The Two Mrs. Alexander Chaplains: Emily Thomas
My last post concerned a portrait of Elmira or Elma Kemp Chaplain (1837-1869), first wife of Talbot County Superintendent of Schools Alexander Chaplain (1835-1918).
A short time after I acquired that portrait, I had the very good fortune to find a portrait of Chaplain’s second wife, Emily, also called Emma, Thomas (1838-1904), in an old album of Maryland portraits. On the back is written “Aunt Emily Chaplain, Uncle Alex’s 2nd wife.”
Emily Thomas, daughter of Dorchester County farmer Algernon Thomas and Deborah Shannahan, married Alexander Chaplain in 1872. In 1880, Emily bore a half-sister, Eleanor Chaplain, for her husband’s daughter Maude.
This carte de visite portrait was made at the studio of Frank Kuhn, in Baltimore. According to Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers, Kuhn , who also partnered for a time with James Cummins, occupied 48 and 50 N. Charles Street 1879-1880. Note that Kuhn identifies himself not as a photographer, but as an” artist.”
Emily sports a long curl worn over one shoulder, a style typical of the 1870s, and possibly made of false hair.
Other surnames found in this album of mostly western Maryland portraits are Spalding, Bourne, Bowers, Willis and Martin. The presence of one Chaplain, referred to as the wife of an “uncle,” and another of Margie Robinson, one of Alexander Chaplain’s nieces (see previous posts under “Chaplain Family”), sent me on a frustrating search for family connections that remains full of unsolved puzzles.