bogardusA nicely groomed gentleman, dressed in formal clothing, poses for his portrait at the Bogardus studio in New York City. The subject has an imposing mustache and a rather austere expression.  Abraham Bogardus (1822-1908) was a descendent of Dutch settlers of New York’s Hudson Vallery. He opened a studio and gallery in New York in 1846. In 1849 he opened a branch gallery in Newark, New Jersey.   His business was very successful. Bogardus was a noted celebrity photographer. In 1868 he was one of the founders of the National Photographic Association and served as the organization’s President for five years. Bogardus was a major witness at the trial of William H. Mumler. Mumler was a “spirit photographer” and he was brought to trial for fraud. Bogardus was hired by P. T. Barnum to fake a photograph of him with the “ghost” of Abraham Lincoln. The image was used as an example of the ease at which a photographer could create fake photographs of ghosts. From 1871 through 1873 Bogardus partnered in owning his studio with Daniel and David Bendann. Bogardus was not a big advocate of extensive retouching. He spoke at national conferences about his belief in minimal intervention. The popular photographers Sarony and Mora did not support the minimalist approach. Mora worked particularly hard to create celebrity portraits with an idealized appearance. Bogardus’s philosophy caused him to be very popular with male portrait sitters. In fact, Cornelius Vanderbilt insisted that Bogardus be the only photographer allowed to sell his portrait. Wishing to retire in 1884, after 38 years of business, he put his studio up for sale and in the advertisement he stated that “The reputation of the gallery is too well known to require one word of comment”. Bogardus’s studio had been located at a number of New York City addresses and the photograph above was taken at his last location. Bogardus was also a talented writer. He published many articles in photography journals and in addition during much of the 1880’s he edited a well respected monthly entitled “The Camera”. The photograph below is a portrait of Abraham Bogardus.




This image captures the portrait of a tired looking old man. This gentleman appears to have had better days. He looks exhausted and troubled. This photograph was taken by the Mark’s studio in Austin, Texas. The photographer of this cabinet card lived an interesting life and he was both a pioneer of Texas and a pioneer of photography. Harvey Roberts Marks (1821-1902) was a well known photographer who worked in a number of locations. He was active in Baltimore, Maryland (1849-1853), San Francisco, California (1851), Mobile, Alabama  (1856-1859), Houston, Texas (1865-1870), and Austin, Texas (1870-1902). He was born in New York City. He first arrived in Texas in 1838 and received a very large land grant in Harris County (Houston). He enlisted in a company of Texas Rangers in 1840 and reached the rank of Captain. He was married to Emily H. Bassan in 1849. Research indicates that she was  member of one of the most prominent families in Baltimore. In 1849 he was Jacob Shew’s partner in the Shew and Mark’s Gallery in Baltimore. He continued the gallery alone when Shew left Baltimore until 1851. The 1850 census revealed that he had three assistants in the gallery and took 5,000 daguerreotypes annually. In 1851 he took photographs of castaways from a Japanese ship involved in an incident that caught national attention. Mark’s moved to Austin in 1870 and opened a gallery a year later. During that time he became Vice President of the National Photographic Association. Marks served during the civil war. He was a member of the Houston Battalion, Texas Infantry (Detailed Men). Research was unsuccessful in gathering this Confederate regiment’s history. Marks entered the regiment and left the regiment as a Captain.  Interestingly, when former Confederacy President, Jefferson Davis, visited Austin in 1875, he sat in Mark’s studio for his portrait. He died at the age of 81.