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.

Margaret “Rita” Robinson Gaither?

This cabinet card photograph is another  image from an album owned by Baltimorean Elizabeth J. Gaither Summers that was recently broken up and  sold piecemeal.

The photo was identified as Rita Gaither.

Rita was a common diminuitve for Margaret and Marguerite. Based on my research into the Gaither and Summers families (available to registered users on ancestry.com) I believe this is Elizabeth’s mother, Margaret E. Robinson Gaither, born about 1830 in Anne Arundel County to William Robinson and Mary Ann Eleanor Turton Robinson.

It may be a case of two sisters marrying two brothers. Margaret married Anne Arundel County carpenter Vachel H. Gaither, and Margaret’s sister Anna Maria Robinson married Vachel’s brother, farmer Evan Gaither. While Evan and Ann remained in Anne Arundel County, Vachel migrated to Baltimore, probably to take advantage of the post-bellum building boom there.

The Gaither name goes back to the early days of Anne Arundel County. Evan and Vachel were sons of John Marriott Gaither (1790-1850) and Henreitta Lusby Gaither (1800-1873). Evan and Vachel’s grandfather, Vachel Gaither (1750-1804) served as a captain in the Severn Battalion of the Maryland Militia during the American Revolution.

David J. Wilkes kept a photography studio at 125 W.  Baltimore Street in Baltimore from about 1873 to 1885 (Kelbaugh, Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900).

Since Margaret Gaither does not appear in the family after the 1870 census, my guess is that she died between 1870 and 1880, a chronology  congruent with the dates of Wilkes’ studio location.

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

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.