The pretty lady in the beaded dress is a congressman’s wife. Her husband is one of the freshman congressmen that just arrived in Washington D. C. to begin their term. They come to our capitol city flush with hopes of fulfilling their unrealistic campaign promises. It won’t take long for these new lawmakers to figure out that their main focus will be to devise ways to stay in office. Anyway, the lady in this photograph is filled with excitement. She has come to Washington with a different agenda than her idealistic husband. She is looking forward to the teas and the gala events that are so popular in this social city. She is preparing to meet the First Lady. That will be a real treat. Frances Folsom Cleveland is warm and beautiful. Her marriage to Grover Cleveland is quite the story. Grover Cleveland was the law partner of Frances Folsom’s father and knew Frances since her infancy. When Folsom died, Cleveland was the executor of his estate and he oversaw Frances’s mothers finances, as well as Frances’s education. After a scandal in which Cleveland was accused of fathering an illegitimate child; he proposed to Frances. She needed time to consider his offer and left for a European tour which included some considering. She returned to America and accepted his marriage proposal. They married in the White House, and she, at age twenty-one,  became the youngest First Lady in American history. Anyway, the fine looking lady in this photograph went to G. W. Davis, to have this image taken. Davis has a studio at 925 Pennsylvania Avenue, in Washington D. C.. He also has a studio in Richmond, Virginia. Here comes the moment of truth. Everything written in this blog entry is accurate with just one exception. That exception concerns the identity of the woman in this photograph. As far as I know, she is not a congressman’s wife. Her true identity has been lost to history.

Richard Bartholdt: U.S. Congressman from Missouri


Richard Bartholdt (1855-1932) was born in Schleiz, Germany where he attended college and then immigrated to the United States in 1872. He initially settled in Brooklyn, New York where he learned the printing trade and became a newspaper writer and publisher. He then moved to St. Louis, Missori in 1877 and continued in the newspaper trade. In 1893, while editor in chief of the St. Louis Tribune and member of the St. Louis Board of Education, he was elected as a Republican to the U.S. Congress where he served until 1915. While in Congress he served as chairman of the Committee on Immigration and Naturalization and other committees. In 1911, President Taft appointed him special envoy to the German Emperor to present a statue of Baron Steuben as a gift from Congress and the American people. After serving his time in congress, Bartholdt devoted himself to literary and further political pursuits. He was an esperantist, ind in 1914 he proposed a resolution to have Esperanto taught in American schools. During World War I, he was president of the American Independence Union, which was committed to establishing an embargo on munitions sales by the United States companies to belligerent nations. He died in St. Louis, Mo.  This Cabinet card was photographed by C M (Charles) Bell of Washington D.C.  The reverse of the card is inscribed by Barholdt. He writes “With the compliments of the season. Yours very truly, Richard Bartholdt M.C.” It is very likely that M.C. signifies “Member of Congress”.

Published in: on December 21, 2008 at 6:02 pm  Leave a Comment  
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