Man with blanket in Cleveland by Thomas T. Sweeny

The man in this carte-de-visite portrait isn't identified.  Why does he have a blanket wrapped around him?  He seems to be pointing at it:   The photographer, Thomas T. Sweeny (1831-1891), worked in Cleveland, Ohio, throughout his life.  Although he was active for about three decades, information about him is scarce online.  Census records indicate... Continue Reading →

Man with royal charter

This cabinet card photograph is the first image I've shared from Australia.  It was printed at the Anson Brothers studio in Hobart, Tasmania, which was in operation from 1878 to 1891.  Founded by brothers Joshua, Henry Joseph and Richard Edwin Anson, the studio became known for views of Tasmanian scenery, which received medals at the... Continue Reading →

Young harpist in New Bedford

This cabinet card portrait was made at a studio in the port city of New Bedford, Massachusetts.  The studio belonged to a man named John O'Neil.  Google didn't turn up any information about Mr. O'Neil, so I looked at census records on Ancestry.  In the 1880 U.S. Census, I found a John E. O'Neil, age... Continue Reading →

The choirmaster

This undated cabinet card portrait was taken in the ancient shipping town of Gravesend, Kent, England.  Gravesend is on the south bank of the Thames Estuary, about 21 miles (35 km) from central London.  The photograph was taken at the studio of Frederick Charles Gould, who became known for images he captured of the many... Continue Reading →

A book which still reverberates

I found this cabinet card portrait for sale on eBay in England (Northamptonshire) in January of this year.  Books are common props in 19th-century studio portraits, but titles are usually too blurry to read, even after scanning them at high resolution.  In this case, the book is large enough that the title is easily readable... Continue Reading →

Woman with vase

The unidentified woman in this photograph is wearing a drop-waist dress and a Marcel Wave hairstyle, hallmarks of the flapper era of the 1920s.  The photograph is about the size of a postcard, but was printed on plain photo paper, rather than postcard stock.  It came to me from a dealer in Pennsylvania who often sells photos... Continue Reading →

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