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Langdon's List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers

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Dexter B. Vickery, Photographer of Haverhill, Massachusetts

Posted by LangdonRoad on March 11, 2011 at 3:53 PM Comments comments (0)

With the use of photo software, it is possible to "clean" the appearance of the image. Photos of this kind are used by costume makers and authors writing about Victorian fashion.

Authentic Victorian Era carte de visite portrait of a young woman who posed at the studio of D. B. Vickery, 37 Merrimack St., Haverhill, Mass. According to the Haverhill Massachusetts City Directory for 1869-1870, Dexter B. Vickery, Photographer, was indeed at 37 Merrimack Haverhill.

The lady's hair is plaited and curled and a froth of lace sets off her face. And she is wearing large wood or semi precious stone crosses on earwires, dangle earrings which must be more than two inches long.

The albumen measures about 2 3/8 inches by 3 5/8 inches and is mounted on a heavy white or cream card with rounded corners, that is 2 1/2 inches by 4 1/8 inches. The artist's mark is in a fanciful pattern on the back. The cdv is not in the best condition, but the image itself is clear and has good contrast. Photo software has been used to enlarge and touch up the image to show her lovely face.

The photographer Dexter B. Vickery appears clearly in New England Censuses from 1850 to 1900. He was born in about 1840, the son of Alfred Vickery, a farmer in Merrimack, New Hampshire. By 1860, at just the age of 19, D. B. Vickery was a Daguerrean Artist in Lowell, Massachusetts. William Kendall, another Daguerrean Artist, born about 1832, is boarding at the same address as Vickery in 1860.

By the 1870 Census, Dexter Vickery, Photographer, was flourishing and working in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and married to Julia Vickery. As noted in the Haverhill City Directory 1869-1870, he was at 37 Merrimack Street, as the back of the photo also shows.

Vickery and wife Julia are also listed in Haverhill on the 1880 Census, living at 19 Highland Avenue. Boarding with him is Eva Lee, his niece, aged 27 and single, who is working as an Artist, possibly as a retouch artist. Also another lady named Ginny Blakeslee, a boarder, is also working as an Artist.

Sources: Federal Censuses

Civil War Era Cased Ninth Plate Tintype Brass Mat and Preserver

Posted by LangdonRoad on March 7, 2011 at 6:18 PM Comments comments (2)

This is an authentic Civil War era half cased ninth-plate tintype or ambrotype of an infant. The 1850’s medallion patterned dress ties at the shoulders and has a double row of ribbon trim at the hem. Mother may be wearing a medallion print, too. Both girl and boy babies wore gowns.


The image looks to be in it’s original back half of the wooden case which once had a matching cover, velvet padding and a hook and eye. The slightly scuffed case measures about 2½ inches by 2¾ inches.


Often images are left undisturbed in the case in which they came to the collector. There is a risk of damaging components or worse yet, the plate itself. A magnet can be used to determine if an image is a tintype or an ambrotype, but the magnet has no effect through the case.


I couldn’t stand the suspense of what might be in the case behind the picture. If the glass had become cloudy, it might  be hiding more of the image as well. I really wanted to see the surface finish and clarity. I gently lifted it out, tintype, glass, mat and keeper all together. Nothing written, stamped or labeled for identification. The back of the keeper is folded and can be bent outwards allowing the tintype, mat and glass to come out allowing them to be separated. The glass is clean and clear. It seems the tintype is in remarkably fine condition, the surface being undamaged. The undamaged back of the tintype is brown and brown backed plates were produced after 1870.


Hidden behind the brass mat is the person holding the baby! Using photo software I worked to further reveal the people in the picture. Yes, it’s still a dark little cased image, but that image inside is full of life. The lovely young mother is adjusting her child’s dress and feet. Her jacket has flared cuffs and a braid trimmed wide collar. Over her shoulder is one of the knobs of the back of the posing chair. It appears her hair is pulled back or upswept.

                                       An irreplaceable picture from our past.


What have I accomplished by all of these actions? The darkened not well focused picture of a baby comes alive. If the mother were having her picture taken, she would have been looking straight into the camera. Here we have a happy young mother proudly posing her baby just as if it were yesterday.

How long ago was it taken? The fashions look like the 1860’s or earlier. The tintype has a brown back which makes it 1870 or later, but it is likely a re-photographed copy of an earlier image dating back to the Civil War and possibly earlier. An irreplaceable picture from our past.

Charles Andrew Miller, Photographer of Moberly, Missouri

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 28, 2011 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (7)

C. A. Miller, photographer, was active in Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri from at least 1900 until 1957. He was born about Dec 1878 in Virginia of Virginia-born parents.

This is a cabinet photo portrait of an unidentified lady from the first decade of the past century. It was taken by C. A. Miller in Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri. Her ruffled gown has a lace yoke, high collar with lace appliqué and lace trimmed cuffs. She is complete with a gold watch on a long chain and a wedding ring.

The image itself is 3 by 5½ inches and mounted on a cabinet card which measures about 5½ by 8½ inches. The mat is cream colored and has abeveled edge. The photographer's name with a crest is stamped under the photo.The reverse is blank. Heavy wear but distinctive image.

It is possible to locate C. A. Miller using Federal Census Records in 1900 and 1910 when he lists his occupation as photographer.

In 1910, Federal Census for Missouri in Moberly, Sugar CreekTownship in Randolph County, is Charles Miller and wife Ada living with her father Ben Sims and wife at 718 Reed St.

There is a marriage certificate for C A Miller and Ada Sims dated 22 Nov 1899 in Moberly, MO.

On the 1900 Federal Census for Missouri in Moberly, Sugar CreekTownship in Randolph County, is Charles Miller and wife Ada living withher father Ager B. Sims and wife at 718 Reed on 7 June 1900. The census taker also found Chas A. Miller and Ada renting a house at 323 Reed St., which was likely the studio address.

Nearby at 317½ Reed another photographer named Will Reese. born March 1870 in KY of KY parents. He married Laura O. in about 1898 and they have a daughter who was born in 1809 in Missouri.

Theodore A. Brown, Lisle W. Brown and Anna J. Brown, photographers, Marshalltown, Iowa

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)


This is an authentic antique cabinet photo of three unidentified graduates. These lady scholars are in fluffy white dresses with neck ribbons and high collars. The girl standing has a neck chain with a gold locket or brooch. The seated lady on the left has a double neck chain and the one on the right has a satin ribbon sash with fringe. All three have lily of the valley sprays and their diplomas.


The image measures 3¾ inches by 5½ inches and is on a whitecard board mount with a gold pinstripe around the image and rounded corners and overall measures 4¼ inches by 6½ inches. The artists' mark is below the image in gold and the reverse is blank.

Using Federal and State Census Records and City Directories, it is possible to follow an early American photographer Theodore A. Brown from 1860 to 1920, and his son Lisle W. Brown, from birth in 1875 until the latter's death in Seattle, Washington in 1940.

On the 1900 Federal Census for Iowa, in Marshalltown, Marshall County, are two photographers named Brown. Living together at No. 19 West Main Street, the same address as on the one printed on the photo, are: Theodore A. Brown, photographer, born July 1851 in Illinois, and his son, Lisle W. Brown, photographer, born October 1875 in Illinois. Anna J. Brown who is listed with them is the second wife of Theodore A. Brown. Later in 1920, Anna J. Brown was working as a photographer with her husband. It is noted on the 1910 Federal Iowa Census that they married around 1900 and that it was Theodore A. Brown’s second marriage (and so she is not the mother of Lisle W. Brown.)

On the 1880 Federal Census for Iowa, in Marshalltown and Marshall County is Theodore Brown, photographer, born about 1851 in Illinois.With him are his first wife Alice Brown, born about 1853 in Ohio, his son, Lisle Brown, born about 1875 in Illinois and daughter Edith Brown, born about 1878 in Iowa.

On the 1885 Iowa State Census, Lisle W. Brown is eight years old and in school. By the 1900 Federal Iowa Census, he is working as a photographer with his father. According to the 1905 Iowa State Census, Lisle W. Brown was no longer with his father T. A. Brown and wife at 506 W. Main in Marshalltown in 1905.

There is a military record for a man named Lisle W. Brown who served in the Iowa National Guard. There is record of service for a Lisle W. Brown in the Spanish American War. When Company H of the 49th Iowa National Guard was organized in Marshalltown, Iowa on 4 June 1897 by Captain R. N. Darley and Lieutenant Charles S. Aldrich, Lisle W. Brown is listed at the rank of First Sergeant. In 1904, a Lisle W. Brown served as Regimental Sergeant Major in Company M of the Iowa National Guard.

On the 1910 Federal Iowa Census Theodore A. Brown, Artistic Photographer, born about 1851 in Illinois, is in Marshalltown, Marshall Co., IA. He and Anna Brown are rooming with George C. Hixson on 12 South Fifth Avenue.

In 1920, Theodore A. Brown, photographer with a studio, was enumerated in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington. He and Anna J. Brown are living and working together as photographers at 609 16th.They owned the structure free and clear. [See last two paragraphs.]

Lisle W. Brown and wife Nona M. Brown are listed on the 1910 Federal Census for Wisconsin in Dane County, in Madison.Their address was 1017 W. Johnston St. and they apparently married about 1907. An infant daughter Eleanor was born in 1910 in Wisconsin. This census lists Lisle W.Brown's occupation as Photographer at the University. The 1911 Madison Wisconsin City Directory has the couple living in Madison and his occupation is University Photographer and again on the 1920 Federal Wisconsin Census, he is listed as Photographer U. of Wisconsin.

By the 1923 Seattle Washington City Directory, Lisle W. Brown and Nona S. Brown are listed at 6313 10th Avenue NE. On the 1930 Washington Federal Census in Seattle, King County, Lisle W. Brown, his wife and daughter appear. He was working as a Demonstratorfor Eastman Kodak in Seattle. Lisle W. Brown died 27 September 1940 in Seattle, Washington. (See Washington State Deaths)

The 1860 Illinois Federal Census lists a Theodore Brown who washe son of John Brown, a farmer, who was born about 1815 in Denmark, and his wife Joanna Brown born about 1818 in Denmark.They were enumerated in Livingston County, Newtown Township; the Post Office was New Michigan. At that time, Theodore Brown was 10 years old, born Illinois, he is at school and he had a brother John Brown aged about 11 also born in Illinois.

In 1850, John Brown born 1815 in Denmark was a Painter in Stark County, Illinois. His wife was Joanna born about 1818 in Denmark . At that time they had three children: Mary D. Brown, born about 1842, Elizabeth J. Brown, born about 1844 and John Brown, born about 1849 in Illinois, who corresponds to son, John Brown on the 1860 Illinois Census. John Brown, born1815 in Denmark is also listed as a Painter in Adams, LaSalle County, Illinois on the 1870 Federal Census.


Orlando B. Richardson, Photographer of Cambridge, MA

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 7, 2011 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)

When it began this search was for more information about this carte de visite which has the 1860's look and the only information on the back: “Richardson, Lowell, Mass.”


This type of photo image, a vignette portrait and the style of the CDV place this in the 19th century. The characteristics of the card: the size of the card (about 2 1/4" x 4"), the cream colored thin cardboard mount with square corners and a plainly printed photographer's back mark places this unidentified young lady in the 1860's. Her hair parted in the center and with a cascade of long sausage curls, the day dress which has a high collar with a little white ruffle and tiny buttons down the front were fashionable around the time of the American Civil War. If there was tax stamp on the back, it might be more precisely dated to the Civil War years, we must settle for Civil War Era and/or the 1860's. ,


The search did not prove exactly whose studio produced this particular carte, Beginning the search using Federal Census records for Lowell, MA, I did not find a photographer named Richardson living and working in Lowell, Massachusetts in the1860’s. It seems though that there was a photographer named Orlando B. Richardson who first appears as a Photographer on the 1870 Massachusetts Census in Middlesex County in Cambridge’s Second Ward. The photographer was 28 years old and married to Malvinia S. Richardson. The young couple had a personal estate of $7,000 and were living in the same household with John Wilder, a wealthy real estate agent, his wife Persis D.Wilder and son Albert F. Wilder.

In 1860, Orlando B. Richardson aged 17 is living and working with Mary A. Richardson, a widow who is farming in Middlesex Co.

In 1880, Orlando B. Richardson, Photographer, is enumerated on the Middlesex County, MA Census in Somerville. His address is 142 Clarendon Avenue. His wife is Malvinia and the children are: Edith W. Richardson, Albert W. Richardson, Persis E. Richardson and Madeline Richardson who was born in June 1879.


In 1900, Orlando B.Richardson surfaces on the other side of the dark period of the lost 1890 Census, but he is working as a boot and shoe salesman. He and daughter Edith W. Richardson, a teacher of drawing and design, are living at 8 Warland Street in Cambridge.  On the 1900 census, Orlando B. Richardson and his wife each indicate they are married, but they are living apart., Daughter is  Edith W. living with her father and the remaining children are living with Malvinia Richardson: Persis C., Madaline, Odline, Albert W. and two younger children.Their son, Albert W. Richardson says he has been married 6 years, so the two youngsters Leslie and Roland may be Albert's children.


In 1910, Orlando B.Richardson, boot and shoe salesman and his daughter Edith W., an architectural draftsman are still living at 8 Warland Street with William A. Thomas and family.

Now for the family historian in you, here is other Bio compiled using Massachusetts Federal Census records:

Orlando B. Richardson was born April 1842 in Massachusetts and Malvinia S. Richardson born March 1844 in New Hampshire.

The 1850 Census shows that Orlando B. Richardson is likely the son of: George B. Richardson, who was born about 1807 in Maine, a Dealer in Ice and Fruit with $4,600 of personal estate in West Cambridge, Middlesex Co. ,Massachusetts. In 1850  George B. Richardson’s wife was Mary A. Richardson, born about 1814 in Massachusetts and the children listed were: George E., Orlando B., Elenor W., Francis E. and Ella R. Richardson.


On both the 1850 and 1860 Censuses, Samuel Wilson born 1787 and Mary A. Wilson born about 1792-1794, both in Mass. are living in Mary A. Richardson’s household.



It cannot be proven at this time with this information and the image to prove that the above cdv was taken by Orlando B. Richardson.

Crawford & Huston, Photographers of Morris, Illinois

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Carte de Visite (CDV) of an unidentified Illinois family in the city of Morris in Grundy County. They posed at the studio of: "Crawford & Huston, Photo. Artists, Morris, Ill."

The image measures 2¼ inches by  3¾ inches and is mounted on a heavy white card with a pink back which overall is 2½ by x 4 1/8 inches


On the 1880 Federal Census for Grundy County, Illinois, are the two photographers Crawford & Huston living at different addresses in the city of Morris. William Crawford, Photographer, born about 1858 in IL, is boarding with Catharine Crawford. In 1880,[Albert] Berta Crawford is working as an Editor and also living with Catherine Crawford. On the 1870 Census also in Morris is James H. Crawford, Photographer, born about 1833 in NY and his wife Catherine. Albert and William Crawford are children. In 1860, in Dixon, Lee County, Illinois, is James H. Crawford, Artist, born about 1833 NY with Catherine and his children.

In 1870 in the household next door to James H. Crawford and family is: Joseph Even, Photographer, born about 1826 in Luxembourg.


Dewitt Huston, Photographer, of Crawford & Huston, was born about 1851 in IL, and was living on Liberty Street with his wife, Anna C. Huston. He was the son of Charles Huston, a mail carrier and Mary J. Huston.


Source: Federal Censuses