This vintage unused blotter features pinup art by Russell Slocum. The pretty pinup is holding skis and ski poles. This is a calendar blotter from December 1938. The blotter advertises “The Combination Door Company. The firm was located in Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin. The Combination Door Company is a fifth generation family-owned business. It was founded in 1912 and remains in business today. The publisher of this blotter is Brown & Bigelow (no.38132). The publisher was based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The blotter measures about 4″ x 9” and is in very good condition (see scans).  (SOLD)




A well dressed man poses for his portrait at the studio of R. W. Loucks in St. Paul Minnesota. He is wearing a wide neck tie with an even wider knot. The gentleman has a wonderful well groomed mustache. He is displaying a serious demeanor as he poses for this cabinet card image. The Minnesota Historical Society’s directory of early Minnesota photographers reveals that R. W. Loucks worked as a photographer in Minnesota during the 1890’s and 1900’s. His St. Paul addresses included 405 Wabasha (1893-1894) and 225 East Seventh (1897). He also had studios in Minneapolis; 1221 Washington Avenue North (1898-1902) and 28 Central Avenue (1903). This information asserts that the above photograph was taken during 1893 or 1894. Mr. Loucks appears in the 1900 US census. From this document we learn that he was born in Canada in 1850 and immigrated to the US in 1887. He was married to Anna L Loucks in 1877 and at the time of the census, lived with their twelve year old daughter named Lillian.


Published in: on August 1, 2016 at 8:41 pm  Leave a Comment  
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dreamy sisters

Two adorable young sisters dreamily look at the camera as they pose for their photograph at Lee Brothers studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Interestingly, both were given different gaze points by the photographer. The girls are wearing flower print dresses as well as earrings. Incredibly, the Lee Brothers studio remains in business today. The studio was founded by Thorwald Lee in 1889 and he operated it through the 1940’s. The business stayed in the Lee family until the early 1960’s. Thorwald’s brother (Peder) ran a photography studio in St. Paul from 1919 through 1927. Thorwald Lee was born in Norway and initially worked as a sailor. A age 22 he came to the United States and after a years stint as a railroad worker, he opened his photography studio.  The studio is currently in an old Victorian home at 2601 Portland Avenue in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Historiacal Society has a collection of Lee Brother’s photographs. To view more photographs by this studio, click on the category “Photographer: Lee Brothers”.





This cabinet card portrait features famous Norwegian-American sculptor Jakob Fjelde (1855-1896). Fjelde is wearing an interesting overcoat with embroidery on it’s shoulders. Perhaps this is a coat that he wore while creating his sculpture. He has a attractive bushy mustache and is holding a half smoked cigar. Fjelde was born in Alesund, Norway and arrived in the United States in 1887. He settled in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was the father of sculptor Paul Fjelde and brother of artist Pauline Fjelde. Jakob was a prolific portraitist and created a number of public monuments. One of his most well known monuments was one dedicated to the 1st Minnesota Infantry (1897) that is located at the Gettysburg battlefield. Some of his statues in the Minneapolis / St. Paul area include “Hiawatha carrying Minnehaha”, “Minerva”, and “Ole Bull”. In 1885 he sculpted Henrik Ibsen from life and created a number of public statues and busts from the experience. The photographer of this image is the Lee Brothers who operated a studio in Minneapolis. To view more photographs by this photographer, click on the category “Photographer: Lee Bros.”



couple f_0006

This photograph features an attractive young couple posing at the studio belonging to Algot Anderson in St. Paul, Minnesota. The couple are well dressed and well coiffed. This is one very cool couple. Algot Anderson worked in St. Paul from 1894 through 1926.The photograph measures 5″ x 7″.


Published in: on February 21, 2014 at 11:45 am  Comments (2)  
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This cabinet card features a gentleman with a very notable mustache and bushy sideburns. He looks like a very intense man as he stares at the camera. The man behind the camera was Arthur B. Rugg (1853-?). Rugg’s life story is likely similar to many men who pursued the occupation of photographer. Such a life requires much change; first, working for various photographers in various locations, and finally, making enough money to finance ones own gallery. Rugg, at age 17, was an apprentice to J. C. Moulten of Fitchburg, Massachusetts. Moulton took ill just three weeks after Rugg began his apprenticeship and Rugg was forced to be a quick learner. He operated the gallery by himself and at night consulted with Moulten in his sick chamber , receiving criticisms and instructions. Rugg operated the business on his own for three weeks and the business did not suffer with him at its helm. In 1873, Rugg opened his own gallery but it did not do well, so he moved to Boston and worked for a photographer there for the next two years. He then went to Florida to become an orange grower but he lost everything when the business failed. His next stop was New Orleans where he worked for W. W. Washburn in one of the city’s leading galleries. However, after contacting malaria, he was forced to move North and ended up in LaCrosse, Wisconsin where he worked for a year and a half for a leading studio there. In 1879, he moved to Minneapolis and purchased the studio of William Brown and soon Rugg became one of the leading photographers of Minneapolis. Rugg was also noted for being involved in a major lawsuit that had impact on the profession of photography. The American Journal of Photography (1890) reported that the Supreme Court of Minnesota handed down a decision against Rugg for selling a copy of Mrs. Ida E. Moore’s  photograph “which was put on exhibition in improper places, much to the discredit of the lady”. He was ruled to have had no right to the picture which legally belonged to the sitter (Ms. Moore). She won her suit for damages of five thousand dollars although it is not clear if that was the actual amount awarded. Another photography journal of that time reported more specifics of the case. It seems that Rugg had given one of Ms. Moore’s pictures to a police detective named Clark, who showed the photos in a number of houses of ill repute in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area. The court ruled that although the negatives of the photograph belonged to Rugg, he could not print photographs from those negatives without permission from Ms Moore. Mr Rugg seems to have lacked some ethics in this instance.  Now, back to that great mustache. To view other photographs of unusual mustaches, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of “Mustaches (Only the Best)”.


This cabinet card features five adorable children posing together at the studio of W. F. Koester in St. Paul, Minnesota. The children may be siblings, at least three of them have a strong family resemblance. In 1890, photographer, William F. Koester, took a photograph that was fascinating and historic and brought him a great deal of attention. Koester was out photographing “views” from a St. Paul bluff when he fortuitously saw and photographed a tornado approaching the city and touching down on it. The firm of Fredericks & Koester published  5×8 souvenir cards for sale. A local housepainter who aspired to be an oil painter, painted over the photograph, and it became an important work of Minnesota art. A photograph by Fredericks & Koester can be found in the American Museum of Photography (Couple on Toboggan).


This Cabinet Card captures young Master R. Demarst sitting at a piano in the studio of W. J. Root, in Chicago, Illinois. An inscription on the reverse of the photograph indicates that the boy musician was six years old at the time the image was produced. He is very well dressed in his velvet suit. He is wearing a ring on his right middle finger. The photographer’s studio was located at 243-253 Wabash Avenue, in Chicago. The back stamp on the reverse of the card states that Root’s studio was located in Kimball Hall. When Root began his business, he took souvenir photographs at the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893. He is mentioned in various photographic journals from 1892 until 1897. To view other photographs by Root, click on Cabinet Card Gallery’s category “Photographer:  Root.”   Thanks to the amazing research department of the Cabinet Gallery (see comments), additional identifying information about the young boy in this photograph has been discovered. In the book, “Musical Instruments at the World’s Columbian Exposition: A Review (1895), it is noted that Master Rubinstein Demarest, aged 5, won the love of all who met him. He appeared at the Exposition and “his piano playing was almost marvelous considering his youth”. The boy was a native of St. Paul, Minnesota where he was regarded as a protege of great promise.


Emma sits for her portrait at the studio of  T.M. Swem of St. Paul, Minnesota. Research from the Minnesota Historical Society reveals that the photographer is Thomas M. Swem who was born in Lima, Ohio in 1848 and began his photography business in Missouri in 1882. He moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and operated photography studios from various locations there from 1883 through 1899 when he moved out of state. Further research finds that he continued his photography business after leaving Minnesota. To view other photographs by Swem, click on the category “Photographer: Swem”.

Published in: on January 19, 2010 at 12:07 am  Leave a Comment  
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BOY AND DOG_0005A well dressed boy and his noble looking dog pose for this cabinet card photograph in St. Paul Minnesota. The dog appears to be a Border Collie. The photographer is Zimmerman. The back of the photograph is dated 1883.

Published in: on May 20, 2009 at 12:44 am  Leave a Comment  
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