This cabinet photograph looks like a scene from a Clint Eastwood western feature film. It is as if the four men are looking into the street to watch Clint challenge four outlaws to a gunfight. More likely, this photograph captures a portrait of four men who work in an East Liverpool, Ohio blacksmith shop. Note that two of the men are holding  tools of their trade and also take notice that there is a tool box in the center of the image.  In additon, two of the men are wearing aprons and all four men are wearing what appears to be appropriate blacksmith garb. In the center of the photograph is a pretty horse. The photographer of this wonderful portrait is Culbertson’s Art Studio. The Culbertson studio is associated with the seamier side of photography and created quite a scandal in East Liverpool. Harry and Leon Culbertson were brothers and at one point were business partners in the Culbertson Brothers photography studio. On 5/10/1892, Harry was arrested on a charge of taking lewd and indecent photographs. His legal defense was that the photographs were “purely works of art”.The Lowell Daily Courier (Lowell, Massachusetts) reported the story on 5/13/1892. Culbertson claimed that two unknown young woman came to his studio and induced him to photograph them “undraped”.  He left town shortly after his arrest.

Published in: on February 22, 2015 at 3:18 pm  Comments (3)  
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Charles Henry Parkhurst (1842-1933) is the subject of these Cabinet Card photographs which are published by Newsboy. Photographer Napoleon Sarony has the 1892 copyright for the top photograph. The second photograph is marked “375” and is part of Newsboy’s tobacco premium series. Parkhurst was a clergyman and social reformer. He was a presbyterian minister and from 1874 until 1880, he was a pastor in Lenox, Massachusetts. He then became the pastor for Madison Square Presbyterian Church in New York City (1880-1919). During the year of this photograph, Parkhurst began giving tough sermons attacking the political corruption in the New York City government. This led to the exposure of the corruption in Tammany Hall and subsequent social and political reform. He had a special concern about the problem of prostitution in New York City’s tenderloin section. He hired private detectives to investigate the houses of ill repute and their police protection. Concerning the police, he said “while we fight iniquity they shield or patronize it; while we try to convert criminals, they manufacture them”. He took his concerns and investigative results to court on these matters. He was President of the New York Society for the Prevention of Crime and published numerous magazine articles and books. Parkhurst died tragically; while sleep walking he fell off the second story porch of his home.



Two blacksmiths and a well dressed man and his horse pose at the doorway of a blacksmith shop or stable. Stenciled on the door next to where the blacksmiths are standing, is the word “GRAPE”. One has to wonder whether “Grape” is the name of the horse. The photograph was purchased in the town of Brocton, New York. However, it is unknown whether this image was photographed in the Brocton area.  The photograph measures 6″ x  6 3/4″.    This is a terrific photograph of days gone by and is in very good condition.

Published in: on March 2, 2014 at 11:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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a workman_0004A bearded gentleman poses for his portrait at the D. C. Herrin studio in The Dalles, Oregon. The subject is wearing overalls and his attire indicates that he is a workman of some type. He is resting his hand on a wicker chair and is striking an unusual pose in that his feet are crossed at the knee. The gentleman looks rather bored as he endures the process of having his portrait taken. David C. Herrin began his photography career in Medford, Oregon (1888). He and his photographer wife, Margaret, operated a studio in The Dalles from 1892 through 1898. The couple moved to Portland, Oregon in 1899 and joined Frank G. Abell for establish Abell & Herrin photography studio. David Herrin died in 1909. An interesting side note concerns the name of the town that hosted the above photographic session. The city of “The Dalles” is named after a rock. Dalle is a French word meaning flagstone. The name of the town refers to the basalt rocks carved by the Columbia River on which the town is located.


Published in: on December 3, 2013 at 6:09 pm  Comments (3)  
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This photograph features four uniformed nurses posing for their portrait. The names of the subjects are printed on the reverse of the image. Due to poor penmanship, some of the names are difficult to decipher. the women’s names are Kathryn Truesdell,  Hadyn, Herbert, and Ethel Sheldon. Time spent researching these names was productive. Kathryn Truesdell was listed as a nurse in the 1911 and 1912 Sioux City Directory. In 1911, her employment was listed as Samaritan Hospital. Lonnie Hayden is listed in both the 1910 and 1911 directory and in 1910 she was reported to be a nurse at Samaritan. Delia Herbert was an Illinois native who was identified as a nurse in the 1909 through 1912 directories. She was also employed at Samaritan for at least part of those years. She was 24 years old at the time of the 1910 US census. Ethel Sheldon was Iowa born and listed as a nurse in the 1910 Sioux City directory. The 1910 US census listed her as being 25 years of age. Ethel Sheldon and and Delia Herbert lived together in what was likely a dormitory or boarding house. The photo postcard below presents Samaritan Hospital (1908) as it appeared close to the time that Nurses Truesdell, Hayden, Herbert, and Sheldon were employed there.


roofers_0001This wonderful photograph has an occupational theme. However, it is a mystery as to what exactly the men in this photograph do for a living. The previous owner of this image asserted that that them men are roofers. It is likely that the women and children in the photograph are residents of the work site or famiy members of the workmen. The name “Odway” or “Ordway” is written on the reverse of the photograph. “Odway” is a last name and “Ordway” is the name of a town in Colorado. Unfortunately, the name of the photographer or the location the photograph was taken are unknown.

Published in: on September 20, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card is a portrait of a horse racing jockey wearing his colors. The photograph was taken by the Record & Epler studio in Saratoga, New York.  According to the printing on the reverse of the photograph, the studio was located on the corner of Broadway and Phila Street. To view other photographs by this studio, click on category “Photogapher: Record & Epler”.  Saratoga is a resort and horse racing town. The Saratoga Race Course is a Thoroughbred horse racing track in Saratoga Springs. The track opened in 1863.


This cabinet card features two men dressed for work and holding some sort of tool or scraper. They appear to be wearing leather work aprons. This is a wonderful example of an occupational cabinet card but unfortunately, it is not clear what these men’s occupation happens to be. It has been suggested that the men may be textile workers. The photographer of this image is John Randolph Schaeffer. He seems to have forgotten that this studio photograph was supposed to depict an outside scene. That is unless it is common to see curtains hanging in the outdoors in Gormania, West Virginia. Schaeffer was born on a Gormania farm in 1858. His family was of German heritage. After finishing school at age twenty, he entered the teaching profession. He pursued his education career for seventeen years; during his last year (1909) he was a principal of a school. During his education career he earned a Masters Degree in Didactics and also did photography. He entered the business of photography after leaving teaching. His studio not only was a  photographic gallery, but it also sold photo supplies, jewelry, and other commodities. He was also appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the position of postmaster for two terms. In his spare time he supported the Democratic party and was a member of Odd Fellows. He married Susie C. Miller in 1894 and the couple had seven children. The Library of Congress lists Schaeffer as holding at least two copyrights. He also published a view book entitled From Baltimore to Charleston (1906)The book was cited by one reviewer as containing “magnificent scenery” photographs. The town of Gormania has had a number of names. Its present name honors a US Senator from Maryland , Arthur Gorman. One of the towns previous names was Schaefferville, named after early settler Jacob Schaeffer (father of photographer John Schaeffer). Jacob Schaeffer and one of his sons owned and operated the town’s first tannery. The business was sold in 1889. We know a lot about the photographer of this portrait but still don’t have any idea of the occupation of the two subjects in the photograph. Lets play “What’s My Line?”. Hopefully, some cabinet card gallery visitors will leave comments with their hypotheses about the type of work the men in this portrait did. My uninformed guess is that the subjects in this photograph are tannery workers.


This cabinet card features a portrait of the Shepard Family Concert Company. In this photograph, mother is playing the piano (or organ) and the five children and their father are playing violins. The photographer of this cabinet card is unknown, as is the location of the studio. A photograph of the Shepard family and their instruments appears in The Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont (located in Middlebury, Vermont). In addition, the museum possesses a “cigar ribbon quilt” serving as a piano cover. The quilt is made from silken advertising ribbons which cigar companies used to tie cigars together for packaging purposes. This particular quilt was made by Mary Emily Shepard (“Minnie”), the matriarch of the Shepard Family. The Shepard Family was Massachusetts based, and mostly toured upper New England. The musical group venues included the Town Hall Theatre, in Middlebury, Vermont. Family Musical Troupes were popular in the 1880’s and 1890’s.  Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Shepard  and their children, Kittie, Laura, Lessie, Georgie, and Burtin were regionally well known and appreciated in the late nineteenth century. Each family member were multi instrumentalists. The family could perform as a choral group, a brass band, or a violin ensemble with the mother playing the pump reed organ. In addition, sometimes, the children would perform as a banjo quintet.


This cabinet card is a staged portrait of a man at work. The man is wearing a uniform and most likely he is a railroad worker. He may be an engineer or possibly a conductor. He is holding a brass lantern and writing on a pad. The man’s facial expression seems to say that he means business. One can easily imagine seeing him standing next to a train at a railroad station taking notes. The photographer of this cabinet card  is  Lyman & Wells, of Columbus, Ohio.

Published in: on September 23, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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