Three Portraits of Emma Albrecht

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When I purchased a lot of photographs from Baltimore, I found that three of them were portraits of the same young woman, Emma Albrecht. All were taken between 1885 and 1891.

The earliest (top left),  a full-length portrait taken at the Baltimore Photographic Company, dates to ca. 1885. The photographer posed her seated, holding a book, against the sort of faux-sylvan/classical background popular in the 1880s. Her dark, high-collared dress features a box-pleated skirt and apron overskirt.

An 1885 advertisement for this concern lists three studios at different locations: Excelsior Studio, 20 N. Charles Street; Elite Studio, 66 Lexington Street; Monumental Studio, 121 & 123 Lexington Street. I haven’t yet been able to determine the owner of the company.

One possible candidate for owner of these three studios is artist and inventor David Acheson Woodward, who is known to have owned a studio called variously Monumental Photographic Company and Monumental Art Studio at 120 Lexington Street ca. 1885-1886.

The second portrait, a vignetted bust, was taken at the A. L. Rogers Studio, 112 N. Charles Street. This photograph can tentatively be dated to ca. 1891, because in that year Rogers bought the studio from Norval H. Busey.

The third portrait, also a vignetted bust, was taken at a studio owned by David J. Wilkes. Baltimore’s streets underwent a re-numbering in 1887, and since the advertising refers both to the old and new numbering on Baltimore Street, ca. 1887 seems like a reasonable guess for a date.

Unfortunately, identification, even with a name, is difficult without additional information. In Baltimore there are two Emma Albrechts listed in the 1880 census who seem about the right age, and two married Emma Albrechts in the 1900 census.

One possibility: Emma M. Albrecht, b. abt. 1867, Maryland, who married physician Caleb W. G. Rohrer in the late 1890s.

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