This photograph is emotionally moving and it elicits a story that we tell ourselves. Most people will likely see it as a story about a grandmother and her grandchildren. Grandma has a tight loving grasp around the waist of  her youngest granddaughter while the older granddaughter clings to grandma’s shoulder for security. This is a portrait of a tight knit family. The little girls are adorable. They are wearing bows in their hair; and both girls are wearing necklaces. It is difficult to tell for sure, but grandma seems to be containing a smile. The girls however, seem a bit bewildered by their experience of being photographed. Grandma was not living in easy times. At the time of this photograph, slavery had already ended but prejudice and discrimination was prevalent. There is dearth of early photographs of African American individuals and families. This image certainly serves a role in representing African American history. Unfortunately, the photographer and subjects of this image are unidentified. 



This cabinet card features a handsome and fashionably dressed black man. He appears very confident in his three piece suit with his overcoat slung over his arm. This dapper man seems to be going someplace. The photographer and the location of the studio is unknown as this photograph has been trimmed to fit into an album or picture frame. The man may be a celebrity. The number (805) on the left side bottom of the card likely is a card number, indicating that the photograph is one of a series of photographs. Tobacco companies published cabinet card series, including series of cards featuring famous individuals.  Perhaps a visitor to this site will leave a comment providing additional information about the identity of the subject of this photograph.

Published in: on May 9, 2010 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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Black Man with Spectacles in Hartford, Connecticut


A young black man with spectacles is pictured in this Cabinet card. The image was photographed by John Orgill of Hartford, Connecticut. To see other photographs by Orgill, click on the category “Photograher: Orgill”

Dapper Black Gentleman in Watertown, Wisconsin


This Cabinet card is a photograph of a dapper young Black man posing in  Donner Brothers Studio in Watertown, Wisconsin. Watertown is located in southeastern Wisconsin and was settled in 1836. Around the time of this photograph, there was an influx of German immigrants into the town. These immigrants  started the first kindergarten in the United States soon after their arrival in Watertown.



A distinguished looking Black man poses for a photograph in the studio of Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachussets. The gentleman has an interesting looking expression. He looks proud and he also has what appears to have a “sparkle in his eye” accompanying a half-smile. Elmer Chickering (1857-1915?) was a prestigious Boston photographer who was began his career in the city around 1884.  His obituary states that he photographed many of the leading men and women of the city, state and nation. Chickering was well known his baseball related photographs as well as for his many celebrity portraits. To view more photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Chickering, E.”.

Black Gentleman in Albany, New York


The subject of this Cabinet card is a dapper young black gentleman photographed by Wendover of Albany, New York.  Judging by his formal attire, he appears to be well-to-do and is sporting a pocket watch and cuff links. To view other images by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Wendover”.

Black Woman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


Edith S. Miles poses in this photograph at the Original Fowler Studio in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. “Compliments of Edith S. Miles” is written on the reverse of the card. She is beautifully dressed and her hair has been nicely styled for her day at the photographer.

Young Black Girl in West Chester, Pennsylvania


This very cute and expressive Black child is posing for this terrific Cabinet card. She doesn’t look like she’s sure how she feels about being in front of the camera. The photographer is Grubb of West Chester, Pennsylvania. To view additional photographs by Grubb, click on this site’s “Photographer: Grubb” category.

Black Woman in Buffalo, New York


This is a terrific photograph of an attractive Black woman wearing a nice broach and earrings. Her hair is nicely styled. The photographer is Bliss Brothers of Buffalo, New York. The Bliss brothers, Harry (b 1866) and Frank (b 1858) were sons of Horace Bliss. The elder Bliss came to Buffalo in about 1854 and learned the photography business. In 1859 he established a photographic gallery which he ran until poor health caused him to retire in 1886. The brothers succeeded their father and established the studio under the name of Bliss Brothers. The source of the biographical information about the Bliss Brothers is the book, Our County and Its People (1898). To view other images by the Bliss Brothers, click on the category “Photographer: Bliss Brothers”. 

Black Woman in Buffalo, New York


This Cabinet photo is a portrait of a Black woman photographed by Bliss Brothers Portrait Studio in Buffalo, New York. To view other photographs by the Bliss Brothers, click on the category “Photographer: Bliss Brothers”.