PRETTY WOMAN IN FRANZENSBAD, CZECHOSLOVAKIA

This cabinet card is a portrait of a pretty woman in Franzensbad, Czechoslovakia. The woman is well dressed and her dress includes a high lace collar, lace sleeves and features a ribbon around her waist. Printed on the reverse of the cabinet card is the name “Bernard Wachtl”.  Wachtl was an Austrian lithographer whose printing firm was located in Vienna. He was active mainly in the latter half of the 19th century. He designed and printed the logos of photographic studios that were printed on the verso of cabinet cards. To view other work by Wachtl, click on the category of Lithographer: Bernard Wachtl) The photographer of this image is F. Hahnisch. This cabinet card is in very good condition (see scans).

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DREAMY YOUNG WOMAN IN LOVELAND, COLORADO :(PORTRAIT BY THE PHOTOGRAPHER INVOLVED IN THE “1894 MAMMOTH POTATO HOAX”

A pretty young woman sits sideways on a chair and holds an open magazine as she poses for her portrait at the Talbot studio in Loveland, Colorado. If she is indeed sitting sidesaddle on the chair; it is an unusual pose. She is wearing an interesting and uncommon dress. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can tell us something about the dress. What kind of material is this dress made from? What is the material of the fabric that is sewn over parts of the dress? What kind of hair accessory is she wearing atop her head?  Note that she is also wearing a ribbon which can be partially seen behind her head. Are you wondering about the “Mammoth Potato Hoax” yet?  I’ll get right to that intriguing story after a brief description of the town where the Talbot studio was located. In the early seventies (the nineteen, not the eighteen seventies) I used to ski Loveland’s slopes and mail valentine day cards from the Loveland post office. It was considered extra romantic to have a Loveland postmark on your Valentines Day cards. I enjoyed the town, but never knew the story of how Loveland got it’s name. Research reveals that Loveland was founded in 1877 and was named in honor of William A. H. Loveland, the President of the Colorado Central Railroad. Not many years later, Adam H. Talbot operated a photography studio in Loveland. In 1894, he was recognized nationally and internationally for his involvement in the “Mammoth Potato Hoax of Loveland, Colorado”. The hoax actually started very innocently. The editor of the Loveland Reporter wanted to help a local potato farmer, Joseph B. Swan, promote his spud sales at a Loveland street fair. The farmer was well respected for his potato production. He had grown 26,000 pounds of potatoes on one acre of land over a years period. He had claimed to have grown a giant potato weighing 13 lbs, 8 ozs.  In an effort to create a humorous advertisement for farmer Swan, the newspaper editor recruited photographer Talbot to use trick photography to create a photograph of Swan holding a massive potato over his shoulder. Printing below the image stated that the potato weighed over 86 pounds. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the participants point of view, many people believed that this attempt at humor was actually reality. Word spread about this amazing potato. Eventually, a New York City attorney sent the photograph to the editors of the Scientific American. The attorney included a note that stated that the actual potato had been on exhibit at the  Loveland Reporter offices.   The editors ordered an engraving of the photograph to be made and than published it as real news in an 1895 issue. Eventually, the editors became aware of the truth about the photograph and published an angry retraction. The magazine reported it was victim of a “gross fraud” and stated unkind opinions about photographer Talbot. They asserted that “An artist who lends himself to such methods of deception may be ranked as a thoroughbred knave, to be shunned by everybody”. The story of the “mammoth potato hoax” went viral, 1890’s style. It was widely reported but still many were not aware that the giant potato never existed. Farmer Swan was besieged by letters asking for information and offering to buy his amazing potato seeds. Swan would try to explain that the famous potato never existed, but people did not believe him. Eventually, Swan just told inquirers that the potato had been stolen. Incredibly, the story of the huge potato appeared in The Strand Magazine (1897), and it was reported as true news. After some years had passed, Talbot finally received some positive acclaim in the St. Louis and Canadian Photographer (1902). Talbot was recognized for producing photographs for a book named “Loveland, Colorado Illustrated”. This cabinet card portrait is in very good condition (see scans).

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A PRETTY YOUNG WOMAN IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

An attractive young woman poses for her portrait at the Gray Studio in Boston, Massachusetts. Take special note of the detail of the subject’s face. The photographer did an excellent job with lighting and posing the subject. The image portrays her skin and facial features with accuracy and clarity. Note her bright eyes and how the photograph details the young lady’s hair. George E. Gray’s (1856-?) studio was located on historic Tremont Row.  The 1900 US census lists Gray as living with his wife Minnie and his children Stanley (age 10) and Doris (age 5). He is listed as being born in Maine, although other sources report New Hampshire. The family also had a Swedish live-in woman (age 24) who was their “servant”. The census stated that George and Minnie married in 1889 and George was working as a photographer. The 1920 US census finds 64 year-old George and 50 year-old Minnie living with their son and George was still working as a photographer. In fact, Boston business directories confirm that George worked as a photographer from at least 1882 through 1931. To view other photographs by Gray, click on the category “Photographer: Gray (MA)”. This cabinet card portrait is in good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on September 1, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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PORTRAIT OF AN ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS (PHOTO TAKEN BY A BLACK PHOTOGRAPHER)

This cabinet card portrait features a well-dressed pretty young woman. Her high collared dress includes lots of lace. She is wearing a serious expression. She appears to be in her teenage years or slightly older. This photograph was taken by the Beckford Photo, a studio located in Boston, Massachusetts. David C. Beckford received mention in the book, “Boston: Its Commerce, Finance, and Literature”. His studio is described as a leading photo studio in the country. The business was established in around 1872 as the Chickering Photo Company. The proprietor, Walter E. Chickering (not to be confused with Elmer Chickering, a well respected Boston photographer of the era) was a notorious swindler. He was especially known for his dishonesty and blatant resistance to paying his bills. Walter must have been a tough boss to tolerate. Beckford took over the business in 1888. Beckford’s establishment employed four assistants. Beckford was a native of Jamaica. He came to Boston in about 1872 and worked for Chickering for several years. According to one source, Beckford operated a Hardware business in Jamaica, at least part of the time, while he ran his photo studio in Boston. A Massachusetts directory of photographers asserts that Beckford was active as a photographer until 1909. Beckford is cited in an article appearing in the “Southern Workman” (1909). The title of the article was “Improvement in Housing Negroes in the North”. The writer states that Beckford had recently returned from a business trip to Jamaica where he directed the rebuilding of his properties; and reestablished his hardware business which had been destroyed in an earthquake. The “Southern Workman” article was the first reference that I found that indicated that David C. Beckford was a Black man. Examining the 1900 US census data provided confirmation that Beckford was indeed a Black man. Census data conflicted with other legal documents in regard to where Beckford was born. It appears he was born in either England or Jamaica. He was born in 1856 and immigrated to the United States in 1872. He married Elvira P. Gott in 1881. She was a Black woman born in Massachusetts. She was close in age to Beckford. Photographs by Black photographers are not common, making this image a great find. This cabinet card portrait is in fair condition (see scans). Note the presence of peeling along the left and bottom border of the card mount. The image itself has excellent clarity and is in good condition.

 

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Published in: on August 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FULL PORTRAIT OF A FASHIONABLE WOMAN : MYSTERIOUS PHOTOGRAPHER

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This early cabinet card full portrait features a pretty young woman wearing a long and fancy dress. The photographer’s name who produced this photograph is on the wall behind the subject and the name is crossed out. Why the name is blacked out is a mystery. Perhaps the studio was recently purchased and the old photographer’s name was on the wall. Most cabinet cards advertise the photographer’s name and location on the bottom or the reverse of the card. This is the first time I’ve seen the name of a studio incorporated into the image. It certainly is a creative mode of advertising. This cabinet card is in very good condition (see scans).

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Published in: on August 15, 2020 at 12:01 pm  Comments (1)  

PORTRAIT OF A PRETTY WOMAN AND HER SMILE (TINTYPE)

This tintype photograph features a well-dressed and pretty young woman. She appears to be dressed for winter. She is wearing a dark heavy dress and a cape. She looks very pleasant and has a lovely smile. Tintypes were popular in the 1860’s and 1870’s. Over time, they were replaced by Carte de Visites and Cabinet Cards. This lovely tintype portrait measures about  2 1/2″ x 3 3/8″ and is in excellent condition (see scans).

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Published in: on August 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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SWEET TEENAGE GIRL PEERS THROUGH AN OPEN WINDOW IN BROCKVILLE, ONTARIO, CANADA

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This cabinet card portrait features a girl peering out a large open window. She appears to be in her teenage years. The young lady is well dressed and well coiffed. She is wearing earrings, a collar pin, and a solemn expression. This photograph was taken at Murray’s studio, located in Brockville, Ontario, Canada. I located a blog, “The Brockville History Album” (Curated by Doug Grant) which may shed some light about the photographer. The site exhibits early photographs (circa 1880) of two of Brockville’s churches. The credited photographer was George B. Murray. At one point in time, George was partners with his son, Alex L. Murray. They operated a studio named “Murray & Son”. Alex was also known for being one of the founding members of the Brockville Cycling Club. A studio photo of Alex atop a high-wheel bicycle can be found on the afore mentioned Brockville history site. George Murray purchased the photo studio from A. C. McIntyre in 1869. He and his son were natives of Montreal. Alex, according to a business directory, was one of the most popular young men in Brockville. He was active in a number of athletic organizations. His involvement included participation in the town’s lacrosse, snow shoe, and toboggan clubs. Brockville is a city in Eastern Ontario. It is located in the Thousand Islands region. This cabinet card has excellent clarity and is in excellent condition (see scans).

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Published in: on August 8, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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PRETTY LADY IN NEW LONDON, CONNECTICUT

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A pretty young woman, wearing a corsage, poses for her portrait at the New London, Connecticut studio of Scholfield & Tingley. Everett A. Scholfield was born in 1843 in Lowell, Massachusetts. In the 1850’s he and his family moved to Westerly, Rhode Island and his father switched careers to operate a photographic studio. Young Everett learned photography from assisting his father. Everett opened a studio in Wakefield, Rhode Island with Nathan E. Nash. It did not take long for Nash to leave the business and Scholfield continued the gallery as a sole proprietor. During most of 1864 and nearly half of 1865, Everett was licensed as a travelling photographer. In 1865 he moved to Norwich, Connecticut and partnered with Lucius Thompson in operating a studio. By 1866 he had moved his business location to Stonington, Connecticut and remained there until 1871. His partners in Stonington included C. D. Holmes and later D. O. Angell. In 1872 he began business in Putnam, Connecticut working with W. T. Dyer. By 1873 he had left Stonington to open a studio in Mystic, Connecticut. In 1877 he travelled to the West Indies and had experienced business failures there. In 1879 he and his brothers Addison and Edwin joined together in operating a Westerly, Rhode Island studio called Scholfield Brothers. This fraternal partnership ended in 1885. George E. Tingley apprenticed at Everett’s Mystic studio and soon became Everett’s partner. Everett ran the satellite New London studio while Tingley was in charge of the Mystic studio. In less than a year the partnership dissolved. Tingley continued in Mystic and experienced a great deal of success in his profession. Scholfield continued his business in New London through 1912. He retired in Mystic and died in 1930 at the age of eighty-six. Scholfield had a long career as a photographer but he certainly wasn’t a desirable business partner or tenant. It seems he changed partners and locations at an unusually high frequency.    SOLD

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PRETTY WOMAN IN A FANCY DRESS IN SCHENECTADY, NEW YORK

A pretty woman sits in a wicker chair poses for her portrait at the Wheaton studio in Schenectady, New York. She appears pensive as she looks at the photographer. The woman is well dressed. Her blouse has “leg o mutton” sleeves. Such sleeves are voluminous around the biceps and shoulders while fitted at the lower arm and wrist. They became popular between 1825 and 1933. The style reappeared in fashion in the 1890’s and was gone by 1906. It was during the reemergnce of “leg o Mutton” sleeves that this photo was taken. The photographer of this image is Van B. Wheaton (1870-1948). The Anthony Photographic Bulletin (1897) reports Wheaton winning a medal at a photography exhibition. His son, Ivan P. Wheaton was a World War I aviator, race car driver, author, and photographer. This cabinet card portrait is in excellent condition. It also has excellent clarity (see scans).

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PORTRAIT OF A TALL AND THIN YOUNG LADY : TIGHTLY CORSETED

The young woman in this cabinet card portrait is tall, thin, and wearing a dark dress. She is very well dressed. The woman is tightly corseted, which is typical for the era of this photograph. She is holding a folded fan. This photograph was taken in Florence, Massachusetts at a gallery operated by Ferdinand William Schadee (1840-1901). Schadee was born in Bavaria, Germany. I found no record of when he arrived in the United States. In 1869, he married Eliza A Schadee and the couple eventually had at least three children. Schadee was a Mason. A publication entitled “The History of Florence, Mass.” (1895) reveals that Schadee established his gallery there in 1885. Prior to that time, he ran a studio in Northampton, Mass. That studio was operated under the name of “Hardie & Schadee”. The 1880 US Census lists Schadee as a photographer as does a number of editions of the Northampton and Easthampton directory. He was listed in the directory up to 1901, indicating that he was working as a photographer until his passing. (SOLD)

Published in: on July 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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