MRS PRESIDENT CLEVELAND : TRADE CARD : ADVERTISING “THE BEST BREWING COMPANY”

Meet “Mrs President Cleveland”. In the era of Grover Cleveland’s Presidencies, wives were just extensions of their husbands and their names, were at times, irrelevant. Mrs President Cleveland was actually Frances Cleveland (1864-1947). Grover Cleveland served two terms as President. He was the 22nd and 24th President and the only President to serve non consecutive terms. He began his terms in 1885 and 1893. Enough about Grover, there is plenty to say about Frances. She was born in Buffalo, New York. Her given first name was “Frank”, but she feminized it later. She was named after an uncle. Her father was an attorney and was a close friend of Grover Cleveland. Cleveland met Frances when she was a baby and he was twenty-seven years old. He watched Frances grow up and showed a caring interest in her. When Frances lost her father in a carriage accident, she was only eleven years-old. Cleveland became the administrator of her father’s estate and this position put him in more contact with her. While Frances was in college, Cleveland developed romantic feeling toward her and in 1885, he proposed to her. At age 21, she was the youngest wife of a President. Frances received much attention from the newspapers and magazines of the time. Her wedding was widely covered. John Phillip Sousa led the Marine band at her wedding. Throughout her husband’s terms, many American women imitated her hairstyle and her fashion taste. The Women’s Christian Temperance Union was very critical of the way Frances dressed. They did not appreciate her baring her shoulders and wearing low cut dresses. They prepared a petition of protest which the first lady ignored. Grover and Frances had five children, three daughters and two sons. She was first first lady to give birth while her husband was President. Her first born, Ruth, died at age twelve of diphtheria. The “Baby Ruth” candy bar was named after her. Grover Cleveland died in 1908. About four years later, Frances married a professor of archaeology at her alma mater, Wells College. When World War I started, she joined the pro-war National Security League and became an officer of the organization. She created much controversy with the league when she claimed that a large segment of the American population was unassimilated and preventing the country from working together efficiently. Adding to the stir was that she recommended that school children should be psychologically indoctrinated to be in favor of the war. All this self initiated commotion caused her to resign in 1919. Frances Cleveland was no friend of the Women’s Suffrage movement. She cemented the disfavor of the movement when she said that “women weren’t yet intelligent enough to vote”. In 1913, she was elected as vice president of the “New Jersey Association Opposed to Woman’s Suffrage”. On a more politically correct note, during the Great Depression she led the “Needlework Guild of America’s clothing drive for the poor. Immediately after her wedding, the facial image of Mrs Cleveland began appearing in advertising aimed at selling various products such as sewing kits, cigars, and women’s perfume. Frances was a perfect model for companies looking to advertise. She was young, pretty, and vivacious. One form of advertising that employed Mrs Cleveland’s image to sell products, was trade cards, such as the one seen above. This trade card aims to sell “The ‘Best’ Tonic” which was produced by “The Philadelphia Best Brewing Company”. Advertising on this tradecard declares that the brewing company will send a 19″ x 25″ portrait of Frances Cleveland to customers that send in twelve coupons from their “Best Tonic”product.  This trade card was printed by the Julius Bien (1826-1909) Lithograph Company of New York. This vintage trade card is in good condition (see scans).   (SOLD)

ATTRACTIVE WOMAN WITH A TALL FANCY HAT AND A SCARF IN PITTSFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS

An attractive woman with a tall fancy hat and a scarf poses for her portrait at the Clark studio in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The photographer of this image is Forester Clark. He was cited in the Photographic Times (1988) because his eight year=old daughter Eva wrote a letter to then President Grover Cleveland which included six winter and six summer views of Pittsfield street scenes. She received a reply from the President with the salutation of “My Dear Young Friend”,  and the letter went on to say, among other things, that he found the photographs very interesting. Clark is also mentioned in the Photographic Journal of America (1893) for announcing that he was leaving Pittsfield (he lived there 21 years) and moving to Montpelier, Vermont to become treasurer of the Excelsior Granite Works. The article reported that Clark had taken 31,000 negatives while in Pittsfield. Clark was a veteran of the civil war. He enlisted in 1861 and was discharged in 1862 with the rank of Private. He was a member of the 5th Wisconsin Infantry. The 1880 US census reveals that Clark was born in Vermont in 1836. He married his wife, Emma, in 1862. He had four children aged one through thirteen. The 1900 census found Clark living in the Bronx, New York with his wife and two of his children. He was employed as a granite salesman. The 1910 census indicates that Clark was living in Cheshire, Massachusetts with his wife and that at 73 years-old, he was working once again as a photographer.

CHARLES J. FOLGER: SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY UNDER PRESIDENT CHESTER ARTHUR

UThis cabinet card features Charles James Folger (1818-1884) who was an American lawyer and politician. He served as Secretary of the Treasury under President Chester Arthur. Folger was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts but lived most of his life in Geneva, New York. He attended Hobart College. His political career includes judgeships and some terms in the New York State Senate (1862-1869). While in the state senate, he served four years as President Pro Tempore. In 1869 he left state government after being appointed by President Ulysses Grant as the Assistant U.S. Treasurer. In 1870, he became a judge of the New York Court of Appeals and eventually became the Chief Judge. H eft the judgeship in 1881  to serve as Secretary of the Treasury, and during that tenure, he ran for Governor in New York against future U.S. President, Grover Cleveland. Folger had many accomplishments and he has just added a new honor to his legacy. Folger’s wonderful muttonchops, qualifies him to join the facial hair elite in the category of “Beards (Only the Best)”. Click on the category to view unusual styles of facial hair. This portrait was photographed by Falk, a well known New York City, celebrity photographer. To view other photographs by Falk, click on the category “Photographer: Falk”. A stamp on the reverse of  this cabinet card reveals that it was formerly owned by Culver Pictures of New York City, New York. Culver Pictures has been collecting photographs and illustrations from the 19th and first half of the 20th century, since 1926. These pictures are used in books, films, and other forms of media. At the time that this cabinet card was stamped by the company, Culver Pictures was located in New York City.

PRETTY FRESHMAN CONGRESSMAN’S WIFE IN WASHINGTON D. C.

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.