LADY HAT F_0002The woman in this cabinet card photograph is identified as “Hattie Sugle”. Her name appears in an inscription on the reverse of the photograph. Hattie has intense eyes and is wearing an interesting large hat. Research could not garner any further information about this individual. The photographer of this image is John A. Shoaff (1836-1921) who operated a photography studio in Fort Bend, Indiana. To learn more about this photographer and to view more of his photographs, click on the category “Photographer: Shoaff”.



Published in: on February 13, 2014 at 11:48 am  Comments (2)  
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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.



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.


THE SCHMIDTS_0002A lovely formally dressed couple is featured in this cabinet card portrait by the John W. Tharling in Evansville, Indiana. The man and woman are identified as George Schmidt and Anna Hoch Schmidt.    The 1900 census reveals that George and Anna were married in 1897. They made their home in Pigeon, Indiana. George worked as a stocker at the gas works. George was born in 1878 and was educated through the eighth grade.  Anna was born in 1872. Both were natives of Indiana and were of German heritage. The 1910 US census finds the couple living in Knight, Indiana and George working as a farmer. The couple had two children, Hubert (age 9) and Idella (age 4). The couple also had a nineteen year-old live-in housekeeper.  As a side note, Knight, Indiana was named in anticipation of the University of Indiana’s basketball program having great success under the leadership of coach Bobby Knight. He coached the Indiana Hoosiers between 1971 and 2000 and led the team to three NCAA championships. Sorry. I couldn’t resist telling the mythical origin of the naming of Knight, Indiana. The 1920 census discloses that the couple had added a third child, Miranda (age 3). They were living in Evansville. By the time the 1940 census was taken, Anna had died and George was living in Knight with his daughter Miranda (Grennan) and her family.


An inscription on the reverse of this image indicates that this handsome well dressed young man was named Theo Sparks. He looks quite spiffy with his winged collar shirt, wide tie, and handlebar mustache. The photographer was not identified nor was the location of the photographer’s studio. Despite a paucity of information, research found some biographical information about Mr. Sparks. Theo Sparks (1870-1956) was born in Indiana. The 1880 US census finds him at age 10, living in Linton, Indiana.He lived with his parents, Peter S.  and Mary E. Sparks. His father was a farmer. He  lived with four older siblings, Iris (age 18), Orian (age 17), Ishmel (age 14), and Pascal (age 12). He also lived with three younger siblings, Marco (age 8), Eura (age 6), and Cush (age 2). Also living with the family was Theo’s fraternal uncle, Wesley Sparks. Theo and his siblings had very unusual and interesting names. Peter and Mary Sparks deserve kudos for their creativity in baby naming.The 1900 census finds the 29 year-old Theo Sparks living in Denver, Colorado and newly married to Maud Sparks (age 24). He was working as a motorman. According to the 1910 census, Theo and Maud still lived in Denver and had four sons, Rolland (age 8), Warren (age 5), Glen (age 4), and Jorville (age 3 months). It seems Theo and Maud continued Theo’s parents tradition of giving some of their children unusual names. Theo supported his family with his income from working as a street car motorman. The 1920 through 1940 censuses indicate that Theo and Maud continued to live in Denver with different members of their family being part of their household in each of the censuses.

Published in: on November 25, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (6)  
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This cabinet card features a very interesting looking and nicely dressed gentleman. He is wearing a straw hat and  pince nez glasses. He has the appearance of someone well educated. The subject of this portrait has a unique looking beard. To view other distinctive beards, click on the category “Beards (Only the Best). The photograph was produced by the McDonald Studio of South Bend, Indiana. The McDonald studio remains in business today. It is the oldest photography studio in the Michiana area. What is Michiana? Michiana is a region in northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan centered on the city of South Bend.. Albert J. McDonald founded the gallery in 1861. He operated the business for 41 years and was succeeded by his son. The Bulletin of Photography (1917) printed  McDonald’s obituary. The article reports that he was born in Rochester, New York in 1841. His family moved to South Bend when he was nine years of age.

Published in: on August 13, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This photograph features two musicians posing for their portrait at the Jarrard Studio in Fort Wayne, Indiana. According to an inscription on the reverse of the photograph, the violinist is named “Louie Dudenhofer” and he is the “Brother to Jeanette”. The second musician is unidentified and he is holding his accordion. The photographer, Harry R. Jarrard was born in Indiana in 1852. He is known to have been a photographer from at least 1889 through 1910. He is thought  to have arrived in Fort Wayne in 1886 and in 1888 married Emma Short. His photography business in Fort Wayne occupied several locations during its existence.

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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This handsome older gentleman with white hair and a white beard, is named Adrian Manley (1826-1906). The U.S. census of 1880 reveals that he was married to Elizabeth Manley and that he was employed as a clerk. He and his wife lived with their son Leny, a twenty nine year-old laborer. The 1900 census finds Mr Manley in his seventies living with his wife and two grandchildren, Wane (age 8), and Sylvia (age 6). Adrian Manley’s death certificate lists his occupation as a farmer which likely indicates that farming was his primary work for most of his life. The photographer who produced this photograph was John Morrison Brigham (1863-1933) whose studio was located in Plainwell, Michigan. Brigham attended Indiana Normal College at Valparaiso, Indiana. He studied photography in Plainwell and owned his first gallery there. In 1898 he moved to Battle Creek, Michigan where he opened a photography studio that became very successful. In 1885, Brigham  married Ida M Potter of Mankato, Minnesota. Photo Beacon (1897) printed a review of some of Brigham’s work and it was not complimentary. The reviewer simply wrote, “lots of dead eyes”.


This cabinet card is a portrait of a fashionable couple posing in a Fort Wayne, Indiana, photographic studio. Note that both subjects are wearing gloves; the man is wearing black gloves while the woman is wearing white gloves. The photographer is John A. Shoaff (1836-1921). Shoaff was born in Juanita, Pennsylvania and moved with his family to Fort Wayne at the age of twelve. He operated his business in Fort Wayne until his retirement in 1894. He died at the age of 85, in Fort Wayne. To view other photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Shoaff”.

Published in: on November 9, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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This cabinet card features two well-dressed men posing for their portrait in a studio belonging to J. W. Ecker. The studio was located in Evansville, Indiana and at one time was called the Sunbeam Gallery. . The men in this photograph are wearing identical outfits. Note their striped pants, derby hats and canes. The man on the left is holding a cigar. They are posed in front of a nice backdrop depicting a forest.

Published in: on September 29, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (3)  
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