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hair in bun

This photograph features a pretty woman wearing a very fancy white lace dress. Hopefully, some of the cabinet card visitors with fashion interest and expertise will make some informative comments about this fashionable woman’s attire. The woman’s hairstyle is interesting. She is wearing her hair up and its in a puffy, but neat, pile. This photograph was produced by the Wilkins studio in Freeport, Illinois. Charles E. Wilkins was born in 1859 in Red Wing, Minnesota. He lived in Freeport for forty-two years and operated his photography studio there for twenty-five years. His studio was located at 123 Stephenson Street for an unknown number of years. He retired about 15 years before his death.  At age seventy-two he took up golf and “played a remarkable game” according to his obituary which appeared in the Freeport Journal Standard (1940).

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Published in: on January 30, 2018 at 12:00 pm  Comments (1)  
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A young mother and her two children pose for their portrait at the Johnson studio in Pullman, Illinois. It is interesting that the children are not in closer proximity to their mother. The distance may be due to the photographer’s direction or perhaps a more intimate pose was not part of this family’s makeup. Mom seems disconnected from her kids. The child furthest back in the image does have his hand lightly resting on his mom’s shoulder. Mom is wearing a pretty patterned dress and a wonderful hat. She is looking at the camera in an untrusting manner. One must also consider the possibility that the woman in this picture is actually the children’s older sister and not their mother. There is no information available to clarify this family’s constellation. The photographer of  this cabinet card, Thomas S. Johnson,  has an interesting biography which is very much connected to the history of the town of Pullman. Johnson was born in Chicago in 1850.He was raised on a farm in Thornton, Illinois. At the age of fifteen he attended Chicago University. He studied there until 1867. He then studied painting for a short time but in 1869 became a photographer. He married E. I. A. Fortier in 1874. She died in 1877 and he returned to farming. In 1879, while in Thornton, he reentered the field of photography. In 1880 he moved his business to Crete, Illinois and by 1882 established his business in Pullman. In 1881 he married Mary C. Whalen of Indiana. In Pullman, Johnson worked for George Pullman and he was tasked with using his photography skills to document Pullman’s factory, town and workers. Thomas Johnson was the first known photographer hired by Pullman to photograph his town and railcars. A number of photographers besides Johnson worked in the same capacity on a part time basis. Johnson published a book about Pullman; “Picturesque Pullman”. Obviously, Pullman, Illinois was named after George Pullman. The community was located in the south side of Chicago. It was built in the 1880’s by Pullman to provide housing for the employees of his company, “The Pullman Royal Palace Car Company”. The business manufactured railcars. Pullman created behavioral standards that residents of his houses had to meet in order to live in the houses that he rented to them.



LADY BROWN MOUNT_0006A striking young woman poses for her portrait at Shively’s Tower Art Gallery in Decatur, Illinois. The studio was located on the corner of Water and Park Streets. She is wearing a wide necklace with a hanging charm.

Published in: on July 29, 2013 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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LINCOLN BETHROVEDA couple pose for their wedding portrait in Lincoln, Illinois. The photographer is E. B. Core. The bride is wearing a dark wedding dress and the groom is wearing a corsage. The story behind how Lincoln, Illinois received its name is quite interesting. The town is the only town named for Lincoln before he became President of the United States. He worked as an attorney in the town between 1847 and 1859. The town was named Lincoln in 1853 and during the ceremony, Abe Lincoln christened the town by pouring watermelon juice on the ground. When it was originally proposed to name the town after Lincoln, Mr Lincoln stated that he was against the idea and that in his experience, “Nothing bearing the name of Lincoln ever amounted to much”.

Published in: on July 14, 2013 at 12:00 am  Comments (1)  
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UGLY BEARD_0003The gentleman pictured in this cabinet card photograph was clearly experiencing “a bad beard day”. The previous owner of this photograph stated that “this is what happens when you shave with a hangover”. This scraggly bearded man seems to have chopped the left side of his beard shorter than the right side. The beard seems to have been styled to look like a muskrat. The photographer of this image is C. H. Hanchett of Arlington Heights, Illinois. He also had studios in Richmond and Wauconda, Illinois. The Arlington Heights studio was at Dunton Avenue and Miner Street. To view other interesting beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best)”. If there was a category “Beards (Only the Worst)”, I would have placed it there.

Published in: on June 19, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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A toddler wearing a long gown poses by an ice cream parlor style chair in the Pfaffle studio in Minonk, Illinois. Henry Pfaffle was a man with many interests and talents. He was a optometrist in Minonk over 60 years.He began working as a printer in 1876 and entered the fields of optometry and photography in 1889. He recorded much of the early history of Minonk. He had photograph car built for him that could be placed on a railroad flat car and taken from town to town. After arriving at a new town, the photograph car would be drawn by horses to desired locations for taking photographs. Pfaffle had an interest in astronomy and constructed telescopes. The first telescope he built was sold to Eureka College. Pfeffle was also very interested in weather. He was an observer and displayer of weather flags for the Federal Weather Bureau. He died in 1952 and interestingly, donated the money from his estate to the city of Minonk for water supply improvements.

Published in: on April 25, 2013 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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TRUMPETERS_0003Two trumpeters in band uniforms pose for their portrait at the Brown studio in Sterling, Illinois. This is one of those times that there is a need for consultation from one of the visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery with band instrument expertise. Are these men holding trumpets, cornets, or bugles? One also wonders about the relationship between the two men in this photograph. Are they father and son?Unfortunately the subjects are not identified and their relationship, besides being bandmates, is unknown. In addition, the men’s uniforms lack patches or lettering to suggest their band affiliation. Research yielded no information about the photographer of this image.

Published in: on April 12, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (4)  
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chicago musician This cabinet card features stage actress Nanette Nixon. She is wearing a flower pattern dress with a lace collar. Nixon’s photograph appeared in The Sunday Telegraph (1898) and the text describes her as “soulful and able as an actress”. The brief article reports that theatre goers in New York were looking forward to her upcoming appearances there. Interestingly, the photograph in the Telegraph was taken by the same photographer who produced the photograph appearing on this cabinet card. The photographer of this image is William Mckenzie Morrison whose studio was located in the Haymarket  Theatre building in Chicago, Illinois. Morrison was a well known and successful  celebrity photographer. The reverse of the photograph is illustrated with medals from the Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), Photographers Association of America (1894), The Cotton States and International Exposition (1895), and various other competitions. To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”.



This cabinet card features stage and film actress Mabel Trunnell (1879-1981). The reverse of the photograph is inscribed “Yours Truly, Mabel Trunnell 1898”. Therefore, this image captures Miss Trunnell at about age nineteen. Mabel Trunnell was born in Dwight, Illinois. She began her career as an actress of the stage but at age thirty-two she began to appear in films. In 1911 she appeared in “A Modern Cinderella, In the Days of Chivalry” and in “The Star Spangled Banner”. Her last film was in 1923 when she was in the movie “The Love Trap”. Her filmography on IMDb indicates that she acted in 199 different films. At the age of forty-four she returned to the stage. She was married to Herbert Prior, an early British film star. Trunnell was one of Hollywood’s first movie stars as was identified with Edison Studios. A magazine article in “The Moving Picture World” (1915) reviews one of her performance. The reviewer wrote “Mabel Trunnell becomes more attractive as the course of time silvers her hair”. An interesting sociological comment was also made by the reviewer which was in regard to the admirable strength portrayed by Trunnell’s character. The reviewer notes “most of us are tired of seeing women pictured as incurable weaklings”. The reviewer was certainly a man who was ahead of his time. This cabinet card was produced by the Barrows studio in Fort Wayne, Indiana. It appears that Miss Trunnell was photographed in a costume from one of her performances. She is dressed very much like a maid and seems a bit troubled in her pose. The photographer, Frank Rufus Barrows operated a studio in Fort Wayne between 1880 and 1900. He is considered one of the city’s most prolific photographers and had several locations while in business there. He was born in Sturgis, Michigan in 1854. He came to Fort Wayne in 1880 and partnered with Frank H. Clayton in operating a photographic studio. In about a years time he became the sole proprietor of the studio. He had many photos appear in Fort Wayne Illustrated (1897). He left Indiana for Medford, Massachusetts and operated a studio there until 1910 when he moved to Eugene, Oregon where he died in 1920.


DAGMAR_0002This cabinet card features a teenage girl posing at the studio of photographer Anton Rohde of Chicago, Illinois. She is wearing a pretty wheat stalk print dress. The attractiveness of the dress is  not apparent because the photographer chose a backdrop that clashes with the dress. I would give him no prizes for this particular portrait but the printing on the bottom of this cabinet card indicates that Rohde had been a winner of awards for some of his other  photographs. One of the displayed awards was received in 1888, and the other award was from the Photographers Association of America. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription which states “To Gini” and lists the subjects name as “Dagmar” and her age as fifteen years and eight months. Anton Rohde was once partners in a photography firm called Rohde & Schutz which was located at the same address that produced this photograph. He also was once  located at 88 West Ohio Street. He is listed in the 1892 and 1900 Chicago business directories. Research located his obituary which indicates that he died in 1917 at the age of fifty-five. He was survived by his wife, Augusta Rohde.

Published in: on January 20, 2013 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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