PORTRAIT OF A FAMILY IN NORWAY, MAINE BY A MYSTERIOUS DISAPPEARING PHOTOGRAPHER

This cabinet card features a family portrait by the Swan & Stone gallery in Norway, Maine. The composition of this family seems to include an older couple and their adult daughter. The women are well dressed in black dresses and the gentleman is wearing a vested suit. The older woman is wearing a collar pin and has a newspaper or magazine on her lap. The younger woman has a ribbon on the upper part of her dress. The older man is wearing a pocket watch and chain. Perhaps this image is a mourning photograph. Research revealed some information about the photographers of this photo. To view additional photographs by Swan, place his name in this blog’s search box.  John Wesley Swan (1857-?) appears in the 1884 Portland, Maine city directory as a photographer. The 1900 US census reveals that Swan was Canadian born and lived in Norway with his wife (Annie) and their two daughters. Swan married his wife in 1883. According to Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin (1900), Swan’s studio was destroyed by fire and he lost a large number of valuable negatives of scenery in the area of Norway. The journal also states that the “loss was large and the insurance is said to be small”. Swan was the official photographer of the Grand Trunk Railway system. He won a gold medal at the Paris Exposition according to Photo-Era magazine (1900). At one point in his career in Norway, Swan had a partner in his business (Swan & Cobb). John Wesley Swan was involved in a bizarre incident that made the annals of the history of Norway. The book,  “A History of Norway, Maine: From the Earliest Settlement to the Close of the Year 1922”, tells a  mysterious story about Mr. Swan. While on a trip to Boston in 1893, Swan disappeared for a period of about six months. The writer states that Swan “claimed to have been sand-bagged and robbed in Boston and when he partially recovered consciousness found himself in New Orleans”. His memory had “left him” and he wandered around until his memory returned while he was in Texas. Swan returned to Norway and explained his disappearance to his friends and family, and community. According to the writer, many doubted the validity of his explanation. I found less information about photographer, George F. Stone (1856-1924). He is listed as a photographer in the 1910 and 1920 US census. Business directories list report that he was a photographer at least between 1915 and 1922, He was listed as a painter in the 1889 directory. This cabinet card is in excellent condition (see scans).

Buy this original Cabinet Card photograph (includes shipping within the US) #2450

To purchase this item, click on the Pay with PayPal button below.

$18.50

 

Buy this original Cabinet Card photograph (includes international shipping outside the US) #2450

To purchase this item, click on the Pay with PayPal button below.

$26.50

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Published in: on June 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. wow –

  2. The dresses are unlikely to have been black. Colors photographed differently in the early photographic process. A yellow dress could look black, a red dress could look gray, etc. I can send you a color chart if you are interested. It shows how different colors would photograph.

    • Thanks for the info. I would love to see the color chart. My email is cabinetcardgallery@gmail.com
      Thanks again for your comment. bruce


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