The subject of this photograph is a very pretty woman, stylishly dressed and wearing a flowered hat at the photographic studio of A. M. Turnquist, located in either Hibbing or Eveleth, Minnesota. The woman appears quite natural and relaxed as she sits at a table with a potted plant in the background. What are those papers that she is holding? Is it possibly a script for a play, a magazine, or divorce documents? The answer is lost to time. A. M. Turnquist is more specifically, Axel M. Turnquist who was born in Sweden, and trained in photography in Duluth, Minnesota. He operated photographic studios in many Minnesota towns including Tower, Virginia, Eveleth, Hibbing, and Aurora. He worked as a photographer form the 1880’s through 1923. To view other photographs by Turnquist, click on category “Photographer: Turnquist”.   (SOLD)


This antique photograph features three young women sitting on a Thor VII motorcycle. A man is observing them and an antique car is in the background. Thor was an American manufacturer of motorcycles and motorcycle engines. The company was founded in 1901 and was located in Aurora, Illinois. Between 1901 and 1907, Thor made engines for Indian Motocycles and also made their own motorcycles. They ceased making motorcycles around 1920. There are only two surviving Thor VII bikes in the entire world. This photo measures 2.5 x 4.12 inches. It is a former resident of a photo album evidenced by the paper residue on the reverse of the photo. (SOLD)

Published in: on July 17, 2022 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This item is a vintage trade card advertising corsets for the Chicago Corset Company. The card dates back to the 1880’s. The wasp waisted women seen in a number of the photographs of the cabinet card era, didn’t get that way from going to Jenny Craig and the gym. Their secret weapon was wearing a corset. This trade card utilizes a “celebrity spokesperson”.  Adelina Patti, a famous opera singer, sings the praise of Ball’s Corsets which were manufactured by the Chicago Corset Company of Aurora, Illinois. She ordered eight corsets and testified that she wished that she had known about them sooner. The company advertising on the card brags that “they need no breaking in” and that they provide “health and comfort”. This particular trade card is also advertising the T. J. Elcock & Company which was a Dry Goods, Carpet, and Notions store in Mechanicsburgh, Pennsylvania. Here is a little information about the Chicago Corset Company, The business is cited in Robin Shepard’s “The Best Breweries and Brewpubs of Illinois (2003). The author writes that in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s Aurora was considered the corset capitol of the world. There were at least three corset companies operating their factories there and one of the largest was the Chicago Corset Company. In fact, I read elsewhere, that the company was the second largest corset company in the world. At one point, the business employed 600 people and produced 2 million corsets a year. The word “corset” began to be used in the English language in about 1828. “The Ladies Magazine” described it as a “quilted waistcoat”. The primary reason for using corsets was to slim the body and help it conform to a fashionable silhouette. Generally speaking, the corset reduces the waist and exaggerates the bust and hips. Apparently there were “overbust corsets” and “underbust corsets”. Sometimes, corsets were used for medical or for fetish purposes. I’ll refrain from elaborating about the medical and fetish purposes and leave detailed explanation to your imagination. The corset company’s spokesperson on this trade card is Adelina Patti (1843-1919). She was a celebrated 19th century opera singer who earned a great deal of money for her performances at the height of her career. She sang in both Europe and America and is probably one of the most famous sopranos in history. She was born in Madrid. Her father was tenor Salvatore Pattie and her mother was soprano Caterina Barilli. Her parents were Italian and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. She sang professionally from childhood. At sixteen years of age, she made her operatic debut at the Academy of Music in New York City. At age eighteen she began performing in Europe. She later performed “Home Sweet Home” for President Lincoln and his wife shortly after the death of their son, Willie. The bereaved parents requested an encore. She was associated with the song for her entire career. In her prime, Adelina Patti demanded to be paid five thousand dollars a night. She asked to be paid in gold, prior to each performance. She demanded top billing and that her name be in bigger font than others in the company. She also demanded that she not be obligated to attend rehearsals. Did someone say, DIVA? It was reported that she trained her parrot to say “Cash, Cash”. Be sure to look below to see some interesting images pertaining to corsets as well as an image of Miss Patti.   (SOLD)                   

Adelina Patti
Corset Shop Window
Polaire was famous for her tiny, corseted waist, which was sometimes reported to have a circumference no greater than 16 inches (41 cm)
A woman models a corset in this 1898 photograph.


Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art


A father and son pose for their portrait at the Tornquist gallery in Duluth, Minnesota. At least it is my hypotheses that they are father and son based on their similar facial features. It appears that the men are wearing work clothes. Hopefully the son learned a lot about life from his father. However, I hope the son did not inherit his father’s fashion sense. Dad’s striped pants and plaid shirt clash big-time. Someone should call the fashion police. Dad’s poor fashion judgement should result in a felony. The photographer of this cabinet card portrait is Axel M. Turnquist. Mr Turnquist got around. He was born in Sweden and trained as a photographer in Duluth. He  operated photographic studios in many Minnesota towns including, Eveleth, Hibbing, Aurora, Tower, Virginia, and Duluth. His photography career spanned from the 1880’s through 1923. This cabinet card is in very good condition (see scans).

Buy this original Cabinet Card (includes shipping within the US) #2541

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Buy this original Cabinet Card (includes International shipping outside the US) #2541

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Published in: on September 26, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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