Portrait of Allen Lusby

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This cabinet card portrait, identified as Allen Lusby, was found in an album belonging to Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers of Baltimore.

It’s not clear how Allen Lusby was related to the Gaither and Summers families. The name Lusby was definitely part of the family tree. In 1818, a Henrietta Lusby (1800-1873) married Elizabeth Gaither Summers’ grandfather, John Marriott Gaither (1790-1850) in Anne Arundel County.

But Henrietta Lusby’s parentage is unknown, and I haven’t established a link between Henrietta and Alllen.

An Allen J. Lusby, born April 1879 in Maryland, could be our man. This Allen Lusby’s father, Robert Lusby, and uncle, Charles P. Lusby were, coincidentally, photographers.  In 1880, Charles and Robert and their families lived together at 91 West Baltimore Street, presumably operating a studio together. Among their neighbors were photographers Ferdinand Wagner (63 West Baltimore Street) and David J. Wilkes (125 West Baltimore Street).

Allen J. Lusby worked as a printer, mostly in Philadelphia, where he could possibly have become acquainted with Elizabeth Gaither Summers’ cousin Albert Gaither, son of Anne Arundel County farmer Evan Lusby Gaither (b. abt. 1830, Maryland).

The portrait, a vignetted bust, is lit from the side to bring out the strong line of Lusby’s nose. Behind the walrus mustache–popular in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries–Lusby’s face appears smooth, round and soft. He might have been quite a young man at the time of the photo.

F. M. Zuller is listed in Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers as having operated a studio in Annapolis 1891-1892.

A note in The St. Louis and Canadian Photographer for June 1900 reports that F. M. Zuller, “formerly photographer in the Naval Academy of Annapolis,” died at his farm in Chesterfield, outside Annapolis, on April 15th of that year. His body was taken to his place of birth, Richfield Springs, New York, for burial.

All photographs from the Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers album were acquired on ebay from jbatro, johnscollectibles@att.net.

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