A GENTLEMAN AND HIS GIANT MUSTACHE IN BROOKLYN, NEW YORK

brooklyn mustash_0004A man with a partial beard, mutton chops, and a very bushy mustache is captured by photographer George Frank E. Pearsall. The address of Pearsall’s studio was 298 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, New York. This portrait earns a spot in the cabinet card gallery’s category “Mustaches (Only the Best)”. Take a look at the category for some very interesting facial hair images. Frank Pearsall was born in New York City. His father was a life boat builder. Pearsall’s parents died when he was young and he and his two brothers were raised by an aunt in Saratoga, New York. In 1852 he began to learn about the photography business from his uncle who operated a gallery. After two years, his uncle left for Australia and the business failed despite Pearsall’s aunt’s efforts. Frank and his older brother left for an adventure and they spent eight years in such places as Cuba, West Indies, Venezuela, and elsewhere. In 1862 he returned to New York and worked as a positionist with celebrated New York City photographer Benjamin Gurney (see category “Photographer: Gurney”). He refined his skills working in the Gurney studio. In 1866 he married Long Islander Elizabeth Conrow. In 1870 he opened a photographic studio in Brooklyn which operated for two years at which point he moved his business to the 298 Fulton Street address. An 1880 advertisement asserted that Pearsall’s studio was the largest one in Brooklyn. Pearsall developed a historic camera in 1883. The camera was called the “Pearsall’s Compact Camera” and was unique in that it came in its own “carrying case” that also housed needed accessories. This design was imitated by all of the major camera manufacturers through the 1920’s. The British Journal of Photography (1876) published an article pertaining to a court case involving Pearsall. The case, Pearsall vs Schenck. was followed by photographers through out the United States because it involved a matter of universal importance to their business. The case concerned a couple that set for 17 poses at Pearsall’s studio. He sent them the proofs and they returned them. The couple contended that they did not like the pictures and would not pay for them. Pearsall demanded payment regardless of whether the couple liked the pictures. The journal took the side of Pearsall when they wrote that photography does not make “the human face divine”, it only reproduces it. The journal argued that the photographer does not have the responsibility of the painter to please the sitter for the portrait because the photographer can not control an image the way a painter can control a painting. Photographer can no change their subject’s “bad features”. The nose that is “snubby” will be “snubby” in photographs. “It is too bad to blame the poor photographer for the facial accidents of nature”. Tongue in cheek, the journal suggests the couple should have paid their bill or else the photographer might put their portraits in the gallery’s main display cases to be seen by all visitors. Pearsall won the legal case and the couple was ordered to pay for the photographs. The New York Times (1876) also reported this story but was less supportive of Pearsall. However, their article stated that the photographer should be paid for his time and supplies. The Times also made an analogy concerning the relationship of medical doctor and patient. The article asserted that patients had to pay their doctors even when they were not cured by the doctors efforts. Research revealed two interesting side notes. Pearsall was the President of the Brooklyn Archery club and in 1881 was the Secretary and Treasurer of the National Archery Association. A second bit of trivia is that Pearsall’s brother, Alva Pearsall, was a camera operator for Matthew Brady in 1871.

FAMOUS CIVIL WAR PHOTOGRAPHER CAPTURES TWO WOMEN MAKING A FASHION STATEMENT IN SNOWY PAINESVILLE, OHIO

This cabinet card features two woman dressed in their winter cloaks and hats. They are in the studio of G. N. Barnard in Painesville, Ohio. The photograph has some special effects in the form of fake falling snow. The factor that makes this photograph most special, is the photographer’s life story. George N. Barnard (1819-1902), was a pioneer of nineteenth century photography. At age 23 he was producing daguerrotypes and four years later he opened his first studio in Oswego, New York. An 1853 grain elevator fire occurred in Oswego, and Barnard captured the fire with his camera. Some historians consider these photographs the first news photography in history. In 1854 he opened a short lived studio in Syracuse, New York. He then moved to New York City where he worked on stereoscopes for Edward Anthony’s Studio in 1859 .Soon, he was hired by Matthew Brady as a portrait photographer and Brady sent him to Washington D.C. to photograph Abraham Lincoln’s 1861 inauguration as President of the United States. He later became part of “Brady’s Photographic Corps” to photograph the Civil War. Barnard is best known  for his work in the civil war (1861-1865). He was the official army photographer for the Military Division of the Mississippi, commanded by Union General William T Sherman. Barnard’s book “Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign” is a photographic record of Sherman’s destructive Atlanta Campaign and subsequent March to the Sea. After the war, Barnard opened a studio in Chicago in 1869. The studio was destroyed in the “Great Fire” of 1871. He proceeded to take photographs of the rebuilding of Chicago over the next few years; providing a terrific record of that process. In 1884, Barnard opened his Painesville, Ohio studio; which brings us back to the cabinet card image of the two ladies in the snow.

BEAUTIFUL WOMAN POSES IN HER MOURNING ATTIRE IN LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY

MOURNINGWOMAN_0005A beautiful woman poses for her portrait for a photographer in the studio of Klauber in Louisville, Kentucky. The woman’s name is J. T. Lane. She is wearing a black mourning dress with elaborate beading and ribbons. She is wearing an interesting black hat and black gloves. Ms Lane is holding a hankie and a book. The photograph comes from a collection of photographs which belonged to a Charleston, South Carolina family. The same collection featured a number of photographs of a woman named Effe May Blanchard who married prominent Charlestonian Julian Hazelhurst Walter. A portrait and description of the life of the attractive Ms  Blanchard-Walter can be found by clicking on the tag found below this entry. The relationship between J. T. Lane and Ms Blanchard-Walter is unknown. The photographer of this portrait, Edward Klauber was considered by many to be one of the best photographers of his time. He was a native of Bohemia who came to the United States at age eighteen. His large and elegant studio was compared to the studio of Matthew Brady in New York City. The studio was lavishly furnished. Stage personalities like Mary Anderson enjoyed having portraits done by Klauber when they were in Louisville performing at the Macauley theatre. Klauber’s studio closed in 1913 and he died in 1918.

Benjamin Wade: American Civil War Senator and Anti Slavery Figure (Photographed by Matthew Brady)

ben-wadeBenjamin Wade (1800-1878)) was born in Massachusetts. He worked as a laborer on the Erie Canal, taught school and then studied and practiced law in Ohio. As a member of the Whig Party he was elected to the Ohio State Senate and served two terms. He later became an Ohio court judge. Wade joined the Republican Party and in 1851 was elected to the US Senate. He became a Radical Republican along with Thaddeus Stevens and Charles Sumner. He fouhgt against the Fugitive Slave Act and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He was very radical and supported women suffrage, trade union rights and equality for African Americans. In 1861 as chairman of the Committee on Territories he witnessed the defeat of the Union Army at the First Bull Run and was nearly captured by the confederates. During the American Civil War, Wade was extremely critical of Lincoln. After the war he pushed for African American units in the Regular Army. He was also instrumental in the impeachment of American President Andrew Johnson. Wade was considered by some as a good choice for Ulysses S Grant’s running mate but Grant refused. This cabinet card is from Matthew Brady’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C..