This image was photographed by J. M. Munson of Madison, South Dakota. The photograph was taken after 1889, the date of South Dakota Statehood. Photographs before 1889 would print the location as “Dakota Territory”. The couple in this image are an attractive pair. The woman subject is wearing a pretty dress, a ring, a collar pin and a bow in her hair.  The gentleman is well groomed and dressed    in a fancy suit. The photographer of this portrait is John M. Munson. He and his family appear in the U. S. Census of 1900. He was working as a photographer and living with his wife and daughter in Madison. He was 50 years old, his wife (Ada) was 41 years old, and his daughter Josephine was 6 years old. He and his wife had been married in 1882. The census indicated that Munson was born in 1849 in Ohio. A 1909 South Dakota business directory lists his Madison photography studio. The 1910 census confirms that he still worked as a proprietor of a photography business and lived with his family. The 1920 census finds Munson unemployed, or retired, and still living with his wife and daughter.   (SOLD)

Published in: on October 31, 2021 at 12:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This unusual vintage real photo postcard features a husband, wife, and their two dogs hanging out at their log cabin. The husband is sitting on the roof, he is probably making an attempt at humor. The wife is sitting in front of the cabin with a photographic album on her lap. The large dog in the doorway may be a hunting dog. The small light colored dog next to the woman seems to be happy being outside the cabin. The caption seen below the image states “All That Is Necessary to Hold a Claim”. My guess is that the caption is explaining that if one builds a cabin on certain land, it will be sufficient for the owner of the cabin to claim limited  surrounding land. This photograph was taken in LeBeau, South Dakota in 1909. The town started as a fur trading post in 1875. The post was opened by Antoine LeBeau, a French and Lakota fur trader. LeBeau “was” a town situated on the banks of the Missouri River. I used the word “was” because the town of LeBeau no longer exists. At one time, LeBeau was the end of the line for the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway (1907). It was a boom town and a major cattle shipping point. When another railway built a competing line, the importance of LeBeau declined until the trackage to LeBeau was removed in 1924. The town died and went “underwater”. It is located beneath Lake Oahe. The decline of the town began in 1909, the same year this photo was taken. This vintage postcard is in good condition (see scans) It’s postmark was  stamped in LeBeau in 1909. The postcard was published by Patterson & Downey Novelty Postcard Tent.   SOLD



wedding couple

wedding couple 1

This Cabinet photograph introduces us to a bride and groom photographed by H Steinhauer in Groton, South Dakota.  The wedding couple doesn’t look very happy or affectionate on their special day. A little research reveals that the town of Groton was established in 1881 and that South Dakota became a state in 1889.  Therefore the Cabinet card was photographed after 1889. The town of Groton had a population of of 1,356 in the 2000 census. I wonder if the bride and groom have any descendants remaining there. This cabinet card is in very good condition (see scans).

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wedding couple 2

Published in: on May 3, 2019 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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This cabinet card portrait features an adorable little girl sitting on a swing. The child is smartly dressed and her outfit includes a necklace, earrings, and a hairband. The bale of hay in the background is consistent with the location of the studio where the photograph was taken. The Pollock and Duganne studio was located in Deadwood, Dakota. The date that the photograph was taken was before Dakota became two states.The Dakota Territory was established in 1861. The territory was divided into North and South Dakota in 1889 which informs us that this image was produced sometime before that date. The town of Deadwood was located in South Dakota. It was named after the dead trees found in a local gulch. The birth of the town of Deadwood was illegitimate. It was built in the 1870’s on land that had been granted to Native Americans in an 1868 treaty with the Lakota tribe. In 1874, Colonel George Custer led an expedition into the Black Hills and announced the discovery of gold there. This resulted in the Black Hills Gold Rush and the lawless town of Deadwood quickly grew to five thousand people. Prostitution, gambling, and the opium trade flourished. Murder was common and one of the town’s murder victims was Wild Bill Hickok. In 1876 the town was struck by a small pox epidemic and in 1879 there was a major fire destroying more than 300 buildings. When panning for gold was replaced by deep mining, the town became more peaceful. Little information was found about the photographers of this image. Albert Pollock (1840-1899) came to the Black Hills in 1877 and his studio was established as early as 1879. He retired to ranching in 1886. No biographical data could be located about Mr Duganne.


Published in: on May 11, 2017 at 3:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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lady in costume

A young woman poses with a guitar at the Mcddaugh Studio in Lead, South Dakota. She appears to be an actress or a singer based on her elaborate costume. Preliminary research found little information about photographer E. Mcddaugh. Lead is located in western South Dakota in the Black Hills near the Wyoming border. The city of Lead was founded in 1876 after gold was discovered there. Lead was established as a company town by the Homestake Mining Company. In 1910, Lead was the second largest town in the state (population of 8,382). South Dakota became a state in 1889.This cabinet card was produced after 1889 as indicated by the “S. D.” printed below the image.



Published in: on July 9, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A young woman plays the guitar as she poses for her portrait by a railroad photographer. The Fallman studio was actually located on a train car. Printing on the front of the cabinet card notes that the photographer utilized a Parlor Photo Car. Some photographers, like Mr. Fallman, would rent or purchase a railroad car and travel from town to town. Sometimes the car would be disconnected from the train and the photographer would operate his studio until business conditions dictated that he move on to another locale. Fallman’s parlor car obviously contained backdrops and props. The woman in this photograph is sitting on a hammock next to a box topped with a couple of books. Preliminary research failed to uncover details about Mr. Fallman. However, the Cabinet Card Gallery possesses a vintage photograph of a cute little girl by Harry Fallman (1853-1907). His studio was located in Eureka, South Dakota. During his lifetime, Harry also lived and worked as a photographer in North Newberg and Portland, Oregon. It is unknown if Harry is the same Fallman who operated the rail car studio that produced the photograph above. To view Harry Fallman’s photograph and to learn more about him (and his celebrity son), click on the category “Photographer: Fallman”.   SOLD




family 2

This cabinet card is a portrait of a large family taken at the studio of A. T. Lewis in Madison, South Dakota. This family is well dressed and likely well-to-do. South Dakota was part of the Dakota Territory until it became a state in 1889. This knowledge reveals that this photograph was taken in 1889 or later. The city of Madison was named after Madison, Wisconsin. Wikipedia reports that the city’s original name was Herman and that it was founded in 1880. Abrah T. Lewis, the photographer of this image was married to Miss Sarah J. Norcott in 1873. She was also a photographer and is actually the more likely of the two to have taken this photograph. Mrs. Lewis tended to do portraits while Mr. Lewis focused on scenic views. Abrah Lewis was born in Oneida, New York in 1853. He next lived with his family in Canada between 1855 and 1873. In 1873, Abrah and his bride moved to Michigan and eight years later he lost his house to a forest fire (1881). Mrs. Lewis’s grandmother perished in the fire and she nearly lost her mother. The couple left for a brief stay in Canada and then settled in South Dakota and worked as photographers in Sioux Falls. Three years later they moved to Madison and opened a photography studio there that was predominately operated by Mrs. Lewis while Mr. Lewis attended to branches of the studio at Brookings, Elkton, and Arlington (all in South Dakota). The pair resided in Madison (five years), Huron (two years) and Clark (two years). Like many photographer of the cabinet card era, this couple kept moving. Their next stop was various locations in Iowa where they continued to work as photographers. One of their locations was a town called Rock Rapids. To view photographs by other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.


native amer woman_0008The reverse of this photograph has an inscription and is signed by the subject. The young woman in this image is Amy Dalphus and the inscription states “to sister “Phillips” from sister “Beaver” Remember the day this was taken”. Miss Dalphus is well dressed and attractive in her coat, hat, and leather gloves. The photographer of this image was Hertsler whose studio was located in Carlisle. Research reveals that Amy E. Dalphus was from the Sioux tribe in South Dakota. She graduated from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1903. She is cited in the book “A Biobibliography of Native American Writers, 1772-1924: A Supplement”by Littlefield and Parins (1985). Next to her name is the following: “Red Man and Helper, February 20-27, 1903”. Perhaps she wrote an article for this magazine or maybe her graduation is listed in the magazine’s pages. Research found little information about Miss Dalphus. Her name was listed on a number of annual “Indian Census” reports from the turn of the century. The “Indian Census” of 1896 reported her to be living in South Dakota with her step mother (Mrs. Moore)  and three brothers and a sister. She lived under the auspices of the “Cheyenne River Agency”. The 1900 US census found her living in Carlisle as a student.The story of the Carlisle Indian school is an example of well meaning people committing terrible deeds in an effort to help others. It is important to realize that not everyone involved in this school, and others like it, were actually well intentioned. The Carlisle school operated from 1879 through 1918 as a boarding school founded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt. The school was part of the effort of the US government to assimilate children from 39 tribes into the majority culture. This was an effort to “civilize the Indian”. Pratt saw his task as similar to his experience with the “domestication of wild turkeys”. He believed his mission was the “annihilation of the Indian and his salvation as an American Citizen”. Pratt’s goal was to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man”. Many children were subject to this assimilation project. During some years, the school had as many as a thousand students a year. In addition, there were other schools engaged in the same endeavor. The students were forced to take English names to replace their given tribal names. This was very difficult for the students to accept because their tribal names had personal meanings that reflected their experiences or relationships. In the inscription on the reverse of this photograph, Amy Dalphus refers to herself as “Beaver” alongside her English name. Perhaps this is an effort by her to not surrender her tribal name. The Carlisle school became well known for its athletic programs. Coach Pop Warner and the talented athlete, Jim Thorpe, received national attention. More people are aware of Carlisle’s sports prowess than the actual abuse and racism that permeated the concept and operation of the school.


This cabinet card is a portrait of five pretty little girls in Arlington, South Dakota. The photographer, Glendenning, demonstrated talent, in the way he posed the children in this photograph. The girls are dressed in similar dark dresses and two are wearing necklaces with crosses. South Dakota became a state in 1889; therefore this cabinet card was photographed after 1889.

Published in: on July 2, 2011 at 12:01 am  Comments (1)  
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