BEAUTY FROM THE PLAINS: LENA BRINGS HIGH FASHION TO GRAFTON, NORTH DAKOTA

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A pretty young woman wearing an unusual dress poses for her portrait at the Rindahl studio in Grafton, North Dakota. This plains beauty is anything but plain in her dress which features giant buttons and a high collar. She is wearing a collar pin. The reverse of the photograph lists the name of this fashionable lady as “Lena Larson”.  Lena B. Larson appears in the 1920 and 1930 United States census. Lena was born in 1884 and was married to Olaf Larson who was a farmer and two years her junior. In 1920 and 1930 she was living in Kensington, North Dakota. The 1930 census indicates that Lena had six children aged three to seventeen. Records indicate that she died in 1967 at the age of 83 and was buried in Park River, North Dakota. The photographer of this image is J. O. Rindahl. According to the book, “North Dakota of Today” (1919), Rindahl (1862-?) was born on a farm in Wisconsin. He had a childhood interest in painting but because of strains caused by being a member of a family of twelve, he had limited art instruction. He “drifted” into photography, a field in which he was quite successful. In 1895 he went abroad and visited a number of  “renowned art galleries”. This experience caused his passion for painting to reemerge and when he returned to Grafton he used his spare time to pursue painting. The book features some of his paintings and several North Dakota churches displayed his paintings. In addition to religious paintings, he was known as a landscape painter. Rindahl had a partner in his photography business for fifteen years. Henry Ball and Rindahl occupied a studio on Main Street for at least some of those years. The St. Louis & Canadian Photographer (1902) announced that Ball sold the studio to Rindahl. The Bulletin of Photography (1922) reported that Rindahl sold the studio in Grafton, after operating it there for thirty-three years. The buyer was Arvid Rydholm of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

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FAMILY PORTRAIT IN GREAT FALLS, MONTANA

A family of four poses for their portrait at the Elite Studio in Great Falls, Montana. Everyone is dressed in their nicest clothes for their day at the photographic studio. Note how the older daughter is posed. Her love for her dad is quite evident. Father’s pride in his family is also evident in this photograph. This family has the appearance of a Scandinavian family and in fact, the photograph is from the estate of a Norwegian immigrant family that settled in North Dakota and Montana. It is not clear who operated the Elite Studio at the time of this photograph. The Bulletin of Photography (1916) reported that “Louis Heyn of the Elite Studio sold an interest in his business” to employee Harry J. Keeley. It is likely that the studio belonged to Heyn at the time of this photograph.

PLAIDS, RUFFLES, AND BOWS: FOUR VERY CUTE KIDS

This photographic portrait captures four very cute kids dressed in adorable clothing. Plaids, ruffles and bows abound. The image is crystal clear. The photographer is O. E. Flaten who at the time of the photograph, had studios in Moorehead and Halstad, Minnesota; as well as in Gardner, North Dakota. Research reveals that Ole E. Flaten (1854 or 1865- 1933) was born in Vanders, Norway and emigrated to the United States. He operated studios in Northfield, Moorehead, and Halstad, Minnesota. He worked as a photographer from the 1870’s through the 1920’s, retiring in 1930. Click on the category of “Photographer: Flaten” to see another photograph from his studio.