Tag Archives: 1880s-1890s

The boy with the bowler


1/6th plate tintype. 1880s-90s teen with bowler in hand. Private Collection.

A mid-teens sitter with his bowler in hand.

So Bummed…

 Tintype. Private Collection.

Man with eye injury and his friend. Tintype. Private Collection.

This unfortunate gent with the injured eye had to wear a bandage wrapped around the head for his portrait picture. He looks so down. Was he in pain and worried he’d lost an eye for good? Let’s hope he fully recovered, otherwise he was going to have to get used to it and looking at his expression he wasn’t in the least thrilled.

His friend is wearing a lucky horseshoe tie stack…I wonder if he was with the other man when the accident happened. They have boutonnieres too, one has it on the coat lapel and the other on the cravat. But if they attended an event that day, this poor lad doesn’t look like he was in the best mood to be social.

Today is not my day…pout.

Also, the backdrop design looks Arabic with a tall waterfall in the background. The right panel looks like a completely separate design, the painted window looking more American with the bottom panel supposed to slide up.

Four 1880s Brattleboro cadets 

1880s cadet buddies. Caleb L. and John C. Howe. Brattleboro. Cabinet Card. Private Collection.

These four teens from Brattleboro, Vermont were most likely cadets, maybe in a marching band?

Photographer Caleb Howe chose to take this picture horizontally, preferring to catch the boys in close-up. One of them is smiling and the others seem comfortable in front of the camera.

The card has yellowed with the passing of time.

Back of card.

Caleb Howe & Son. Back of card.

Photographer: Caleb Lysander Howe & Son (John C. Howe). Brattleboro. Vermont.

Caleb Lysander Howe (1811-1895) was a highly respected photographer in his home state of Vermont. He began his craft on the road in the late 1840s. During the Civil War he photographed a great number of soldiers who queued at his studio door for a chance to get their portrait taken. He also photographed Union General John W. Phelps on a card with the similar backing.

Howe’s son joined him in the business in the early 1880s. Since his initials appear on that cabinet card as well as the one I have I believe these were made a couple of decades after the war, by the end of the general’s life who passed in 1885.

Caleb Howe was also a singer and musician. There is a page dedicated to his life that is worth a look. There you can see the John W Phelps card.

Cross-legged on low chair

Cross legged on low chair. Tintype. Private Collection.

Cross legged on low chair. Tintype. Private Collection.

This young gent with a hint of a smile looks relaxed on this low chair. It makes him look tall. I’m not sure what the backdrop is supposed to represent, maybe a fireplace. The checkered flower design to the right is a mystery, a creative wall decoration most likely.

1890s William Maitland of Brooklyn

Cabinet photo detail. Private Collection.

Will Maitland. Cabinet photo detail. Kempf’s Photo-Art. Private Collection.

This is a large cabinet card measuring 4″ x 8″ with the picture taking the whole front. On the back this fine gentleman is IDed as Will Maitland. He looks proud with a hand on his hip. Larger pictures do make the fabrics and details stand out. Will is wearing what looks like a nice suit with two-toned buttons. His shoes don’t appear to be boots but have no laces either.

Photographer: Kempf’s Photo-Art – Gallery. 185 Myrtle Avenue. Artistic pictures of children a specialty.

Charles L. Kempf was a German born photographer who began operating a Brooklyn studio in at least the late 1870s, the studio was named after himself. He was listed in a Brooklyn business directory as early as 1874. A new business name, “Kempf’s Photographic Art Gallery” was established in the 1890′s and was in business until at least 1905. He is listed in some directories at 185 Myrtle Ave.; 627 Myrtle; and 177 Duffield, Brooklyn, NY (1888) (1889). Later under his business name at: Kempf’s Photo-Art Gallery, 185 Myrtle Ave. and 627 Myrtle Ave., Brooklyn, NY (1890s-1905).

Another card and more info on the photographer: The Cabinet Card Art Gallery

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