This cabinet card portrait features a nicely dressed little girl (possibly the subject is a boy) by the studio of “Stiff The Photographer”.  The back stamp of this cabinet card indicates that the studio’s address was 414 Main Street, Brockton, Massachusetts. The back stamp also confirms that the photographer did indeed call himself  “Stiff The Photographer”. What do we know about Mr Stiff? We know that Thomas P. Stiff once operated a studio known as Munroe and Stiff which was located at 64 Warren Street in Boston. We also know that in the 1880’s he had studios in Taunton and Fall River, Massachusetts. His studio in Brockton was there at least between 1882 and 1892. He was born in 1836 and died in 1908. He is buried in Melrose Cemetery in Brockton. He also must have had a sense of humor. I imagine his friends and customers must have a good time over his advertising motto “Stiff The Photographer”. The immediate humorous thought is that customers were being encouraged to not pay for the photographs they receive. I’ll leave additional interpretations to the reader.

stiff 2


stiff 1

Published in: on February 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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FALL RIVER COUPLE_0007This photograph features a not too comfortable wedding couple. Both subjects look frozen and the bride appears doll-like. She is pretty and displays a nice figure in her interesting wedding dress. She is wearing a crown of flowers while the groom has a flower pinned to his jacket. The photographer of this image is Thibault’s Portrait Gallery in Fall River, Massachusetts. The studio was operated by Joseph Thibault. Written on the reverse of the photograph is the name “Joseph Mercier”.  It is likely that the groom is Joseph Mercier. There were a number of men named Joseph Mercier living in Fall River around the time that this photograph was taken, making it impossible to garner information about the subject of this image. It does appear that the Mercier’s living in the area were of French Canadian descent.

Published in: on August 25, 2013 at 12:05 pm  Comments (3)  
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BRIDGEPORT DOG_0007Photographers Seeley & Warnock took this photograph of a cute dog posing in their studio in Bridgeport, Connecticut. What a pose?  The photographers have captured this adorable canine exhibiting a smile (with his/her mouth open). The lighting utilized in this photograph could have been better, but lets remember that dogs are tough customers for a photographer. On the reverse of the cabinet card is advertising that states “Instantaneous Portraits of Children A Successful Specialty”.  Note that photographing children is not only a “specialty” but it is a “successful specialty”. Additional printing on the reverse of the cabinet card indicates that it was produced in 1892. Preliminary research found no information about Mr. Warnock but there is an abundance of information about Mr. Seeley. Henry James Seeley was well known in Grand Army of the Republic circles. He was a department commander (Connecticut) and served in national offices of the organization. He was born in Jericho, Vermont in 1849. At the age of fifteen he enlisted in the 10th Indiana Battery, Light Artillery. After serving with the unit he was transferred to the gunboat Stone River which was operating on the Tennessee River. His next post was Fort Johnson in Huntsville, Indiana. Seeley entered and left the military as a private. After mustering out of the military in 1865, he taught school in Carbondale, Illinois. He then went to Vermont to further his education and then had teaching stints in Rome (NY), Worcester, Fall River and Bridgewater (MA). In 1872 he moved to Bridgeport where he studied photography and finally settled down. He opened a photography studio there in 1872 at 922 Main Street. He spent the next forty-five years or more working as a photographer.


An elegantly dressed couple pose for their portrait at the Providence, Rhode Island studio of Theodore F. Chase. The gentleman in this photograph displays a common cabinet card facial expression. He looks intently serious. His wife, on the other hand, has quite the sour look on her face. She looks like there is a hundred other places she would rather be. Chase’s studio was located at 61 Westminister Street. He also operated his business from other addresses. City directories reveal that in 1883 and 1884 his studio was located at 249 1/2 Westminister. Theodore Chase was born in 1842 in Fall River, Massachusetts. He married Emma Horton in 1865 and the couple had four children.


Published in: on November 9, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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The top Cabinet Card is an image of two Salvation Army workers photographed by Suddard of Fall River, Massachusetts. The young couple are both in uniform; he has a tambourine and she is holding a trumpet. It is interesting to note that he is wearing a late 1800’s version of an embossed tee shirt. His shirt’s lettering states “NO CROSS NO CROWN”. A present day, non religious  meaning of this saying would be “no pain, no gain”.  The motto on the shirt was a widely used expression and an early user of the phrase was William Penn, the founder of the Quaker colong of Pennsylvania. The second photograph, also by Suddard, shows the same couple in a different studio setting. Once again, the couple is attired in a salvation army uniform. The gentleman is wearing a different style uniform than he wore in the top photograph. In the bottom photograph, the woman has taken possession of the tambourine and the man is holding papers. These two cabinet cards were purchased more than two years apart and I am fairly certain that they were purchased from different sellers. Amazingly, these images have ended up together again.  A third cabinet card image by Suddard can be found  elsewhere in the Cabinet Gallery. It can be accessed by clicking the category “Photographers: Suddard”.


This Cabinet Card portrays a young woman rowing a boat. This photograph was made using props or perhaps employing “trick photography” techniques. The lily pads certainly appear to be an “after thought”.  Perhaps a visitor to this site can explain how the photograph was technically produced. The photographer is  J.  F. Suddard of Fall River, Massachusetts. Suddard operated a studio in Fall River between 1890 and 1905. Earlier, he had a studio in Providence, Rhode Island. To view other photographs by Suddard, click on the category “Photographer: Suddard”.