This vintage real photo postcard features a portrait of President William Howard Taft (1857-1930) and his wife, Helen (Nellie) Taft (1861-1943). Taft was the 27th president of the United States. He served from 1909 to 1913. He also served as chief justice of the United States Supreme Court. The Tafts married in 1886 and their marriage lasted nearly 44 years. The pair had three children, one of whom, became a U.S. Senator. This portrait photo was copyrighted by Brown Brothers in 1909. Brown Brothers, located in New York City, was the world’s first stock photo agency. It was founded in 1904. The publisher of this postcard was Garraway Photo-Art Company; a firm that operated in New York City. The corners on the reverse of this postcard reveal that the card formerly resided in a postcard album. Overall, this vintage postcard is in very good condition (see scans). 


Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes shipping within the US) #3584

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Buy this Vintage Real Photo Postcard (includes International shipping outside the US) 3584

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This cabinet card portrait features Stanley Matthews (1824-1889).  This image was produced by the Reynolds Photo Company of Chicago, Illinois, and shows Matthews wearing his judicial robe.  The photograph was part of the “Photo of Celebrities” series. Matthews served as a Supreme Court Justice from 1881 until his death. He was appointed by President James Garfield. At the time of his appointment he was a United States Senator from Ohio. Matthews was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He attended Kenyon College and then practiced law in Ohio, and later on, in Tennessee. He was the editor of the Cincinnati Herald for two years. He served in the Ohio State senate and then became a US Attorney until 1861 when he resigned to become a Lieutenant Colonel in the 23rd Ohio Infantry. At the time that Matthews was appointed a Supreme Court Justice, his nomination passed Congress by just one vote. As a judge in the nation’s highest court, he wrote the decision in the Yick Wo vs. Hopkins case. Politicians in San Francisco had passed a law asserting that laundries could not be operated in wooden buildings without a special permit. This permit would be required in addition to the other permits already required. This new law  had much impact considering that ninety-five percent of the city’s laundries were in wooden buildings. Two thirds of these laundries were owned by Chinese businessmen. When the new permits were issued, all non Chinese owners received permits and all Chinese owners were denied the permits. Yik Wo continued to operate his laundry without the permit and was convicted, fined, and later jailed for refusing to pay the fine. His case rose up the hierarchy of courts until it reached the Supreme Court. In his decision, Matthews wrote that the permit statute was discriminatory and that the Chinese laundry owners were entitled to equal protection under the fourteenth amendment of constitution.


child-and-book_0001This cabinet card is an image of a pretty young girl in a office like setting. She has her hand on one book and another book is sitting on the desk next to her. This photograph is a unusual since most cabinet cards of children tend to use juvenile type props (ie toys). The girl in this photograph looks like she being sworn into the Supreme Court. She has a very intense and serious facial expression. This little girl is well dressed and wearing jewelry. Note her boots. The photographer of this cabinet card is unknown because the card has been clipped in order to fit into an album or frame.

Published in: on May 5, 2009 at 12:40 am  Leave a Comment  
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Bernard Roelker: Esteemed Lawyer and Friend of Longfellow


Bernard Roelker (1816-1888)) led an active life in Literature and Law. He attended the University of Bonn on the Rhine where he studied law. He came to the United States in the late 1830’s. He settled in Bridgeport, Connecticut and privately taught German and Music. He then went to Harvard and became friends with Henry Longfellow who was a professor there. Roelker  became friends with a number of  literary luminaries.  He taught at Harvard and renewed his study of the law. He then practiced law in Boston and later moved to New York City where he started the law firm of Laur and Roelker. He built a large practice, especially among the Germans of the city. He was expert at wills and contracts. He argued an important case, Meyer vs Roosevelt, in front of the United States Supreme Court in 1863. It was the first legal tender case heard before the court and Roelker won the decision. Roelker and his friend Samuel Tilden organized the Prairie du Chien Railroad in Wisconsin. Tilden ran for President in 1876. Roelker never married. The photographer of this Cabinet card portrait is the famous photographer Sarony of New York City. The photograph is dated November, 1879.