Category Archives: Cabinet Cards

A booming town’s young man

cabinet-rhinelander

1880s-90s cabinet card. B.F.Kaler. Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Private Collection.

This Victorian man’s collar resembles a bishop neckband, but here the collar and sturdy chest piece look to be an all-in-one.

When this unidentified sitter had his picture taken, Pelican Rapids had only been recently renamed Rhinelander after Frederic W. Rhinelander of New York, who was president of the Milwaukee, Lake Shore & Western Road at the time. Rhinelander’s Wisconsin and Pelican rivers were ideal to transport lumber, as such the town became the newest timber mill of the northern part of the state. In 1882 the main railroad through town was completed, and in 1890 its population grew to about 3,000. Within the next decade Rhinelander boomed to almost double its size. Had this young man come to town in search of opportunities?

Photographer: B.F.Kaler. Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Mr. Kaler was the successor of Carl Krueger of The Krueger Studio.


Victorian young man of St. Johnsbury, VT

Ivorygraph. St. Johnsbury. Vermont. Boston. Young man. Cabinet Card. Private Collection.

Ivorygraph. St. Johnsbury. Vermont. Boston. Young man. Cabinet Card. Private Collection.

A near pristine high contrast three-quarter portrait from circa 1880-90. I’m very pleased how well this cabinet card was preserved. Except for a couple of tiny scratches, it was carefully stored and looks amazing for its age. The cardstock is unblemished and still its original color: a lovely, clean shade of cream.

The back of the card is blank, and unfortunately this fresh faced budding gentleman with the Windsor tie wasn’t IDed.

Photographer: Ivorygraph. Hastings. 26 Eastern Avenue. St. Johnsbury, Vermont. Branch of 146 Tremont Street, Boston.


The Smoking Club

cabinet-long-pipe-club

Thomas Hofer Fulpmes cabinet card. Private Collection.

This turn of the century group of five teens, three smoking long porcelain pipes, seems to be enjoying a lazy day lounging around on the grass. Their homburgs and fedoras look more 1920s-30s, which I find perplexing. I’m not excluding the possibility this cabinet card is post period and from the 20s, even if their suits would look a bit dated in less rural areas.

This photo was taken by Thomas Hofer in Fulpmes, Austria. I googled a bit about Fulpmes and was taken aback by how gorgeous this mountain village is. Today it has just over 4,000 residents, mostly fueled by tourism. I imagine it was much smaller a century ago.

This is what these boys saw every day:

fulpmes

(only slightly jealous :-)

But to come back to the card…The picture takes the whole front, the photographer info on a back stamp. To me the grass appears brown and battered from the melted snow of long winter months. Was this taken in early spring?

cabinet-long-pipe-club-2

6″ x 4.5″cabinet card

thomas-hofer

back of card stamp.

The photographer called himself an “amateur”. Perhaps he was only taking photographs for his own pleasure and did not own a business, or he was just starting out.


Victorian man of Illinois

Cabinet card.

1880s-1890s Cabinet card.

The higher the collar, the higher you are in society…? :)

I picture him spending long evenings in the family library, in the flickering light of a gas lamp reading book after book and newspapers while debating politics over a glass of whiskey. What a proper, educated gentleman is supposed to do.


Cabinet card of Czech virtuoso violinist Jan Kubelík

Violinist Jan Kubelík cabinet card by Mally, Chicago. Private Collection.

Violinist Jan Kubelík cabinet card by Mally, Chicago. Private Collection.

Jan Kubelík

BY Carl Sandburg

Your bow swept over a string, and a long low note quivered to the air.
(A mother of Bohemia sobs over a new child, perfect, learning to suck milk.)

Your bow ran fast over all the high strings fluttering and wild.
(All the girls in Bohemia are laughing on a Sunday afternoon in the hills with their lovers.)

When I came across this beautiful cabinet card I instantly recognized the violinist. This young man’s tousled hair is unmistakable and the pose is typical of him, his violin looking highly polished under his arm, his bow hanging low on his hand.

I’d previously written another post about Jan Kubelík last March, illustrated with a real photo postcard I don’t have in my collection.

Born July 5, 1880, Jan went on tour for the first time to the United States in 1901-02 when he was only 21 or 22, already an internationally renowned musician. This cabinet card was made on his first visit to Chicago.

Because Jan’s rising fame straddled the period when cabinet cards fell into disuse as real photo postcards took their place, cabinet cards of Jan are rare. There are more pictures of him on real photo postcards and I have not seen this particular pose before.

Here are two more shots of Jan from the same period I found online (he’s wearing the same style of slim overcoat on all his portraits):

A few fact about Jan Kubelík:

  • His recordings contributed greatly to the success of the gramophone.
  • He married a countess in 1903, Anna Julie Marie Széll von Bessenyö, had eight children with her and remained married to her until his death in 1940. All his children became musicians.
  • His sixth child, son Rafael Kubelik, became an internationally renowned conductor, violinist and pianist in his own right. In 1950 he became director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
  • In spring 1912 Jan performed a concert of painter Jean Dominique Ingres’ favorite musical pieces on the deceased artist’s violin (who knew the painter could play too?). This recital inspired attending French painter Georges Braque to paint Violin: “Mozart Kubelick” (sic). A year later the painting was included in the Armory Show, the exhibition that introduced modern art to America. The painter had misspelled the violinist’s name, giving rise to puns about cubist Braque being the one who put the “cube in Kubelik” and the “art in Mozart”.

Photographer: Mally. 570 W. 13th St. Chicago. For reference, Mally is the same studio as Prencel & Mally found on other Chicago based cabinet cards.


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