Two men from Riga, Latvia

The two cartes-de-visite on this page came from an antiques dealer in Greenfield, Massachusetts, in the northwest part of the state.  On the back of the carte above is the name Adolphe with a question mark:

Adolph by E.v. Eggert 3d


The portrait was made at the studio of E.v. Eggert, which probably stood for Emmanuel von Eggert (see visitor comments below).  One Latvian website uses the name Emanuels Egerts.

Adolph by E.v. Eggert 2d


The carte below was made at the same studio, at the same address, but it has a different design on the back.  The sitter is an older man and the card itself looks considerably older.  On the back is the name “Abraham Z.”

Abraham Z. by E.v. Eggert 2

Abraham Z. by E.v. Eggert 3


Abraham may have been Adolphe’s father or uncle.  The names are written in different hands, and the question mark after Adolphe’s name suggests he was a distant relative of the writer, rather than a direct ancestor.



9 thoughts on “Two men from Riga, Latvia

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    1. So true! Most Latvian immigrants to the USA came in the 20th century, decades after these photos were taken. A few came at the end of the 19th century. Massachusetts has the fifth-largest number of residents of Latvian descent, after California, New York, Illinois and Florida (2000 Census). I’d love to know something about Abraham and Adolphe.

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  1. I hope they survived to die a natural death old age rather than what happened to so many Latvian Jews in those days. Nice portraits.


  2. Interesting pictures! As others have already commented, it would be interesting to know what became of those men and their families. The fact that the name and address of the studio are given in German are a reminder that in the 19th century a good part of the population of Riga was German. The name, by the way, was most likely Emmanuel von Eggert (the addition of s’s at the end is a ‘Latvinisation’ of the German name, and the ‘v’ is lower case, indicating ‘von’). This also makes me wonder whether the sitters considered themselves to be German rather than Latvian, since they used the services of a German photographer. My own German family has roots in that part of the world, in particular Klaipeda, now in Lithuania, but then in East Prussia and thus part of Germany.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nice to hear from you, Little Sparrow! I’m sure you’re right, of course, about the name Emmanuel von Eggert. I was highly skeptical about the spelling on the Latvian museum site. I studied Russian history in college, but never studied the Baltic countries or Prussia. In collecting, I’m drawn to photos from Tsarist Russia for their historical elements, whereas I tend to choose photos from the UK, Germany and Scandinavia more for their aesthetic appeal.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, being German I was of course drawn to the German element.
        I’ve been on holiday, btw., and while I haven’t been cut off from the internet, I decided to take a holiday from WordPress as well. That’s why I’m now reading posts from two weeks ago.

        Liked by 1 person

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