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.  (SOLD)

Published in: on August 16, 2020 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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chickering 1

A handsome and well dressed young man poses for his portrait at the studio of Walter E. Chickering in Boston Massachusetts. The gentleman’s hair and mustache are well groomed and his mustache takes an interesting twist at it’s ends. To view other interesting mustaches, click on the category “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. The reverse of the photograph has a back mark that includes the statement,  “Walter E. Chickering, The Original Photographer, of that Name”. These words were a written swipe at photographer, Elmer Chickering, who was also  based in Boston. Elmer was a highly acclaimed celebrity photographer who Walter clearly perceived as a threat to his business. To learn more about both Walter and Elmer Chickering, click on the category “Photographer: Chickering, W.”.     SOLD

chickering 2

Published in: on April 16, 2019 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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pauline hallCABINET CARD 4   (SOLD)

The top cabinet card features Pauline Hall (1860-1919), one of the most popular turn of the century prima donnas. She began her career as a dancer in Cincinnati, Ohio at age 15. She joined the Alice Oats Opera Company but left to tour in plays with famed actress Mary Anderson. By 1880, she worked for well known producer Edward Everett Rice in musical productions. Early in their association, he gave her a role in “Evangeline”. Her shapely figure allowed her to take male roles as she did in “Ixion” (1885). Her greatest success came in the title role of the first American production of  “Erminie” (1886). She played in more than two dozen Broadway operettas. Her final role was in the “Gold Diggers” (1919). This photograph was taken by famed celebrity photographer, Elmer Chickering of Boston, Massachusetts. Other photographs by Chickering can be seen by clicking on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Photographer: Chickering, E.”.

The second cabinet card, photographed by B. J. Falk, of New York City, captures Pauline Hall in stage costume. The photograph is #305 in a series from Newsboy. The tobacco company (Newsboy) gave away cabinet cards as a premium with the purchase of their products. This cabinet card shows a copyright date in the 1890’s. The exact date has become illegible over time. To view other Newsboy or Falk cabinet cards, click on the categories “Photographer: Falk” or “Photographer: Newsboy”.

The third cabinet card portrait was also photographed by Falk. Ms. Hall looks quite beautiful in this image. She is wearing earrings and an interesting hat. The photograph is a bit risque. Much of her neck and shoulders are exposed. In addition, her dress accentuates and reveals significant cleavage. Is the material at the base of her scoop neckline part of her dress; or was it added in order to make the photograph less provocative? Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery will be able to provide an explanation.

The fourth cabinet card image, once again photographed by B J Falk, features Miss Hall wearing a dark dress, long gloves, a lovely hat, and a purse. Pauline Hall certainly was a stage beauty as attested by this photograph.


A pretty woman wearing a mink stole over her long winter coat, poses for photographer Walter E. Chickering in his Boston, Massachusetts studio. The woman is wearing a nice winter hat and is holding a fur muff. She is also wearing gloves. Note the pom pom’s on the front of the stole. Advertising on the reverse of the cabinet card reminds the public that “Walter E. Chickering is the original photographer of that name”. To view photographs by both of the Chickerings (Walter and Elmer), click on the category “Photographer: Chickering, W.”.

Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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A pretty young woman poses for her portrait at the studio of Walter E. Chickering in Boston, Massachusetts. The woman is wearing a winter coat which appears to be made from fur. Her sleeves are definitely fur trimmed. She is wearing gloves and a lovely hat. The subject of this portrait is unidentified. Walter E. Chickering was a well known Boston photographer. He was concerned about being confused with a photographer named Elmer Chickering, who also operated a studio in Boston. The reverse of this image has a printed advertisement describing Walter Chickering as “the original photographer of that name”. The ad is a bit grandiose in its description of Walter Chickering’s studio as being “mammoth” in size. To view other photographs by the Chickering (both Walter and Elmer), and to learn more about them,  click on the category “Photographer: Chickering, W.”.

Published in: on June 14, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card portrait features a portrait of a pretty woman dressed in black. Possibly, she is wearing a mourning dress. She is wearing smooth black leather gloves and holding her purse. The young lady appears to have had trouble looking at the camera. She seems unfocused and is staring blankly away from the camera. This posed portrait would not make great advertising for the photographer who took this photograph. The studio that produced this image was operated by  Walter E. Chickering, who was located in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Chickering was a well-known Boston photographer and some of his images can be viewed by clicking on the category “Photographer: Chickering, W.”. Please note that a second photographer, who shared the name Chickering, was also a well known Boston photographer. His full name was Elmer Chickering.

Published in: on February 2, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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This photograph presents a bit of a mystery. What organization does this couple represent? Their uniforms appear to be salvation army garb. However, many salvation army workers wore the letter “S” on their collar while this couple has the letter “F”  on their collars. Many salvation army members wore a collar badge with “Salvation Army” written on it. The gentleman in this image doesn’t appear to be wearing such a badge, but the woman may have one,  but it is unreadable. The individuals each have a bar on their shoulders which may indicate a higher than basic rank. Note the wire rim glasses that the gentleman is wearing and the magazine that he is holding. The reverse of the photograph has the name Swanson written on it.  The photographer who produced this image is James E. Purdy.The reverse of the photograph indicates that Purdy was the successor to Hastings, the former operator of the studio.  Purdy’s studio was located at 146 Tremont Street, in Boston, Massachusetts. He operated his studio in Boston between 1896 and 1930. He was a popular photographer in Boston. He was considered to be in the same caliber as the celebrated photographer, Chickering (to view photographs by Chickering, click on cabinet card gallery’s category “Photographer: Chickering”). One of the many famous people he photographed was Winston Churchill, who was in Boston (1900) lecturing about the Boer War. This is not the same Winston Churchill who so ably led Great Britain.


A pretty woman poses for her photograph at the studio of Walter E. Chickering in Boston, Massachusetts. She is dressed in high fashion and high collar. Biographical information about Walter Chickering is difficult to find and further research is needed. It is unknown whether he was related to Elmer Chickering, also of  Boston. Elmer Chickering was a celebrated photographer and to view  photographs by him; click on the category “Photographer: Chickering, W.”.

Published in: on August 11, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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