This cabinet card portrait features Rufus Billings Cowing, New York City Judge and Wall Street lawyer. The photograph was published  by Fredricks whose studio was located at Broadway and Ninth Street in New York City, New York. The New York Times (1906) reported Judge Cowing’s retirement from the bench of the Court of General Sessions. He had served for 28 years and had been involved in some sensational criminal and political corruption cases. His career was intertwined with the history of New York City. After leaving the courts, he entered private practice by joining his son’s firm on Wall Street. Cowing was born in Jamestown, New York in 1840. Cowing’s father died when Cowing was just 5 years old. At age 12, he came to New York City where he attended boarding school until he entered the Polytechnic Institute in Brooklyn from which he graduated in 1861. Next, he clerked at a bank for a short while and then decided to enter a law career. He worked for and studied at a New York City law firm for about two years and then entered Harvard University’s Law School, graduating in 1865. He practiced law in New York City and got involved in politics. He had an unsuccessful run for an assembly seat in 1875. He ran as a Republican in a heavily Democratic district and nearly won. Cowing was married twice and had children from both unions. He was married to Hester Tugnot (1866) and Marie Ling (1901). Cowing died in 1920. Charles DeForest Fredricks, the photographer of this image, was a well known New York City photographer who was known to have photographed many celebrities during his career.


MAN AND DOG_0002This terrific Cabinet Card is a portrait of a Judge in Chicago, Illinois. The clarity and detail of this image is remarkable. The photographer was C. D. Mosher of Chicago, Illinois. Mosher was an important early photographer of Chicago and made national news for an ambitious endeavor  he undertook. The New York Times wrote a story in 1885 about Mosher’s project to collect 10,000 portraits of prominent residents of Chicago. His goal was to finish collecting the images by 1888. The photographs were placed in a special safe and placed in a vault provided by the city to only be opened for the nations bicentennial in 1876.  Perhaps this Cabinet Card is one of the photographs that was locked away for Mosher’s effort to preserve history. To view other cabinet cards by Mosher, click on the category “Photographer: Mosher”.

Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 3:00 am  Comments (2)  
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