PORTRAIT OF A TIRED OLD MAN IN TEXAS (PHOTOGRAPH BY CAPTAIN HARVEY ROBERTS MARKS)

This image captures the portrait of a tired looking old man. This gentleman appears to have had better days. He looks exhausted and troubled. This photograph was taken by the Mark’s studio in Austin, Texas. The photographer of this cabinet card lived an interesting life and he was both a pioneer of Texas and a pioneer of photography. Harvey Roberts Marks (1821-1902) was a well known photographer who worked in a number of locations. He was active in Baltimore, Maryland (1849-1853), San Francisco, California (1851), Mobile, Alabama  (1856-1859), Houston, Texas (1865-1870), and Austin, Texas (1870-1902). He was born in New York City. He first arrived in Texas in 1838 and received a very large land grant in Harris County (Houston). He enlisted in a company of Texas Rangers in 1840 and reached the rank of Captain. He was married to Emily H. Bassan in 1849. Research indicates that she was  member of one of the most prominent families in Baltimore. In 1849 he was Jacob Shew’s partner in the Shew and Mark’s Gallery in Baltimore. He continued the gallery alone when Shew left Baltimore until 1851. The 1850 census revealed that he had three assistants in the gallery and took 5,000 daguerreotypes annually. In 1851 he took photographs of castaways from a Japanese ship involved in an incident that caught national attention. Mark’s moved to Austin in 1870 and opened a gallery a year later. During that time he became Vice President of the National Photographic Association. Marks served during the civil war. He was a member of the Houston Battalion, Texas Infantry (Detailed Men). Research was unsuccessful in gathering this Confederate regiment’s history. Marks entered the regiment and left the regiment as a Captain.  Interestingly, when former Confederacy President, Jefferson Davis, visited Austin in 1875, he sat in Mark’s studio for his portrait. He died at the age of 81.

PAULINE MARKHAM: TURN OF THE CENTURY BURLESQUE ACTRESS

This risque (lots of cleavage shown for this era) cabinet card is a portrait of Pauline Markham (1847-1919), a singer and burlesque dancer during the civil war period in the United States. She was born in England where she made her stage debut as a child. She came to New York and appeared in “Black Crook” and “Pinafore”. She was a member of the Lydia Thompson troupe (British Blondes). After the civil war, she had relations with Northern Generals and Reconstructionists In the 1870’s she formed her own stage company and in 1879 she took her company on a tour of the West during which they performed Gilbert and Sullivan. A member of that troupe was Josephine Marcus, who later married lawman, Wyatt Earp. She retired from the stage in 1889 after breaking her leg. She must have taken the old show business saying of “break a leg” literally. This cabinet card was photographed by Fredricks, of Brooklyn, New York. It is possible that the photographer is Charles DeForest Fredricks (1823-1894) who was an innovative American photographer. Fredricks learned the art of daguerreotypes from the great photographer , Jeremiah Gurney (see category “Photographer: Gurney”). Fredricks worked in South America through the early 1850’s and then he operated out of Charleston, South Carolina; and Paris, France. He was the first photographer to make life-size portraits, which he then hired artists to color them using pastel. He then returned to New York City and rejoined Gurney. In 1854 he developed a new enlarging process and in 1855 he ended his association with Gurney. In the late 1850’s Fredricks ran his studio in Havana, Cuba, and in the 1860’s he opened a studio on Broadway, in New York City. He retired in 1889. Research has not confirmed that Fredricks ever had a studio in Brooklyn, so it is quite uncertain whether the Fredricks who photographed Markham is actually Charles D. Fredricks.