Tag Archives: high collar

Early Colombia Portrait Company button photograph

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Detail of 1890’s to early 1900’s button portrait. ©bahc/c.ryan

This portrait is a beautiful early example of tin buttons the Chicago based Columbia Portrait Company used to make. The three founders Thomas J. Ogara, Thomas J. Durkin, and C.M. Stumcke incorporated in 1893 and the company was successful for nearly half a century before closing its doors in 1940. The name of the company was inspired by the Chicago’s World Fair of 1893 where they must have made their introduction. They made fine oil reproduction portraits and framed button “bubble” photographs they then began to sell on the road across the country.

So let’s talk about this young gentleman. I believe his portrait is very likely the reproduction of a cabinet card/cdv/tintype. The picture is sharp  and he was dressed to impress. His tie stack is impressive too, is this a large gemstone set with smaller ones? (I’m tempted to say they’re diamonds). The button is a smooth matte; unlike the later celluloid examples I’ve seen which have a plasticity or “bubble” effect to them. This portrait looks more like a tintype. I wonder if the young man was at the fair and had it done then and there.

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The button portrait is 6 inches in diameter, not counting the brass frame with hook. The logo is at the back center.

When I saw this button portrait I knew I had to have it. I was thrilled to find a tintype-like photograph in this format, with the sitter easily fitting in this collection. It needed quite a bit of cleaning up too. I usually keep originals alone but I’m looking to find out how to renovate the frame and cover a few age stains.

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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.


Axel in the Bowler Hat

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Axel F. Hall of Minneapolis. Private Collection.

Handsome Axel F. Hall chose to have one glove on, the other off for the picture. His collar is extremely high. He reminds me of the bowler hatted gentleman often portrayed by the painter Magritte.

Axel was born in 1871 in Sweden. He immigrated to the United States and settled in Minneapolis where he married a Swiss lady named Anna M. Hall who was 12 years his junior. With her he had three children, Fred W. Hall in 1906, Mabel A. Hall in 1909 and Edgar E. Hall in 1910. On the 1910 census Axel was living with his wife, children and a ‘boarder’, Minnie Christen, 15. Minnie was related to his wife (her sister maybe) with both parents born in Switzerland but herself born in Minnesota. At the time Minneapolis’ population was about 23% foreign born.

On the 1940 census, Axel was 70 and still living with his wife. His children had moved out but his mother-in-law lived with them. Anna B. Christen was 13 years his senior.

Axel F. Hall. Cabinet card. Private Collection.

Axel F. Hall. Cabinet card. Private Collection.

Photographer: A. H. Opsahl. Minneapolis. MN.


Oh, the eyes!

Portrait of handsome gentleman. Cabinet photo. Private Collection.

Portrait of handsome gentleman. Cabinet photo. Private Collection.

I’m a sucker for beautiful eyes. ;)

Here’s another pretty on a cabinet photo circa 1900. And with the high collar and fat little bowtie. Yes, sir!

Derivative work copyright © 2015 Caroline E. Ryan. All Rights Reserved.


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