Miss Gertrude G. Hooper and her Doll

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If the identification penciled on the back of this carte de visite is correct, this little girl is Gertrude G. Hooper (b. March 1869, Md.), daughter of Baltimore cotton manufacturer William John Hooper (1836-1911) and Emily Gladding Hooper (b. abt. 1838, Md.).

In 1874, the date given along with her name, Gertrude would have been about five years old. She was the granddaughter of cotton duck manufacturer William E. Hooper (1812-1885) who, with H. N. Gambrill, bought a Woodberry cotton mill in 1849.

In 1865, the men dissolved their partnership, Gambrill founding Druid Mills, and Hooper taking into partnership his sons, William J., Theodore, and James Hooper.

By the time of the elder Hooper’s death, William E. Hooper & Sons had expanded to include three more mills at Woodberry: the Park, Meadow, and the Clipper, and the Washington Mills at Mt. Washington.

According to the New York Tribune’s obituary, the Hooper firm was at that time one of the largest in its line in the country. The mills made use of the water power along Jones Falls, on the eastern border of Druid Hill Park. They closed permanently in 1961.

Today property developers are working to turn Clipper Mill, and the neighboring Poole and Hunt Foundry, into fashionable studios and offices.

Gertrude’s father William J. Hooper (1836-1911) also at that time owned the Baltimore Herald newspaper and another cotton mill in North Carolina. The family lived on Lafayette Avenue in 1880, at 1923 W. Lanvale Street in 1900, and then in 1910 at fashionable 1504 McCulloh Street between Druid Hill Avenue and Eutaw Place.

William J. Hooper is buried in Green Mount Cemetery, Baltimore.

The reverse includes Daniel Bendann’ familiar coat of arms backmark. His “Galleries of Photography” were located at 26 N. Charles Street from 1874 to 1879.

Sailor in the Maryland Naval Militia, ca. 1915

This photo by Max J. Reissert was sent to me by my genealogy buddy and shirttail cousin, Janet Canapp. She found it in a family album and has been researching the photograph and uniform to get an idea of who it might be.

The young man is wearing what appears to be a ca. World War I naval uniform, with puttees, maybe made of canvas. Under a microscope, Janet says the initials on his cap are M N G. Maryland had a naval militia as part of its national guard, so our best guess is that the initials stand for “Maryland National Guard.”

The operator chose a rather incongruous garden motif for a background. The young sailor stands tall and smiling, clearly proud of his position. Note the base of the posing stand visible behind his feet.

Reissert’s studio had been occupied by Julius Hebbel ca. 1889-1904. Reissert and his wife are both listed as photographers on N. Gay Street in the 1910 census.

Born about 1867 in Germany, Reissert immigrated to the U.S. in 1897 and was still active as a photographer in 1930.

Inexplicable Woman with Fishing Pole

This cabinet card was taken in the studio of William Ashman, 17 West Lexington Street, Baltimore, between 1889 and 1904. Its white mount, blind embossed studio identification and elaborate sylvan background are consistent with the period.

The woman appears to be wearing some sort of seaside or bathing costume. She holds a fishing pole with one hand, and with her other hand, points to the fish (a prop, I hope) on the pole.

I haven’t been able to locate a similar costume. The 1890s bathing outfits I’ve found all have knee-length openings for the legs. Perhaps it was a stage costume?

According to the individual from whom I acquired this cabinet portrait,  the woman in the photograph probably belonged to two prominent Baltimore and Western Maryland families, the Wardwells and the Brundiges.

This is one of the Wardwell sisters, I believe,” she says. “I own many family photos, and this one came from a group of things from their large house in Baltimore that was torn down in the first decades of the 20th century to make way for row houses.” (private communication, August 2010)

Stripped of its context and without identification, this photo is difficult to interpret. An eccentric on a spree? An unidentified stage actress? Me in the late nineteenth century?

A. L. Rogers Trade Card

Albert L. Rogers (1853-1934) had a studio at 68 Lexington Street ca. 1882-1885. At 4″ by 2-1/2″, this trade card suggests a move toward the modern business card.

With its touches of gilt and delicate script address, Rogers’ card strives for elegance. Richard Walzl (see previous post), by contrast, chose a brightly colored card in a larger format, designed to catch the eye.

Rogers was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania in October 1853. According to Biographical Annals of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Rogers learned photography at the age of 16 in his older brother Samuel G. Rogers’ Waynesburg, Pennsylvania studio.

According to the Annals sketch, Albert made a specialty of retouching, and worked in this and other capacities for Kuhn & Cummins and then Richard Walzl in Baltimore.

Rogers went into business for himself in  Baltimore in 1880.

In 1891, Albert bought Norval Busey’s studio at at 112 North Charles Street. By 1900, he and his wife, fellow photographer Elizabeth E. Jonas Rogers, had relocated to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. I found a ca. 1890s cabinet photograph by Rogers marked Carlisle and Chambersburg, and an 1889 cabinet card from Westminster, Maryland; he is also said to have had a studio in Hagerstown, Maryland for a time.

Albert and Samuel weren’t the only family members to go into the photography business. In all,  I have found evidence that three other siblings did the same: John H.(Waynesburg, Green Co., Pa.),  Thomas Wilson Rogers (Carmichaels, Green Co., Pa.), and Jessie Addison Rogers (Greensburg, Decatur Co., Indiana).

Elizabeth died in 1917, and Albert remarried a woman several decades younger, Louise McCann Rogers. They had two daughters, Marie and Helen.

He gave up the photography business to grow fruit trees between 1910 and 1920 to devote himself fully to his orchards.

Rogers and his two wives are buried in Norland Cemetery, Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pa. (Thanks go to Jim Houpt of the Franklin County Genweb for information about the deaths and burials of the Rogers.)

The Greene County Historical Society has a large digitized collection of photographs, many bearing the Rogers name.

Tweet Tweet, Mr. Walzl

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Baltimore photographer, publisher and entrepreneur Richard Walzl gave away this card when he moved his studio from  46 N. Charles Street to 405 W. Baltimore Street ca. 1881-1882. To get the word out, Walzl chose  a stock card featuring a colorful bird singing in a rose bush. This card is one of only two Baltimore photographers’ trade cards I have found.

Color Me Badly, Bendann

Even the renowned Bendanns could turn out bad work. I was fortunate to acquire two Bendann Brothers carte de visites of the same subject. One has been hand-tinted; one has not. The contrast is striking. Instead of animating nature, an unskilled hand has marred it.

These two cartes were produced at the Bendanns’ 205 W. Baltimore Street gallery, which, according to Ross Kelbaugh‘s Directory of Baltimore Photographers, the brothers occupied from 1859 to 1860.

Drawing the Line: Photography and Art

From the moment Daguerre produced his first pictures in the late 1830s, people have argued about the relationship of photography to art. “Artistic Photography” was a common line on photography studio advertising, often accompanied by some form of an image of an artist’s paint palette.

George Ayres’1878  articulation of the relationship of photography to art echoes the eighteenth century notion of art as nature perfected:

“While the camera produces nature truthfully–perhaps too much so for mortal vanity in general–the artist’s office is to impart life and color” (How to Paint Photographs, 22).

The goal, wrote Ayres, was the harmonious “union of the true and the beautiful” (How to Paint Photographs, 23). In this formulation, art and photography are not rivals but partners. Photographs reproduce nature, but artistic embellishment brings nature to life.

Many studios employed staff whose job was to add color to photographs. This could range from a subtle hint of rose to the lips to a full-scale reworking of the photo into a  drawing.

This carte de visite from the Cox & Ward studio is an excellent example of the latter treatment. Watercolors, pencil, and crayon (now known as pastels) have been used to alter the figure’s features until very little of the original photograph can be discerned.

The unidentified subject appears to be in evening dress. She wears her auburn hair in shining braids piled high on top of her head, with frizzed curls on the forehead, a style in keeping with 1870s fashion.  A cross on a black velvet ribbon draws attention to her creamy throat and shoulders.

Bringing out the black of the subject’s choker, the black card mount is gilt-edged to match the gilt type in which the studio name and address is printed.

William A. Cox operated a studio with a partner named Ward–possibly a jeweler named George W. Ward– from 1870 to 1881. Cox and his family also spent time in St. Augustine, Florida, where they are found in the 1885 Florida census. He may have located there permanently by 1900. A William A. Cox died in Broward County, Florida in 1915.

Bendann with Blind Emboss

This ca. 1860 carte de visite has an unusual  blind-embossed “Bendann” mark instead of the usual printed studio mark.

According to Baltimore photography historian Ross Kelbaugh, Daniel Bendann opened his own studio in Richmond, Virginia in 1856. In 1858, he worked as a photographer for the B & O Railroad. He and his brother, David Bendann, opened their Baltimore studio in 1859.

I have one other Baltimore card photograph with a blind-emboss studio mark:  A carte de visite by Henry Pollock. Blind-emboss may be an indication of an earlier date in the wet plate era.

Like some earlier cartes in my collection, including the Pollock, this Bendann cdv was made with austere props on a thin, ivory card stock without border lines.

His coat is shorter and more fitted than the the typical sack coat of the 1860s. He wears a matching vest and contrasting checked trousers. His necktie is worn vertically, in a soft knot at the neck–a style that seems to have been common in the 1870s.

Without additional information about how the Bendanns marked their early work and when the blind emboss mark was in use, is not possible to be sure  when  this carte was produced.

Fisching for Jane Lanphier Stanton

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Is this the face of Jane Harriet Somers Lanphier Stanton, daughter of Methodist minister William Lanphier of Alexandria, Va., and wife of Tennessee congressman and Kansas territorial governor Frederick Perry Stanton (1814-1894)?

So I was told by the person who sold me this 1860s carte de visite by Fischer & Bro., 95 W. Baltimore Street.

I have not yet been able to confirm her identity, so I’ll talk instead about Arthur J. Fischer, peripatetic photographer.

Arthur was the son of Frederick, Maryland druggist George Fischer. In 1860, the family had moved to Baltimore, where Arthur was listed in the census as a photographer.

As with so many Americans, Arthur had an itchy foot. In 1870, he worked in St. Louis, Missouri. By 1880, he had settled down in Quincy, Adams Co., Illinois, with wife Alvina and two sons, Arlington Lee Fischer and Arthur J. Fischer, Jr.

After retiring, he lived with his son Arlington in Salem, Ohio, and probably died there.

The Stantons retired to Florida, and are buried in South Lake Weir Cemetery, Marion County, Florida.

A Jacob Byerly Carte de Visite

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According to published biographical sketches, the Byerlys came from Cumberland County, Pennsylvania to Frederick, Maryland, where in 1842 they opened a daguerreotype studio on Patrick Street, later moving to North Market Street.

From 1842 to 1915, three generations of Byerlys photographed the people and places of the town and its environs: Jacob Byerly (1807-1883), his son John Davis Byerly (1839-1914), and then John’s son Charles Byerly (1874-1944).

Charles took over the business at 29 North Market Street in 1899. In April 1915, the floor above the studio collapsed and destroyed the gallery. Although Charles rebuilt the Byerly Building (still in use at 27-29 North Market Street), he gave up the photography business. The building still bears the family name and the year 1915.

This carte de visite of an unknown young woman was probably taken before 1864, because there is no revenue stamp, and because according to Maryland photography historian Ross Kelbaugh, cartes from ca. 1863-1865 to about 1869, when Jacob retired, bore the name J. Byerly & Son.

Her dress exhibits the more tapered fullness of 1860s skirts, the full “bishop” sleeves, and the narrow, flat, white linen collar that replaced the wide lace collars of the 1850s.  She holds a book in her hands as if just interrupted while browsing, perhaps to indicate that she is educated beyond the norm for girls.

The Historical Society of Frederick County holds a substantial collection of photographs by and of the Byerlys and associated families.