chicago musician This cabinet card features stage actress Nanette Nixon. She is wearing a flower pattern dress with a lace collar. Nixon’s photograph appeared in The Sunday Telegraph (1898) and the text describes her as “soulful and able as an actress”. The brief article reports that theatre goers in New York were looking forward to her upcoming appearances there. Interestingly, the photograph in the Telegraph was taken by the same photographer who produced the photograph appearing on this cabinet card. The photographer of this image is William Mckenzie Morrison whose studio was located in the Haymarket  Theatre building in Chicago, Illinois. Morrison was a well known and successful  celebrity photographer. The reverse of the photograph is illustrated with medals from the Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), Photographers Association of America (1894), The Cotton States and International Exposition (1895), and various other competitions. To view other photographs by Morrison, click on the category “Photographer: Morrison”.


These two cabinet card portraits come from the same source and belong together. Writing on the reverse of one photograph indicates that the couple are named George and Lizzie. Perhaps the young man and  woman are married to each other. If not married, the two subjects may be siblings. The photographer of both cards is Copelin whose studio was located on the Northwest corner of Madison and State Streets in Chicago, Illinois. The exact address was 75 Madison Street. Some biographical information concerning the Copelin studio is available, but it is very difficult to sort out. It seems that Copelin had a succession of photography businesses. Alexander J. W. Copeland  (1851-c1923) and Melander bought out their boss to open a studio in Chicago sometime around 1870.  Copelin & Son was established in 1871 and existed about ten years. The business has an interesting story associated with it. The gallery was established just six days before the Chicago Fire (1871) and the building was completely destroyed in the blaze. The building had been the first photographic gallery in Chicago but had housed many proprietors. A.J. Copelin rebuilt the business. In the early 1880’s, the Copelin Gallery was established. Copelin eventually left portrait photography and opened a successful commercial photography business. Copelin is also recognized as one of the founding fathers of the Photographers Association of America.