A handsome young man poses for his portrait at the Hinton Photo Company in Hinton, West Virginia. The fellow looks quite dapper with his fine suit, bow tie, and nicely groomed mustache. The name of the photographer who operated the studio is unknown as is the year the photograph was taken. However, it is known that this type of photograph would have been taken shortly after 1900. Several photographs by the Hinton Photo Company can be found in the library historical collection at West Virginia University. The reverse of this photograph (see image below) possesses a ghost image of a woman in a fancy dress.

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Published in: on April 1, 2016 at 12:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The subject of this vintage photographic portrait is quite a character. He is flashing a great smile and even his eyes are smiling. The mustachioed distinguished gentleman is wearing a three piece suit, a bow tie, and a top hat. He is holding a pair of gloves. I am very curious as to what this interesting looking man is smiling at. The reverse of the photograph has an inscription which identifies him as “Brother Jim”. The photographer of this portrait has his name embossed at the bottom of the photograph. It is difficult to decipher but appears to be M. Crowe (possibly Crow) of Moundsville, West Virginia. The town derives it’s name from the many Adena Indian burial mounds found there. These mounds were constructed more than 2000 years ago. Preliminary research found no  biographical information about the photographer.   SOLD

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Published in: on September 1, 2015 at 12:09 pm  Comments (1)  
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WALRUS_0005The Proctor studio produced this cabinet card portrait of a man with a walrus mustache. This admirable facial hair places this image in the category “Mustaches (Only the Best”). Click on the category to view an array of notable mustaches. A. T. Proctor’s studio was located on Capitol Street in Charleston, West Virginia. He was the successor to the Becker & Fell studio. Alfred Tobert Proctor was born in 1864 in Catalpa, Virginia.  Sometime about 1888 he began his photography career in Charleston. He originally partnered with Elmer B. Tully (Proctor & Tully). In 1894 they moved their business to Huntington, West Virginia leaving photographer William Erskine to run the Charleston studio. In 1897 Erskine joined the two partners in Huntington. Ultimately the partnership ended and the three photographers operated independent businesses. Proctor was very active in the photography community. He served as President of the American Photographers Association for several years beginning in 1910. He competed in many exhibitions and Eastman Kodak used his portrait in its national advertising. He died of a heart attack in 1933. Much of his work now resides in the special collections library at Marshall University.


This cabinet card features two men dressed for work and holding some sort of tool or scraper. They appear to be wearing leather work aprons. This is a wonderful example of an occupational cabinet card but unfortunately, it is not clear what these men’s occupation happens to be. It has been suggested that the men may be textile workers. The photographer of this image is John Randolph Schaeffer. He seems to have forgotten that this studio photograph was supposed to depict an outside scene. That is unless it is common to see curtains hanging in the outdoors in Gormania, West Virginia. Schaeffer was born on a Gormania farm in 1858. His family was of German heritage. After finishing school at age twenty, he entered the teaching profession. He pursued his education career for seventeen years; during his last year (1909) he was a principal of a school. During his education career he earned a Masters Degree in Didactics and also did photography. He entered the business of photography after leaving teaching. His studio not only was a  photographic gallery, but it also sold photo supplies, jewelry, and other commodities. He was also appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to the position of postmaster for two terms. In his spare time he supported the Democratic party and was a member of Odd Fellows. He married Susie C. Miller in 1894 and the couple had seven children. The Library of Congress lists Schaeffer as holding at least two copyrights. He also published a view book entitled From Baltimore to Charleston (1906)The book was cited by one reviewer as containing “magnificent scenery” photographs. The town of Gormania has had a number of names. Its present name honors a US Senator from Maryland , Arthur Gorman. One of the towns previous names was Schaefferville, named after early settler Jacob Schaeffer (father of photographer John Schaeffer). Jacob Schaeffer and one of his sons owned and operated the town’s first tannery. The business was sold in 1889. We know a lot about the photographer of this portrait but still don’t have any idea of the occupation of the two subjects in the photograph. Lets play “What’s My Line?”. Hopefully, some cabinet card gallery visitors will leave comments with their hypotheses about the type of work the men in this portrait did. My uninformed guess is that the subjects in this photograph are tannery workers.


This photograph features Mr. and Mrs. Tom Werkley and their children Paul and Blanche. The father and son are wearing bow ties and the daughter is wearing bows in her hair. The photographer is unknown as the studio name listed on the pbotograph is illegible.

Published in: on August 12, 2010 at 12:01 am  Leave a Comment  
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