This cabinet card portrait features a sweet and attractive looking young woman posing for her portrait at the Ernsberger Fine Art Gallery in Auburn, New York. She appears to be in her teenage years and is well dressed and holding a fur muff. Note her stylish hat. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph indicates that it was taken in May, 1880. William H. Ernsberger was a popular Auburn photographer judging by the large number of photographs by him in the collection of early Auburn images held by the Cayuga Museum. He was born in nearby Trumansberg in 1844 and moved to Auburn in 1865. He operated a photo studio in Auburn for more than sixty years. He was known to have photographed abolitionist Harriet Tubman (1822-1913) in 1908. At one point, his son Fred joined him in business. Ernsberger died in 1941. His obituary appeared in the Dunkirk Evening Observer. The article states that he was “reputedly” the oldest active photographer in the nation. He was 97 years old at the time of his death.


This Cabinet Card appears to be a wedding portrait. The bride looks beautiful in her bow plagued gown. Her feathered hat is terrific. The groom seems to be a bit older than the bride. Perhaps he lied on match.com about his age. Hopefully someone knowledgable about wedding gowns of this period can opine about whether this is a wedding portrait. The photographer is H. Seymour Squyer of Auburn, New York. Could the signature on the bottom of the cabinet card be less legible? Research relied on his address to identify him. In 1893, Squyer won an Eastman Prize that was listed in the American Journal of Photography. In 1900, he was cited as a leading expert in legal photography by the Archives of Neurology and Psychopathology. He was the legal photographer for the New York Prison System and involved in innovative work to improve the value of photography for identification of prisoners. Squyer’s photograph of Harriet Tubman is in the Smithsonian Art Portraiture Gallery.