This cabinet card photograph features a Michigan cowboy. If he is not a cowboy, he certainly is wearing a cowboy-like hat. This fellow has long hair. It is unusually long hair for the cabinet card era. The photographer of this portrait is Obadiah A. Kelley. He was a photographer in Ann Arbor, Michigan from at least 1862 and 1898. He was located at the 6 Huron Street address from 1886 until 1893. He was born in Vermont. He married Mary Elizabeth Frost in 1842. The couple had three sons. One son enlisted as a private in the First United States Sharp Shooters (Company F) and died of disease at City Point, Virginia in 1864. He served only slightly more than a month before meeting his end. Obadiah’s wife died in 1879. In 1880, he married Amelia Walker. An 1889 article in a local Ann Arbor newspaper, “The Argus” reports Obadiah’s brush with the spiritual world. A resident clairvoyant believed that the spirits were active in her community. To test her conviction, she hired Obadiah to accompany her and a friend to “one of the most romantic parts of the boulevard” and take their photograph. The newspaper reports a strange occurrence upon Obadiah removing the negative from the camera. He was shocked to see twelve figures in the photo, rather than the two figures he expected. The writer posits that Obadiah could never be convinced to take any more pictures on the boulevard again if there were any clairvoyants around. Note the chip in the top left hand corner of this cabinet card. Overall, this photograph is in good condition (see scans). (SOLD)


An inscription on the reverse of this cabinet card, indicates that the young woman posed with the bicycle, is Julia Blaess Klager. Note the bell on the handlebars of the bike. Julia is beautifully dressed for her portrait at the studio of Susan  T. Cook. Cook had galleries in both Ann Arbor and Dundee, Michigan. She is listed in an 1890 Ann Arbor directory. An attempt to find biographical information about Julia Klager, produced uncertain results. The 1920 US census lists a Julia Klager, residing in Washtenaw, Michigan. Her date of birth was listed as 1877, which could be a match for the woman in this cabinet card. A Julia Klager was also found to be associated with the University of Michigan. A woman with that name received a music degree (piano teacher) in 1907 and is also listed as a music patroness in the 1908 University of Michigan Yearbook.  This musically inclined woman, may, or may not be, the woman in this photograph.

Published in: on September 25, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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