This cabinet card portrait is unusual. The typical props seen in cabinet cards are items like fences, walls, rocks, windows, books, and a number of other common objects. The five young women seen in this cabinet card are holding unusual props. Each is holding a toy cat of different sizes. The cats seem to be cut-outs. The women show a familial resemblance and are likelyssisters. They are all clad in similar long dresses. The photograph was taken at the gallery of D. Cramer. David Cramer’s photography business was located in Carey, Ohio. Cramer was born in 1854. He married Elva C. Cramer in 1882. The only mention, I could find of his occupation as a photographer, was in the 1900 US census. By 1910, the US census listed him as a painter. Note the artwork on the reverse of this photograph. The drawing is beautiful and it is related to the words, “Columbian Cabinet”, printed on the middle bottom of the front of the cabinet card.  In the 19th century, Columbia was viewed as a goddess-like female “national personification” of both the United States and the concept of Liberty. Sometimes the figure was called “Lady Columbia” or “Miss Columbia”.   SOLD

Published in: on October 20, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Comments (6)  
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  1. THAT certainly resonates with me. The large cat looks very much like one I had acquired rom some place that evades memory, but I recently donated many boxes of cat memorabilia/collectibles to the American Museum of the House Cat in Sylva, NC, up the mountain from us. I hope I took a photo of it–I did photograph most key items.

  2. Maybe these ladies were coming from St Ives! Oh, wait, there are only 5 of them and there are no sacks… –Erik in NW Ohio

  3. The cats look like the “Ithaca Kitty,” designed by Celia and Charity Smith in Ithaca, NY in 1892. It was mass-produced and sold across the country, and was displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair.

    • Thanks so much for your informative research and for sharing the link. I concur. The cats seen in this cabinet card appear to be a “spitting image” of the “Ithaca Kitty”. It is clear that the “Ithaca Kitty” was the “Beanie Baby” of it’s era. Thanks again.

  4. Now that I think about it, could this be the cat and four kittens mentioned in the article I linked, that were sent to the 1893 Fair? After all, it *was* the “Colombian Exposition,” and iconography of Columbia was featured in a lot of Fair-related materials. Maybe this Ohio-based photographer traveled to Chicago to do some temporary business or get material for his postcards?

    • I wish we knew the connection between the the “Colombian Exposition” and this photograph. Your hypothesis is very credible. Perhaps there is some biographical information available about Mr Cramer that links him to the fair. I will do a preliminary investigation and report back if I find a connection. Thanks for your interesting comments.

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