PORTRAIT OF A TRAIN CONDUCTOR (RAILROAD OF NEW JERSEY)

NJ CONDUCTOR_0001J. C. Sunderlin produced this portrait of a train conductor in full uniform. Sunderlin operated a studio on Main Street in Flemington, New Jersey. The subject of this photograph is wearing a cap that has a plate tag which states “Conductor”. The patches on the lapel of his jacket indicate that he was employed by the “Railroad of New Jersey”. It is likely, but not certain, that this gentleman worked for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. This railway line has its roots in the 1830’s but adopted the Central Railroad name in 1849.  Note this gentleman’s terrific bushy mustache. The photographer, John Corbin Sunderlin was born in 1835 at Fort Anne, New York. His birth name was John Corbin Vorce but his mother died during his infancy and he was adopted at nine years of age. He married Harriet A. Penny in 1855 and the couple had five children. In 1856 he left farming for photography. He became an itinerate photographer and his studio was located on a horse drawn wagon. During the civil war he enlisted in the 5th Vermont Volunteer Infantry where he reached the rank of sergeant. His obituary states that he served three years in participated in eight major battles until he was wounded at Fredericksburg. After the war he settled in Fort Edward, New York. While living in Fort Edward he was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, the Masons, Odd Fellows, and the New York State Prohibition Party. He worked as a photographer until 1870 when he was ordained by the Methodist Church. In 1880 he left his ministry work and returned to his career in photography. He operated a studio in Flemington until 1902 when he bought a studio in Blairstown, New Jersey from William C. Walters. He remained in Blairstown until his death from pneumonia in 1911.

THREE YOUNG SIBLINGS IN PHILLIPS, MAINE

This cabinet card is an image of three siblings who are identified by their first name on the reverse of the card. The oldest child is Mildred Belle (age-4) and she has bows in her hair and is quite adorable. The middle child is Ivan Donald (age-1) and his hair style can best be described as chaotic. The youngest child is Marion Florence (age-4 months). The photographer was Archie Snow McKeen (1874-?) and his studio was in Phillips, Maine.  Mckeen was a native of Phillips who as a photographer, moved locations several times. He had photographic studios in a number of Maine towns including Phillips, Rangely Lakes, Center Harbor, and Winnepesauke Lake. He also operated in both Beverly and Haverhill, Massachusetts. McKeen was a member of the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

“DA VINCI CODE” CABINET CARD: KNIGHTS OF THE TEMPLAR MAN IN BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS

This cabinet card is an image of a gentleman dressed in his fraternal organization uniform. He has badges on his sash as well as on his jacket. Two of the badges have words on them that can be deciphered. The lower badge on his sash states “In Hoc Signo Vinces” which is the latin rendering of the Greek phrase, “with this as your standard you shall have victory”. This motto has been used on many coat of arms and banners including those belonging to families, cities, regiments, sport teams, and even pall mall cigarettes. More relevant to this photograph, the motto appears on the “Knight Templar Cross” in the York Rite branch of free masonry.  The second readable badge is the one located below the gentleman’s left shoulder. The badge states the name “Hugues De Payens”. Hugues De Payens (1070-1136) was a frankish knight who was the cofounder and first Grandmaster of the Knights Templar. This cabinet card conjures up thoughts of the “Da Vinci Code”. The photographer of this cabinet card is Conly of Boston, Massachusetts. Charles F. Conly went looking for a job at age 20 and found a help wanted sign in the window of famed Boston photographer, Warren (see category Photographers: Warren). Ten years later he succeeded Warren as the proprietor of the studio. He had a meteoric rise from office boy to entrepreneur. At the beginning of his career he spent some time in the theatrical profession and he thus became the favorite photographer of Boston’s theatrical performers. Conly’s obituary appears in the 1893 edition of Anthony’s Photographic Bulletin. Interestingly, the article states that Conly was a prominent secret society man and that delegations from the Elks, Odd Fellows and the Royal Arcanum and Columbian Lodge of Masons were represented at his funeral. To view other photographs by Conly, click on the category “Photographer: Conly”.