This cabinet card features a very cute, curly haired,   little girl standing on a chair. She is clutching her doll and carefully posing the doll for the photograph. She is wearing an adorable dress. The fabric at her collar matches the fabric on the cuffs of her sleeves.  The little girl is identified on the reverse of the card as “Mrs. J. J. Joseph”.  A faded back stamp identifies the photographer as L. McLean, and his studio as being located in Idaho Springs, Colorado. Lachlan McLean was listed in the Clear Creek County Business Directory (1890). His work was well respected and a biography has been written about his life, Secure the Shadow: Lachlan McLean, Colorado Mining Photographer (1980). This cabinet photograph was taken only a few decades after the founding of Idaho Springs. The town was established by prospectors in the early days of the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Idaho Springs was the site of the first significant gold discovery in Colorado.  (SOLD)

Published in: on May 31, 2022 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A pretty young woman sits sideways on a chair and holds an open magazine as she poses for her portrait at the Talbot studio in Loveland, Colorado. If she is indeed sitting sidesaddle on the chair; it is an unusual pose. She is wearing an interesting and uncommon dress. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can tell us something about the dress. What kind of material is this dress made from? What is the material of the fabric that is sewn over parts of the dress? What kind of hair accessory is she wearing atop her head?  Note that she is also wearing a ribbon which can be partially seen behind her head. Are you wondering about the “Mammoth Potato Hoax” yet?  I’ll get right to that intriguing story after a brief description of the town where the Talbot studio was located. In the early seventies (the nineteen, not the eighteen seventies) I used to ski Loveland’s slopes and mail valentine day cards from the Loveland post office. It was considered extra romantic to have a Loveland postmark on your Valentines Day cards. I enjoyed the town, but never knew the story of how Loveland got it’s name. Research reveals that Loveland was founded in 1877 and was named in honor of William A. H. Loveland, the President of the Colorado Central Railroad. Not many years later, Adam H. Talbot operated a photography studio in Loveland. In 1894, he was recognized nationally and internationally for his involvement in the “Mammoth Potato Hoax of Loveland, Colorado”. The hoax actually started very innocently. The editor of the Loveland Reporter wanted to help a local potato farmer, Joseph B. Swan, promote his spud sales at a Loveland street fair. The farmer was well respected for his potato production. He had grown 26,000 pounds of potatoes on one acre of land over a years period. He had claimed to have grown a giant potato weighing 13 lbs, 8 ozs.  In an effort to create a humorous advertisement for farmer Swan, the newspaper editor recruited photographer Talbot to use trick photography to create a photograph of Swan holding a massive potato over his shoulder. Printing below the image stated that the potato weighed over 86 pounds. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on the participants point of view, many people believed that this attempt at humor was actually reality. Word spread about this amazing potato. Eventually, a New York City attorney sent the photograph to the editors of the Scientific American. The attorney included a note that stated that the actual potato had been on exhibit at the  Loveland Reporter offices.   The editors ordered an engraving of the photograph to be made and than published it as real news in an 1895 issue. Eventually, the editors became aware of the truth about the photograph and published an angry retraction. The magazine reported it was victim of a “gross fraud” and stated unkind opinions about photographer Talbot. They asserted that “An artist who lends himself to such methods of deception may be ranked as a thoroughbred knave, to be shunned by everybody”. The story of the “mammoth potato hoax” went viral, 1890’s style. It was widely reported but still many were not aware that the giant potato never existed. Farmer Swan was besieged by letters asking for information and offering to buy his amazing potato seeds. Swan would try to explain that the famous potato never existed, but people did not believe him. Eventually, Swan just told inquirers that the potato had been stolen. Incredibly, the story of the huge potato appeared in The Strand Magazine (1897), and it was reported as true news. After some years had passed, Talbot finally received some positive acclaim in the St. Louis and Canadian Photographer (1902). Talbot was recognized for producing photographs for a book named “Loveland, Colorado Illustrated”.  SOLD


This 1908 real photo postcard captures a well dressed couple posing by “Mushroom Rock” which is located in the “Garden of the Gods” in the state of Colorado. The site is specifically situated in Colorado Springs. Garden of the Gods is a public park and was named a National Natural Landmark in 1971. Glaciers and erosion left the land with incredible rock formations. The park was named by two surveyors in 1859. Multiple Native American nations had involvement with the area. In addition to “Mushroom Rock”, tourists have made “Balanced Rock” a popular visitor site. A photograph of “Balanced Rock” can be found elsewhere in the Cabinet Card Gallery (use the search box to find it). The stamp box indicates the card was published between 1904 and 1918, The 1908 date written on the reverse of the postcard fall well within the range of those years.   (SOLD)


Unlike a lot of children photographed during and soon after the cabinet card era, this child is showing some emotion. It’s exciting to be able to stand on a chair and have parental  permission to do so. The child looks adorable in his/her plaid outfit. Note the pretty wicker chair. The Nast studio captured this somewhat unfocussed but lovely portrait.

Published in: on September 29, 2013 at 1:03 pm  Comments (7)  
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This cabinet card features two dandies posing at the Bates studio in Denver, Colorado. The studio was located in the Tabor building at Sixteenth and Larimer Streets. The subjects of this photograph are well dressed and wearing hats. Both men are holding walking sticks. The reverse of the image has an inscription that states ” Nellie Sanborn’s, 1882″. Research revealed very little about the identity of Nellie Sanborn. The only lead found is that there was a Nellie Sanborn born in Colorado in 1863 who appears in the Iowa State Census of 1885. At the time of the census she was living in the town of Keokuk and was twenty-two years old. Nellie Sanborn’s connection to the gentlemen in this image is unknown. Photographer W. L. Bates appears in the 1881 Denver city directory under the occupation of photographer.  A Colorado genealogical site contends that Bates worked as a photographer in Denver between 1880 and 1890.

Published in: on August 8, 2013 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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According to an inscription on the reverse of this photograph, the young boy in this image is named Charles Evan Johnson Jr.. At the time that this cabinet card was produced, Charles was two years old. The previous owner of this image stated that the young boy is wearing a Chinese style woolen dress and hat. I am not sure if that description is correct. The photographer of this photograph is Charles Bohm of Denver, Colorado. His studio was located at 284 Fifteenth Street. He is cited in a number of sources as the former employer of Frank Albert Rinehart (1861-1928) who became a famous American artist for his photography capturing Native American personalities and scenes. To view the work of Alfred Edward Rinehart, Frank’s brother, click on the category “Photographer: Rinehart”. Charles Bohm was an engraver, a jeweler and a real estate developer. He was born in Germany in 1846 and his family came to the United States to escape the democratic revolution of 1848. For many years the Bohm family lived in New Jersey where he became an apprentice in a design and engraving business. After a two year trip to Denver, he returned to New York where he designed copper plates, illustrated magazines, and organized the Palette Art Club. In 1872 he moved back to Denver and established a business offering design, engraving and photographic portraiture. He was active in Denver society and was a trustee for the water company and the library. Apparently, he loved speed and was involved in racing cars, horses and sleds. Research was not fruitful in learning about the subject of this photograph, Charles Evan Johnson Jr.. His name is too common to properly identify him in research materials.



Two affectionate men pose for their portrait in Newton, Kansas. The men look quite dapper in their suits and with their straw hats. Note that the gentleman wearing the suit and vest has a pocket watch chain visible atop his vest. He is also holding a walking stick.The man standing, and the man sitting on the hammock are showing some shared affection. They could be friends, relatives, or even lovers. It is impossible to guess their relationship. One wonders if homophobia was much of a factor in the cabinet card era in regard to men showing affection to men in public or in photographs. Perhaps a visitor to the cabinet card gallery can competently comment on this issue. The photographer of this image is the Tripp studio in Newton, Kansas. According to print on the reverse of the photograph, the studio was located on the corner of Main Street and Broadway. The photographer, Frank D. Tripp is cited in Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin (1896) as the President of the Photographers Association of Kansas. Another source states that Tripp “flourished” as a photographer in Newton during the 1880’s. Tripp’s obituary appears in The Evening Kansan Republican (1947). He died in Denver, Colorado at age eighty. He was described in the article as a pioneer photographer in Newton. He was an officer in the Newton Masonic Lodge. At some point he moved to Pueblo, Colorado where he was a partner in the Tripp and York photography studio.

Published in: on February 24, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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Three men, dressed in western fashion, pose for photographer D. W. Carpenter, in La Junta, Colorado. The men may be ranchers or businessmen, judging by their clothing. They seem less likely to be cowpokes. The men are dressed in their finest clothing and wearing three different types of neckwear. A standard necktie, a bandana type tie, and a bow tie, are all represented. To of the men are wearing  pins. The gentleman standing on the left in the image has a pin with a portrait of a woman. The seated man’s pin has words on it but they are not decipherable with available magnification. The two standing men are displaying some affection, not commonly seen among males on cabinet cards of this era. La Junta, Colorado, is located on the Arkansas River, in southeast Colorado. The town was formed in 1881 and was a railroad town (Santa Fe Railroad) that became a center of trade. It is interesting to note that this photograph was taken not long after the formation of La Junta.

Published in: on January 9, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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Meet Dominick Armoccito, inmate number 4461. Actually, you wouldn’t want to meet Dominick Armoccito. When this photograph was taken, he was on his way to the Colorado State Penitentiary, in Canon City, Colorado. He was charged with Assault to Rape and sentenced to one year of prison.  At the time that this image was made, he was 32 years-old and weighed 139 pounds and was 5 feet and 2 1/2 inches tall. His complexion was sallow (sickly yellowish hue), and he had brown eyes and black hair. He worked as a laborer prior to jail. He was sentenced in Chaffee County, Colorado. The preceding information about convict Armoccito was all hand written on the back of the mug shot. The photographer of this photograph is unknown and the location where the photograph was taken was likely Canon City. Research reveals that Armoccito’s inmate number indicates that he began his sentence sometime between 1895 and 1902.

Published in: on April 30, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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larimer streetThis Cabinet Card is a portrait of a very beautiful young woman photographed by Alfred Edward Rinehart in Denver, Colorado.  She is wearing a necklace and earrings and her hair style is meticulously done and the style appears unusual for photographed women of this time period. Perhaps she is an actress or was part of Denver’s high society.  Rinehart’s studio was located on one of Denver’s oldest and most historic blocks (Larimer Street). Rinehart was a pioneer photographer who came to Denver from Lafayette, Indiana in 1874.  He was the city’s leading photographer during the mining boom and photographed many of the early Denver pioneers.  His subjects included Kit Carson and Mountain Man Jim Baker.  Rinehart died at age 63 in 1915.