This vintage real photo postcard features a group of four women and two men being photographed at a Coney Island, New York photo gallery. A message on the reverse of the photograph is written in Italian. I may be going out on a limb, but it is my theory that we are looking at an immigrant family exploring New York City. They made a stop at the gallery to have their photo taken as a souvenir. Coney Island is a neighborhood and entertainment area in New York City’s borough of Brooklyn. The PMC stamp box on the reverse of this postcard indicates that it dates back to sometime between 1920 and 1935. By that time, Coney Island was well known for it’s amusement parks. In fact, between 1880 and World War II, Coney Island was the largest amusement area in the United States. Coney Island amusement parks attracted several million visitors per year. The city of New York built a boardwalk to be utilized by visitors. Where there are boardwalks and amusement parks; there are photo studios. By the time the subjects in this postcard photo visited Coney Island, the famous “Cyclone” roller coaster was already in operation. This antique postcard is in good condition (see scans). The card may have been slightly trimmed to fit a frame.

Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #3468

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kempf 1          This cabinet card has many of the features of the “typical” little girl portrait of it’s era. A cute little girl poses in a nice dress alongside the customary chair and fur. The subject is wearing a necklace. She appears to be gazing at the camera with a degree of caution. The photograph was taken at Kempf’s Art Studios which was located in Brooklyn, New York. Advertising on the reverse of the photograph indicates that “Artistic Portraits of Children has been our Successful Specialty for 22 Years”. Charles L. Kempf was a photographer that began operating a Brooklyn studio in at least the late 1870’s and the studio was named after himself. He was listed in a Brooklyn business directory as early as 1874. A new business name, “Kempf’s Photographic Art Gallery” was esablished in the 1890’s and was in business until at least 1905. An early advertisement for Kempf’s Photography business appeared in the Brooklyn Eagle in 1876. The Photographic Times (1894) reported that Kempf’s patent for a photographic plate holder had expired. The 1910 United States census reveals that Kemp was 61 years old and born in 1849. He was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States in 1853, at the age of four years old. The census disclosed that he was married to Almira Kempf and lived with his wife and daughter, Florence (age 32).  (SOLD)


Published in: on September 7, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Comments (3)  
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A pretty young woman poses for her carte de visite portrait at the Charles S. Rawson Gallery on Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York. I would estimate that the subject is in her teenage years. Her sparkling eyes and smile give her a very engaging appearance. The photographer, Charles S. Rawson is listed in Brooklyn business directories in at least !870 through 1892. This cdv is in very good condition (see scans)

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Published in: on June 5, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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This exquisite vintage photograph captures three siblings posing for their portrait ant the Stone studio in Brooklyn, New York. The oldest child, a girl, is wearing a large straw hat. The two youngest children, possibly twin boys, are wearing sailor caps that display a decorative anchor. Each sibling is holding an item. The items include a ball, basket of flowers, and a walking stick. The photographer, Isaac C. M. Stone was born in England and immigrated to Brooklyn in 1884. He was a photographer in Brooklyn for twenty years. His death was announced in the Bulletin of Photography (1914).



Published in: on April 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  
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lovelifefThe young woman in this cabinet card photograph is very pretty. However, what makes this portrait very special is this woman’s wonderful expression. She has a beautiful smile and a gleam in her eyes. She looks like she loves life. She also appears to love jewelry as she is wearing two bracelets and a ring. The photographer who produced this image is Benoit Bloch. He operated a studio at 179 Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, New York and according to city directories and newspaper advertisements, he conducted business in the 1870’s, 1880’s, and 1890’s.


Published in: on February 25, 2014 at 11:59 am  Comments (3)  
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brooklyn weddingThis photograph captures a wedding party which likely includes the bride, groom, best man, and maid of honor. The bride has garlands of ribbon cascading from her bouquet. She is wearing a locket and bracelet. The groom is wearing gloves. The photographer is A. Werner and he operated his studio out of Brooklyn, New York. August Werner is listed as a Brooklyn photographer in both the 1900 and 1920 Federal Census. For much of his career his studio was located at 709 Broadway. He was born in Germany in 1863, immigrated to the US in 1874 and married his wife Kate in 1888.


Published in: on December 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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prettylad_0004A pretty young woman poses for her portrait at the Pearlstien studio in Brooklyn, N.Y.. She is sitting in a bench styled chair and wearing a checkered dress. Julius Bernhardt Pearlstien is listed in Trows Business Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens (1899) as operating a photography studio at 39 Greenpoint Avenue in Brooklyn. He was born sometime between 1877 and 1879. Pearlstien became a US citizen in 1900 while living in Brooklyn. He registered for the draft (World War I) in Brooklyn in 1917.


Published in: on December 5, 2013 at 11:53 am  Leave a Comment  
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brooklyn mustash_0004A man with a partial beard, mutton chops, and a very bushy mustache is captured by photographer George Frank E. Pearsall. The address of Pearsall’s studio was 298 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York. This portrait earns a spot in the cabinet card gallery’s category “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. Take a look at the category for some very interesting facial hair images. Frank Pearsall was born in New York City. His father was a life boat builder. Pearsall’s parents died when he was young and he and his two brothers were raised by an aunt in Saratoga, New York. In 1852 he began to learn about the photography business from his uncle who operated a gallery. After two years, his uncle left for Australia and the business failed despite Pearsall’s aunt’s efforts. Frank and his older brother left for an adventure and they spent eight years in such places as Cuba, West Indies, Venezuela, and elsewhere. In 1862 he returned to New York and worked as a positionist with celebrated New York City photographer Benjamin Gurney (see category “Photographer: Gurney”). He refined his skills working in the Gurney studio. In 1866 he married Long Islander Elizabeth Conrow. In 1870 he opened a photographic studio in Brooklyn which operated for two years at which point he moved his business to the 298 Fulton Street address. An 1880 advertisement asserted that Pearsall’s studio was the largest one in Brooklyn. Pearsall developed a historic camera in 1883. The camera was called the “Pearsall’s Compact Camera” and was unique in that it came in its own “carrying case” that also housed needed accessories. This design was imitated by all of the major camera manufacturers through the 1920’s. The British Journal of Photography (1876) published an article pertaining to a court case involving Pearsall. The case, Pearsall vs Schenck. was followed by photographers through out the United States because it involved a matter of universal importance to their business. The case concerned a couple that set for 17 poses at Pearsall’s studio. He sent them the proofs and they returned them. The couple contended that they did not like the pictures and would not pay for them. Pearsall demanded payment regardless of whether the couple liked the pictures. The journal took the side of Pearsall when they wrote that photography does not make “the human face divine”, it only reproduces it. The journal argued that the photographer does not have the responsibility of the painter to please the sitter for the portrait because the photographer can not control an image the way a painter can control a painting. Photographer can no change their subject’s “bad features”. The nose that is “snubby” will be “snubby” in photographs. “It is too bad to blame the poor photographer for the facial accidents of nature”. Tongue in cheek, the journal suggests the couple should have paid their bill or else the photographer might put their portraits in the gallery’s main display cases to be seen by all visitors. Pearsall won the legal case and the couple was ordered to pay for the photographs. The New York Times (1876) also reported this story but was less supportive of Pearsall. However, their article stated that the photographer should be paid for his time and supplies. The Times also made an analogy concerning the relationship of medical doctor and patient. The article asserted that patients had to pay their doctors even when they were not cured by the doctors efforts. Research revealed two interesting side notes. Pearsall was the President of the Brooklyn Archery club and in 1881 was the Secretary and Treasurer of the National Archery Association. A second bit of trivia is that Pearsall’s brother, Alva Pearsall, was a camera operator for Matthew Brady in 1871.


A young man wearing a salvation army sweater (note the lettering on the garment), poses for his portrait at the Kopke studio in Brooklyn, New Yok. He is holding two newspapers, one of which is the “War Cry”. The “War Cry” is the official salvation army news publication. Its first publication date in the United States was 1881. I can not identify the second newspaper. Hopefully a member of the cabinet card gallery community (visitors) will be able to assist in identifying the name of the second newspaper.  To view other photographs by Kopke, click on the category “Photographer: Kopke”.

Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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This cabinet card portrait features Rufus Billings Cowing, New York City Judge and Wall Street lawyer. The photograph was published  by Fredricks whose studio was located at Broadway and Ninth Street in New York City, New York. The New York Times (1906) reported Judge Cowing’s retirement from the bench of the Court of General Sessions. He had served for 28 years and had been involved in some sensational criminal and political corruption cases. His career was intertwined with the history of New York City. After leaving the courts, he entered private practice by joining his son’s firm on Wall Street. Cowing was born in Jamestown, New York in 1840. Cowing’s father died when Cowing was just 5 years old. At age 12, he came to New York City where he attended boarding school until he entered the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn from which he graduated in 1861. Next, he clerked at a bank for a short while and then decided to enter a law career. He worked for and studied at a New York City law firm for about two years and then entered Harvard University’s Law School, graduating in 1865. He practiced law in New York City and got involved in politics. He had an unsuccessful run for an assembly seat in 1875. He ran as a Republican in a heavily Democratic district and nearly won. Cowing was married twice and had children from both unions. He was married to Hester Tugnot (1866) and Marie Ling (1901). Cowing died in 1920. Charles DeForest Fredricks, the photographer of this image, was a well known New York City photographer who was known to have photographed many celebrities during his career.