This cabinet card features a young woman wearing a pair of unusual eyeglasses. The spectacles are of the pince-nez var iety and what makes the glasses odd are the dark color and the thickness of the frames. This portrait was produced by the Tuttle Studio in Belfast, Maine. William  C. Tuttle (1835-1901) was an early Belfast photographer. In addition to working as a photographer, he also wrote about the practice of the profession. Tuttle wrote an article in the journal Mosaics {1878} which was titled “Babies”. The article dispensed humorous tips on how to effectively photograph babies. A book by Joseph Williamson entitled “History of the City of Belfast” (1913) reveals that Tuttle’s studio burned down in a major fire occurring in Belfast in 1885. At one point in his career, Tuttle also had studios in other Maine towns including Winthrop, Castine, Kent’s Hill, and Northport. A classified listing  in the Bulletin of Photography (1918) advertises that Tuttle’s Belfast studio was up for sale. The advertisement stated that one of its selling features was that there was “no competition” in Belfast. Tuttle had at least one son that entered his business so it is possible that this son may have been the photographer of this cabinet card. The 1870 Federal Census reveals that Tuttle was married to Georgia Tuttle, a woman who was 14 years his junior. At the time of the census, the couple had a seven month old son named Adrian. Research also discovered that Tuttle had enlisted in the Union army during the civil was. In 1861 he joined Maine’s 13th Infantry regiment as a musician. During the war he reached the rank of full Drum Major. Tuttle is buried in the Grove Cemetery in Belfast.

Published in: on June 29, 2014 at 12:16 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I have a pair of glasses like these that fold up, lens over lens and the half moon holds them together. They fit into a leather case that closes with a snap. The center bridge is a strong yet flexible metal. Now I have a better idea of their date, how nice.

  2. The intensity of the hue of the eyeglass frames make me suspect that it has been altered. Perhaps the original frames were so light that they made the sitter look strange and so someone recently has darken them? Mystery.

    • I also wondered if this cabinet card was altered by darkening the pince nez spectacles. I reviewed other photographs in the cabinet card gallery and found that light colored spectacles photographed very well. In addition, I discovered another image where the subject is wearing dark eyeglasses. My guess is that neither photograph displaying dark pince nez was altered. Check out this image.

  3. Thanks for referring me to the other image of the minister wearing the pince nez spectacles. I enlarged both that image and the one of the young lady. With the minister’s glasses there is some shading and definition, the young lady’s glasses appear flat black. I still question whether they were altered. If you have the original you could tell if this is the case. Either way, an interesting photo.

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