This is an anonymous portrait by Bogardus, one of the “big names” in mid-19th century American portrait photography. The carte itself and the print are in excellent condition, and I love the photographer’s blind stamp on the back. I’m including two more below by Bogardus to show the different blind stamps he used. I’m sure it evolved further over time, but these are the ones I have in my collection.
On a parallel but unrelated note, I think the cabinet in the Nellie Keeler and plump lady photos is to Bogardus what the “Reaper” clock is to Brady (as referenced in my previous blog post). The article I linked mentioned that the author found two copies of the Reaper clock like the one Brady had in his studio – it would be very cool to find Bogardus’ sideboard and bring it into a studio.
I found another photographer in New York to add to my map. This is a case of one photographer taking over the same studio of another – in this case, a Mr. A.W. Jordan took over the premises of Abraham Bogardus’ old studio.
I found the reference to A.W. Jordan on an 1870s Carte-de-visite of a civil war veteran multiple amputee, and the same address was used by Bogardus in the velvet pad on one of his daguerreotypes. It would be interesting to find out if there was another tenant in the studio between Bogardus and Jordan, or if the studio was sold to Jordan directly from Bogardus.
In my online shopping peregrinations, I came across another Nellie Keeler CDV, so of course I had to add the second varietal to my collection. The captions have it that these are one year apart. Who knows the truth of such things, as so many facts about the circus freak sideshow performers were grossly exaggerated for dramatic effect.
Here is the first one I collected, for comparison:
And somewhat ironically, here is a larger size (roughly 5×7) Cabinet Card of a much larger woman, seated in front of the same dining room sideboard on which Nellie Keeler is posing. When I saw that, I had to grab it just for that cool factor of coincidence. I’d read a lot about how work of battlefield photographers could be connected if not identified by the use of the same backdrops, furniture and even prop weapons/uniforms in Civil War tintypes. While not exactly the same thing, this is my first instance of finding the same props in two different photos of two VERY different subjects by the same photographer.
And last but not least (well, maybe least, based on the factoids on the front of the card) is Admiral Dot – yet another Barnum embellishment with an exalted military rank for someone of restrained stature. A contemporary of General Tom Thumb, Commodore Nutt, Major Atom, Count Rosebud and Baron Littlefinger, he also performed in sideshows.
As the photographer is not credited, it may well have been one of the lesser-known New York studios specializing in the theatrical trade who was able to work a deal with Anthony to distribute their cards.
The scan does not do the original justice. An amazingly beautifully preserved CDV of a Barnum performer. She was originally from Kokomo, Indiana. Hired in 1879 at age 11, she weighed 28 lbs. The photo is then most likely also from that year or within a year or two after that date.
I’ve begun a project to catalog and map the locations of Victorian-era photography studios in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia. Using my own collection as a starting point, and skimming back-marks off cartes-de-visite and cased images on Ebay, I’ve come up with some lists, and I’ve begun to put them on a Google Map. Here is my New York list:
DATES OF OPERATION
152 Chatham Street *
#2 New Chambers Street, corner of Chatham *
164 Chatham Street *
643 Bleeker Street
Chas. K. Bill
J. Gurney & Sons
unknown – early
J. Gurney & Sons
5th Avenue & 16th Street
unknown – late
Bailey’s Photograph Gallery
371 Canal Street
Loud’s Celebrated Album Cards
145 8th Avenue
* addresses no longer exist. New Chambers Street & Chatham Street are now approximately where New York City Civic Center and Police Headquarters are now located.
I will be doing the same for Washington DC and Philadelphia as I gather more information. These lists are obviously incomplete – if anyone has more information out there on other studios not captured on this list, please pass it along! My interest is in studios operating before 1900, ideally before 1880. If you have information about a given studio during the Daguerrian, wet plate, and the early Dry Plate eras, please include that as well. In my simplistic research, I’ve been finding that along with the change in media, studios moved around a lot – Mathew Brady had four different locations in New York City alone between 1850-1860.