Dr. James Stevens Chaplain of Trappe

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Because of its revenue stamp, we can be confident this carte de visite photograph of Dr. James Stevens Chaplain (1827-1908), of Trappe, Talbot County, Md., was taken between 1864 and 1866  in the studio of Edward H. Anderson, Easton, Md..

In Talbot County, the family name of Chaplain, earlier spelled Chapline or Chaplin, goes all the way back to 1660, when Francis Chaplin of Suffolk County, England, arrived and purchased about 7,000 acres in Bolingbroke Hundred.

This photograph was one of several offered at auction recently, including Alexander Chaplain, who served in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1860.

James Chaplain graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1854, returned to Trappe, married Evalina Kemp, daughter of Trappe physician Samuel Kemp, and settled down to practice medicine.

According to one profile, Dr. Chaplain involved himself in the public affairs of Talbot County, serving on the Trappe Board of Town Commissioners, the Trappe Library Association Board of Directors, and as president of the Trappe Savings Bank. He was a Mason and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Edward H. Anderson, in whose studio this photograph was taken, was born about 1832 in Maryland. He learned the jeweller’s and watchmaker’s trade in Baltimore as an apprentice to jeweller Joseph Walter.

Anderson seems to have been something of an inventor as well. He and a James H. Anderson, MD, registered a patent in the 1860s for an improvement in cultivators, and with another collaborator named Hopkins, an improvement in “vapor burners.” It was not uncommon for jewellers and other mechanical craftsmen to engage in photography as a side business.

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