LLOYD BRUNDAGE: A TWO YEAR OLD POSES IN FRONT OF A PLAYHOUSE IN SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (1888)

SF CHILD 1888_0006A very young child, holding a box by the handle, poses for his portrait at the Morse Studio in San Francisco, California. The child is standing in front of a small house. The faux house is a studio prop. Note that that the number “1888” is above the open window. The number likely indicates the year that this portrait was taken. The reverse of the cabinet card has inscription with the name “Lloyd Brundage” and a note that states that Master Brundage was 21 months old at the time he was photographed. Research reveals that the subject of this image, Lloyd Jeffers Brundage was born in San Francisco on New Years day in 1887. He appears in many US censuses. In 1900 he was thirteen years old and living in Bridgeport, California with his father and mother. His father was named Marshal and was a 46 year-old laborer who was a native Canadian. Lloyd’s mother was named Nillie and she was 31 years old and a native Californian. Her maiden name was Smallwood. Lloyd had a five year-old sister named Delphine. The 1920 census found Lloyd living in Chico, California, with his wife Anna. He was employed as an “agriculturist”. Ten years later he was working as a mechanic in an industiral plant. He and his wife remained in Chico. The 1940 census discovers Lloyd working in a governmental general maintenance position. Lloyd died in 1955 in Butte, California. To learn more about the photographer, George Daniels Morse,  and to see other examples of his work, click on the category “Photographer: Morse”.

A BOY AND HIS DOG SHARE A COUCH IN ALMA, WISCONSIN

emilanddogThe Gesell studio of Alma, Wisconsin, produced this wonderful portrait of a boy and his dog. The boy’s love for his dog is apparent by his expression as well as by his resting his wrist and hand on the pooch’s neck. The dog appears quite tired in this photograph which certainly makes the photographer’s job easier. Photographing dogs required special talent and the photographer of this image certainly possessed that talent. The lad pictured in this photograph is identified on the reverse of the image as being named “Emil Bardil”.  Emil Bardil (or Bardill) was born in 1893 in Alma, Wisconsin. His father was John Bardill and his mother was Katie Roffler. His parents were of Swiss extraction. The 1900 census finds seven year-old Emil living with a Katherine Bardill (age 54) and his two brothers John (age 11) and Eddie (age 9). The 1910 census reveals that Emil was a boarder in an Alma home and worked as an apprentice printer. The 1920 census discloses that Emil is living in Chico, California with his wife Alice, and working as a printer. The 1930 census indicates that Emil and his wife had taken a boarder into their Chico home and the boarder was employed as a school teacher. The 1940 census shows that Emil had become a foreman at a print shop and worked as a lineotype operator. Census data indicates in 1940, he remained in Chico. Two years later he registered for the draft. He lived a long life and died in California in 1985. The photographer of this portrait was Gerhard Gesell. He was an important figure in Wisconsin history and the Wisconsin Historical Society presents much biographical information about Mr Gesell.  Gesell was born in Germany. He came to the United States and in 1863 he enlisted in the Army and served with “Brackett’s Battalion” of the Minnesota Cavalry on the western front. He entered the military as a private and was discharged as a saddler. After the war he returned to Reads Landing, Minnesota and worked as a saloon keeper until he entered the field of photography. He began his photography career in Reads Landing in 1873. In 1876 he relocated to Alma and opened a studio at 401 South Main Street. He operated his photography business in Alma for 30 years (he died in1906). Gesell is noted for his work of documenting the town, its people and culture, and its relationship to the Mississippi River. He took many photographs outside his studio capturing the Alma citizens in many of their activities. In 1879 he married Christine Giesen and they had five children. The couples oldest son, Arnold, became a pediatrician and well known psychologist. Arnold’s son also made a name for himself. Gerhard Gesell (named after his photographer grandfather) was a noted federal judge in Washington D.C. and he presided over many important cases including the  Iran Contra Affair, the release of the Pentagon Papers., and the Watergate Scandal.  How did this blog entry go from focusing on a little boy and his dog to the Watergate Scandal? Here is an answer to that question. Part of the beauty of cabinet card photography is that each image tells a story. When we look at a photograph, we use conjecture to create a story about the photograph. These created stories are based on our knowledge, as well as our psyche. A second story is created when we research the photographers, the subjects, the activities, and the times reflected in the photographs. That is the beauty of these photographs, we never know where viewing these turn of the century images will take us.