A pretty young woman wearing an unusual dress poses for her portrait at the Rindahl studio in Grafton, North Dakota. This plains beauty is anything but plain in her dress which features giant buttons and a high collar. She is wearing a collar pin. The reverse of the photograph lists the name of this fashionable lady as “Lena Larson”.  Lena B. Larson appears in the 1920 and 1930 United States census. Lena was born in 1884 and was married to Olaf Larson who was a farmer and two years her junior. In 1920 and 1930 she was living in Kensington, North Dakota. The 1930 census indicates that Lena had six children aged three to seventeen. Records indicate that she died in 1967 at the age of 83 and was buried in Park River, North Dakota. The photographer of this image is J. O. Rindahl. According to the book, “North Dakota of Today” (1919), Rindahl (1862-?) was born on a farm in Wisconsin. He had a childhood interest in painting but because of strains caused by being a member of a family of twelve, he had limited art instruction. He “drifted” into photography, a field in which he was quite successful. In 1895 he went abroad and visited a number of  “renowned art galleries”. This experience caused his passion for painting to reemerge and when he returned to Grafton he used his spare time to pursue painting. The book features some of his paintings and several North Dakota churches displayed his paintings. In addition to religious paintings, he was known as a landscape painter. Rindahl had a partner in his photography business for fifteen years. Henry Ball and Rindahl occupied a studio on Main Street for at least some of those years. The St. Louis & Canadian Photographer (1902) announced that Ball sold the studio to Rindahl. The Bulletin of Photography (1922) reported that Rindahl sold the studio in Grafton, after operating it there for thirty-three years. The buyer was Arvid Rydholm of Minneapolis, Minnesota.




This photograph features Mr. and Mrs. Tom Werkley and their children Paul and Blanche. The father and son are wearing bow ties and the daughter is wearing bows in her hair. The photographer is unknown as the studio name listed on the pbotograph is illegible.

Published in: on August 12, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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