This intriguing cabinet card portrait features a finely dressed beautiful young woman. She is absolutely charming. I wish I knew her story. She appears to be ethnic, perhaps Hispanic. She looks like royalty but what is she doing in Garrettsville, Ohio. Her dress is very unusual and special. I believe she is wearing a cape. Her hair treatment is very pretty. The photographer of this image is Crosby Marell French (1850-1932). He operated a studio in Garrettsville. Langdon Road, an online photographer directory, reports that he was in business in the 1880’s and 1890’s. French’s name is included in the 1870 directory of Hiram College. The school was located in Hiram, Ohio and a former student and teacher there, became President of the United States (James Garfield, elected 1880). In 1874, French married his wife Hannah (1852-1932). A photograph of Hannah can be seen below. The photograph was taken by her husband. French’s name appeared regularly in photographic journals including The Photographic Times (1883)The Photographic Times and American Photographer (1884), and Photographic Mosaics (1884). He wrote an article entitled “The Attractive Properties of  Photograph” which appeared in Photographic Mosaics. French is listed in US census data. In 1870 he worked as a clerk in a store. In 1880, The US census indicates that French lived in Garrettsville with his wife Hannah and worked as a photographer. In 1900, he was living with his wife in Binghamton, New York and still pursuing his career as a photographer. The same information appeared in the 1910 and 1920 census. By 1920, French was joined in his studio by his daughter Alice E. French. The 1930 US census revealed that C. M. French had retired. A photograph of Crosby French can be found below. The photo was taken by the Holcomb and French studio.  (SOLD)

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 C. M. French                            Hannah French





Published in: on October 15, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. So interesting and I loved reading the history of the photographer.

  2. I think this young lady is not actual royalty; to me it looks like she’s wearing a costume for a play, or for a fancy dress party. Real royalty would not have such a simple gown and cape, decorated with the pattern of the dark velvet against the lighter fabric, and the sequins sewn onto the darker velvet. Portraits of aristocrats show them wearing much more elaborate clothing, with much more trim and decoration. Her hairstyle is also very simple for a formal portrait if she was actual royalty, but it is very much in keeping with what was done for amateur plays and musicals, and even some professional performances.

    She does have an exotic look to her; she might be central European, and if I remember correctly, there are large central European communities in the Midwest, where this photo was taken. My great-grandmother was on the stage in Vienna, Austria when she was about this young lady’s age, around 1900, although from what I can see of the gown in this photo, it looks like this one was taken around 1880.

    • I was being facetious about the young woman in the photograph belonging to royalty. I was really trying to relate that the woman looked regal. Sometimes my sense of humor is so dry that people think that I am serious. However, I appreciate your comment and especially your view on the subject’s clothing. I agree with you about the date of this photograph being before 1900.

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