assigned an escort to insure that the child would be brought to the society. Mrs Kimball was advised by George Hackett, the manager of a Providence opera house that if she took her daughter from New York to Jersey City, New Jersey; the girl would be out of the courts jurisdiction and she could keep her daughter. Mrs. Kimball followed his suggestion, and allowed a man to spirit the child out of state. As a result, Mrs. Kimball was charged with abduction and she ended up back in court. After a short time, the judge considered all the testimony that he heard and decided to return Corinne to her parents (he called them guardians). He believed that they were loving toward the child and responsible enough to continue raising her. Interestingly, he had something to say about the religious angle pursued by the society lawyer. The judge wrote that the the US constitution protected Corinne’s parents from being punished for not providing religious education to their daughter.  Corinne continued her acting career and eventually became involved in burlesque theater. The New York Times (1894) wrote “Corinne has grown up and proves a lively and entertaining performer. The article adds that “she has no large share of original talent, musical or dramatic, but she can sing and dance “well enough”. The second cabinet card picturing Miss Corinne was published by Newsboy (#20 of a series). She is wearing jewelry galore and flowers in her hair. What is that contraption that she is wearing around her waist? Is it a pouch? If so, what is it meant to carry? Hopefully some cabinet card gallery visitors with fashion expertise can explain her unusual dress.



ROCHESTER GIRLThe little girl pictured in this cabinet card portrait is none too happy to be at J. W. Taylor’s studio in Rochester, New York. In fact, she looks bewildered about the entire experience. She is wearing a pretty dress with a bow tied in the front. To learn more about the photographer and to view more of his photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Taylor JW”.


Published in: on December 24, 2013 at 12:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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brooklyn weddingThis photograph captures a wedding party which likely includes the bride, groom, best man, and maid of honor. The bride has garlands of ribbon cascading from her bouquet. She is wearing a locket and bracelet. The groom is wearing gloves. The photographer is A. Werner and he operated his studio out of Brooklyn, New York. August Werner is listed as a Brooklyn photographer in both the 1900 and 1920 Federal Census. For much of his career his studio was located at 709 Broadway. He was born in Germany in 1863, immigrated to the US in 1874 and married his wife Kate in 1888.


Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  
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CZECH KIDS_0004Three adorable young siblings pose for their portrait at the studio of Antonin Schilder in Roudnici, Czechoslovakia. The kids are wearing adorable expressions and are beautifully dressed.  The child seated on the right in the image looks ready to pop out of his seat.


Published in: on December 22, 2013 at 5:38 pm  Leave a Comment  
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onri_0006Newsboy published this cabinet card portrait of stage performer Adele Purvis Onri. The photograph was produced to be utilized as a premium with the sale of tobacco products. It was number 110 in a series. This somewhat risque portrait captures Miss Onri in action, but what kind of action? Research reveals that she was a burlesque performer.  Her name appears in a number of sources but generally articles containing her name provide little information about her. Apparently she was not a major theater personality. The New York Times (1893) announced her appearance as part of the cast of “Lovely Meteor” at the Eden Musee. Onri makes another appearance in the N Y Times (1897) and in this article the reporter describes her appearance at Koster & Bials Theater. The writer asserts that “one of the most attractive features of the long and interesting bill was the performance of a graceful young woman called Adele Purvis-Onri who did some difficult posing on the slack wire, and intricate juggling and serpentine dancing or a revolving  globe”.  Reading between the lines, it is clear that Onri was performing burlesque acts of a risque nature. The New York Times (1902) notes that she appeared in vaudeville at the Twenty-third Street Theater and was a “sensational dancer”.  The reverse of this cabinet card is stamped indicating it was owned by “Culver Pictures” of New York City. The Culver company charged newspapers and magazines for the use of photographs owned by Culver. To view more photographs by Newsboy, click on the category “Photographer: Newsboy”. To view more images of stage actresses, click on the category “Actresses”.


buffalowoman_0003A lovely young woman wearing a stunning ruffled dress poses for her photograph at the Stuart studio in Buffalo, New York. She holds a feather covered hat on her lap. The woman is posed in a way where she is looking at the camera, but she appears to be lost in her thoughts. Research found a genealogical site that identifies the photographer as being Calvin A. Stuart (1844-1925) who was active in the Buffalo area between 1874 and sometime in the 1880’s. Stuart’s wife, Helen, also worked in the photography business.


Published in: on December 19, 2013 at 7:35 pm  Leave a Comment  
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chicago musician_0002

A musician poses for his portrait at the Rocher studio in Chicago, Illinois. He is playing a large stringed instrument with a bow. I can not identify the instrument and assistance from knowledgable cabinet card gallery visitors would be appreciated. Note the fireplace and fancy chair in the background. The musician is unidentified but is likely someone professional, and not a random person using the instrument as a prop for their portrait. In fact, Henry Rocher (1826-1887) was known for being a celebrity photographer. However, most of all, he is considered the one Chicago photographer who could compete technically and artistically with the great photographers in New York City. The great celebrity photographer Sarony, may have had an advantage by possessing exceptional ability to pose his subjects. Rocher’s nephew and disciple, Max Platz, was also quite a talented and successful photographer. Rocher was known to employ a number of women as operators, including “Miss Garrity” who was a successful photographer in Louisville, Kentucky and in Chicago. To view portraits by Miss Garrity, click on the category “Photographer: Garrity”. Rocher came to the US in 1856. He arrived from Germany, where he had originally learned photography.He was one of the founders of the Photographers Association of America (1880).