Two boys

Posed nicely in their suits and white collars are two boys, probably brothers. The younger, on the left, is leaning on something draped with a brocade cloth cover. He looks as though the tedium of the session is wearing on him. The older brother to the right is looking fine with his arm tucked behind his back. The back of this photograph has “early 1930s” written on it. In conjunction with the previous incorrectly dated photograph, I can only assume the person doing the dating had no clue about photographs and maybe even no clue about the people. The person might have thought this was a pair of brothers they knew in their family – uncles for example – who indeed were born in the 20s, not realizing the photo represents at least one generation earlier.

The photographer was Jeptha Dunn, of Meadville, PA. Some of the stylized imprints of the photographer’s signature really left something to be desired. This one really looks like Drmm or Dumn, Drum, etc. I wonder how that whole process was managed.


Red Velvet

Coming up for your viewing pleasure, I will be featuring the photographs from another album, one that I call Red Velvet. No, I am not terribly clever with this, the album is covered in red velvet as you must have guessed. Once upon a time there was an emblem in fancy script across the front that said “Album” but it has long since parted ways with its host. The album is of a fairly standard size I am learning, approximately 9″ w by 10.5″ high and roughly 2″ thick. There is a fancy sliver clasp that still works so I assume the long lost emblem was also in silver. It must have been stunning when original! There are 13 pages with single openings for cabinet cards – so space for 26 cabinet cards – and then three pages with spaces for 4 CdVs each, so room for 24 CdVs.

Each page is faced in a different color paper, ranging from pink to lemon, blue to gray. Each picture opening is trimmed in a gilded scroll work, making each photo the centerpiece of the page in a magnificent fashion. While there is room for 50 photos total, there are far fewer. 12 cabinet cards and 17 CdVs remain. All are probably unidentified. As I take them out to scan I will carefully inspect them for any indication of names, but I am not hopeful. What I have seen in the past is that some family member goes through and takes the photos that are identified and/or that they can identify, and they leave the rest for the junk sale.

The first photo I found in the Red Velvet album was this one of a very handsome young boy, posed on a stone wall or monument, one leg folded under the other. He is wearing knee length short pants, black stockings and high boots, a fine black coat with a white collar, and he is holding a round cap in one hand. His attitude is engaged, as though he has just agreed to play a game of marbles once the shoot has finished.

The photographer was Dunn in Meadville, PA. I didn’t have much time to research this fellow, but what I did find was interesting. There was an early settler of Portland, NY named James Dunn who emigrated from Meadville, PA. This was in 1806, so it could not have been the photographer, but could certainly have been an ancestor of him. I shall try to work on this more later, but readers are welcome to play with it as well. I am tentatively dating this photo to the 1880s because that is when I believe the stone monument setting was popular in photography studios. Should I find I am wrong I will amend the date as needed.

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