This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Musical Trade Cards

26 October 2018

Darling I am Growing Old.

For Fine Teas, Coffees, and Spices
go to the
G. H. Coonrad & Co.
107 Dominick St.     Rome, N. Y.


Ah There !

Compliments of
Cluett & Sons,
265 River Street, Troy N. Y.
Pianos and Organs


When the Robins Nest Again.

Compliments of
Phil. P. Keil
Dealer in First Class
Pianos and Organs
McKeesport, PA


Not English You Know.

Emerson Piano Co.
146A Tremont Street,


We Lead But Never Follow.


Ready For Action.

A. C. Yates & Co.
Sixth & Chestnut Sts.
Best Made Clothing
in Philadelphia


Oh You Little Darling!

Grant & Besse,
One Low Price Clothiers
Large, New, Fall Stock
At Lowest Prices,     Hats & Caps,
Opp. Central Hotel,   Westfield, Mass.


Oh George Tell Him to Stop!

J. H. Schurtz
—Dealer in—
Staple and Fancy Dry Goods.
Ladies' and Gents' Furnishing Goods,
Notions, Worsteds, German Wool, &c.
418 Atlantic Avenue
Near Bond Street,     Brooklyn, N. Y.


Have I Caught Your Eye?

Madame McCabe's
Sanative Corsets.
First Premium, St. Louis, 1887

    A corset to be perfect must support and give grace of outline to the form without constraining it. There cannot be perfect health if the body has not perfect freedom of movement in every part, and the lungs and other organs are not free to perform their functions.
    In Madame McCabe's Sanative Corset, it will be found that the foregoing points have been carefully studied, and the result is a corset in which beauty of shape, perfect and equal support of the body, with absolute freedom of movement to the wearer, are all secured whether the wearer sits, stoops, or reclines, the posture can be assumed with perfect ease and without injury to the corset; in fact, unconstrained movement of the body in exercise, with perfect shape and graceful figure are secured.
    The lungs are free to expand to their fullest capacity, as the expanding back responds to every respiration. The importance of the latter feature is plain, and all physicians will emphasize and endorse it.
    Ladies, who wear this corset are profuse in their praise in that they have found a corset that will give a beautiful and elegant contour to the form without sacrificing either their health or comfort.

Our Agent .................... will be pleased to call and show samples.
Manufactured by the St. Louis Corset Company,
St. Louis, MO


The preceding colorful musical images are trade cards
advertising American businesses in operation
from between 1875 to 1895.
These humorous illustrations of musicians,
just a bit larger than a carte de viste photograph at 3" x 4.5",
were printed in France
and sold as fancy stock paper to American printers
who then added the custom information of their local business clients.
I have duplicates of some of the cards
with different stores printed on the back.
The bandsmen are the best clue to the French origin
as their uniforms are in the French military style.
Also the instrument held by the bandsman in
the Grant & Besse clothier card is an ophicleide,
an unusual French bass brass instrument
that use keys like a saxophone rather than valves to change pitch.

Though these advertisements gently satirize the fashions of Paris
they were intended as familiar caricatures of musicians
that the American public of the time could recognize.
The French artists had two important advantages
over early photographers
which was one, the ability to use color,
and two, cheaply reproduce the cartoons in very large quantity.
In the 19th century, trade cards like these
were produced in thousands of charming designs
and collecting them became a popular fad.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where the writing's on the wall.

Music in Time of War

20 October 2018

We can see the musicians.
Inspect their uniforms. Count their instruments.
But we can't hear them.
What music were they playing?
A jolly march? A dramatic overture? A popular song?
Sadly their sound has long ago evaporated.
All that is left is silence.

It's a question I often ask
even knowing that it's impossible to answer.
But with this image I wish I knew.
What music did a German army band
play in the center of a shattered French village?

The date is May 2, 1915. A German soldier named Richard Hainsche (?) writes a note to a family back in Germany. Unfortunately his cursive handwriting style defeats my efforts to read the full name or place. His postcard was printed in Leipzig and has the image of a German regimental band captioned Marktmusik in St. Marie à Py ~ Market music in St. Marie à Py. Standing in a circle on a rough dirt street is a band of about 21 musicians. Their leader directs them from the center. A few other soldiers loiter behind the bandsmen. In the background is the empty shell of a two story building. The windows and doors are gone. There is no roof. A corner is demolished. This is what remains of the market square in the village of Sainte-Marie à Py, a commune in the Marne department of northeastern France.

Sainte-Marie à Py was, and still is, a small farming community situated on the Py river, a small creek-like tributary to the Suippe River which feeds into the Seine. Following a footpath just 36 kms west is the great cathedral city of Reims, France and part of a vast patchwork quilt of agricultural fields. To the east 74 kms away is the medieval city of Verdun on the banks of the Meuse river.

The village's name was first recorded at the beginning of the 13th century. Seven centuries later in September 1914, Sainte-Marie à Py was in the pathway of the Imperial German Army as it stormed across Belgium and Luxembourg, intent on reaching Paris. The force that took St. Marie was the 3rd Division No. 32 of the Saxon army as indicated by the division's official franking on the postcard. Next to it is a lighter imprint of a munitions unit that the soldier may have been part of.

* * *

* * *

In the months that followed a line was not drawn as much as dug out of the chalk and clay of northeastern France to mark what is called the Western Front. The village of St. Marie à Py was occupied by the German army which used it as a base of operations, but not a headquarters. The village population was around 420 people, less than it's height of 742 in 1831. The bombardment by both German and French artillery destroyed much of the village yet for some reason photos of the destruction were used to make postcards for the German troops. In this next postcard the building with an arched entrance and broken corner is the same one seen in the band's postcard, but with the camera positioned on the opposite view of the market.

This postcard was printed in Berlin and posted on the 8th of April 1916 to an address in Hesel, northeast Germany.

This next postcard is captioned St. Marie-à-Py, France and was taken from a higher viewpoint of the village. It has a short obscured penciled message on the back but no postmark. In the foreground, soldiers pick over some rubble or maybe ordnance material to load into a horse drawn wagon. In the mid-distance is the hollow structure of a church.

The Eglise de Ste Marie à Py, a catholic church which presumably dates from the 13th century, was destroyed early on in the war. It was rebuilt and rededicated in 1927.

Eglise de Sainte Marie à Py, Catholic Church
Source: Wikimedia

The next image is from the Wikimedia page for St Marie à Py, France and shows the same market square building with a casual line of  German soldiers in front.

Sainte-Marie-à-Py, France, circa 1914-1918
Source: Wikimedia
Another postcard image from Wikimedia is unusual because unlike the grim grey/amber tone of the other photos, this one was colorized. It depicts a yard filled with various wagons. The green hillsides and light shirts of the soldiers suggest it is spring or summer. The broken walls and roofless buildings show that it is also wartime. In 1911 the population of Sainte Marie à Py was 414 citizens. In 1921 it was 194, less than half.

Sainte-Marie-à-Py, France, circa 1914-1918
Source: Wikimedia
For the first few years of the war, St Marie à Py did not hold any significant strategic position along the Western Front, so it is curious that German military photographers took so many photos of such a small place. Perhaps it was because it was just a safer vantage for the photographers. Presumably for German propaganda purposes these postcards were intended to show more of the heroic troops rather than any devastation of war. But to a modern eye, one hundred years later, these postcards have an arrogant insensitivity of an occupying military force. It illustrates in part how the great animosity developed between the German and French peoples. A hatred that began with the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and continued though World War 2.

I wanted to find a way to show the landscape around Sainte Marie à Py. An individual Google Maps street view doesn't show the broad rolling plains very well. Then I found this beautiful video entitled "Notre Dame des champs à Sainte Marie à Py" which uses a drone camera to show the land around the village from a bird's eye view. It also uses a number of postcard images of the German occupation to tell a short history of the place. The description is in French but here is the English translation.
In gratitude to the Blessed Virgin Mary, a statue was erected in 1902 for saving part of the population from an epidemic of typhoid. The "statue of the Virgin" carries the baby Jesus who raises his arms to bless us, and is called "Our Lady of the Fields", so that it protects our valley. At the inauguration, this statue was protected by a roof supported by 4 columns. It was destroyed during the 1914-1918 war and restored in 1924.

* * *

* * *

The casualties of the Great War are unimaginably staggering numbers. Estimates for the deaths of military personnel are between 9 and 11 million. Civilian deaths, including those caused by famine and disease, are around 8 million. Adding the number of wounded to the statistics gives a rough number of 40 million people crushed by the war.

There is another image of the war in this French village that I want to include with my story but I find it too disturbing to publish in a large size. It is a small etching entitled Die Irrsinnige von Sainte-Marie-à-Py ~ The Madwoman of Sainte-Marie-à-Py by the German artist Otto Dix (1891-1969). It depicts a distraught mother knelling in the remains of a barn with her dead infant lying before her on the ground. Clicking the next image will take you to the work's web page at the Museum of Modern Art archive.

In 1924 Otto Dix produced a collection of etchings of his war experience. Born in Thuringia, Germany he trained as a painter in the Dresden Kunstgewerbeschule, but in 1914 he enthusiastically volunteered for the German army, serving first in a field artillery unit and then as a machine-gunner on the Western front in the Battle of the Somme. In November 1917, he transferred to the Eastern front until Russia withdrew from the war, whereupon he was sent back to the western front in February 1918 and fought in the German Spring Offensive.

After the war Dix returned to Dresden but remained profoundly affected by the war. At one time he  described having a recurring nightmare of crawling through destroyed houses. In 1924 he produced a portfolio of fifty etchings called Der Krieg ~ The War which includes this frightening sketch. It reminds me of the etchings in a collection called  The Disasters of War by the Spanish artist Francisco Goya (1746–1828). This work depicts the horror of the conflicts in Spain from 1800 to 1820 during the Napoleonic era. One of Goya's etchings, "Contra el bien general" hangs above my desk as I write.

Francisco Goya (1746–1828)
Contra el bien general ~ Against the common good
Source; Wikimedia

Otto Dix used art as a way of interpreting the shocking events he witnessed as a soldier. His ghastly figure of a woman in anguish doesn't need much of a title to be understood, but Dix chose to attach the name of the little village Sainte Marie à Py. Why? Was this something he himself saw there? Or was it a story passed on to him from another soldier? In any case it adds a dreadful element of terror to the wartime story of this French village.

One hundred years later there are no answers, but that brings me back to my first question. What music does a military band play in a time of war when death and destruction is all around? A sprightly polka or heroic march seem absurdly unsuitable. A solemn elegy or mournful dirge seem pitifully inadequate. But the telescope of history shows us statistics and events that people of the time did not know. The soldiers and civilians caught up in this terrible war had only one objective, and that was to survive. Music was a distraction, both for the audience and the musicians. Its purpose was to alleviate boredom, to divert the senses, to relieve a fearful anxiety of worry over what will happen next.

* * *

Just a few kilometers to the southeast of Sainte Marie-à-Py is a cemetery divided into two sections. The Cimetiere Allemand de Souain is the resting place for 13,783 German soldiers killed during the Great War of 1914-1918. Only 2,464 men are marked with individual burials. The remainder lie in a common tomb and 10,216 are unknown.

Google Maps gives us a 360° panoramic image that was taken at one side of the cemetery. Notice that to the right of the large cross in the first row is a marker unlike the others. It marks the grave of a Jewish soldier.

As we turn around towards the center altar monument, we can see another cemetery with white cross markers in pairs front and back. This is the French section, Nécropole nationale de la Crouée (Souain-Perthes-lès-Hurlus). It covers an area about 15 times larger than the German cemetery. There are 30,734 French soldiers from the Great War buried here, but only 9,050 are identified with markers.

It is a quiet place.
A place about time but without time.

* * *

* * *

Click and hold within the map view for the rotating view.
If you single click on another arrow
you will be whisked away to another perspective in the cemetery.
To return to this first viewpoint, find the big cross and click on it.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where architecture and art texture meet.

The Art of Austrian Postcards

13 October 2018

Vintage photographs come in a wide variety
of shades of grey and sepia tones.
Though these antique images are often
wonderfully detailed and clear
they are seriously deficient when it comes to determining
the natural color of eyes, hair, clothing, costumes and uniforms.

So when I acquired this delightful caricature entitled
Damenkapelle or Ladies Band in German
it was a cheap thrill to finally get some color,
even if just an artist's interpretation.

The postcard was not mailed and has no message.
The artist signature is printed in the lower right corner
but the cursive style is too difficult for me to even guess the name.
The only clue to its origin was a printers mark on the back
B.K.W.I. 9,3–1    Printed in Austria.


From at least the 1890s to the 1920s, Damenkapple or Damen Orchester, were an enormously popular musical ensemble in the cafes, restaurants, and music halls of the German and Austrian empires. The two German terms seem to have been interchangeable for both a ladies band or ladies orchestra. Generally the brass bands were from Germany and the string orchestras from Austria. This image of a the Österreichischen Damen-Orchester und Quatett -Sänger, J. Bach shows a typical Austrian ladies ensemble of nine musicians, all women except for two men in the back row. Most are string players with violins, a cello, and double bass. But there is a triangle, snare and bass drum on the floor in front. The man at the back left holds a flute, hidden in the dark shade of the half-tone print. Notice that the cartoon orchestra also has a bald-headed man playing trumpet in the back row.

This postcard was sent on the 28 of June 1900 from Karlsruhe in the German state of Baden-Württemberg. It's interesting that the writer added a personal touch with a heart drawn over the chest of the female double bass player. Perhaps she was the one to send the postcard.

The leader of the cartoon Damenkapelle shows off a fashion for ribbons and collars that mimics perfectly the fashions in the female musical troupes of the 1900s.

This image comes from a postcard of the Elite Original Wiener Damen-Orchester  „Austria“, directed by Ant. Altmann. Theree are seven women and two men, again mostly with string instruments, though one woman plays flute and another trombone. There is an upright piano in the background of the small stage. The women have white gowns with long sash ribbons, dark collars, and a kind of vest.

 The caption  reads:
Allerhöchste Anerkennung von Sr. k.u.k.
Hoheit des Erzherzogs Franz v. Salvator
Most Highly Recognized by Sr. k.u.k.
Highness of the Archduke Franz v. Salvator

The postcard was sent from Magdeburg,
the capital city of
Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
on the 20th March 1904.

The caricature of the Damenkapple has qualities that show the artist was very familiar with Austrian women's salon orchestras, but I was still unsure when it might have been produced. The bright colors and free brush lines were not unlike a postcard printed for tourists in the 1970s.

 Then I found this next postcard.

It is another colorful caricature by the same artist, as printed in the lower right corner. It is entitled Ständchen, a German word for a serenade in the form of a song addressed to a beloved. Four bandsmen with trumpets and tubas stand behind an imposing drum major with a broad chest and long baton. At one side is a military officer with a black plumed hat and a sharp Prussian style mustache.

But this postcard confirms that the era of the first card was indeed from the 1900s as this second postcard, which has the same printer marks, B.K.W.I. as the first image, was sent through the post. Despite the rough unclear postmark, the Austrian Kaiser Franz Josef's profile on the green 5 heller stamp is labeled 1908, in commemoration of the 60th anniversary of his accession to the throne.

The imperial Austrian military were well known for their splendid uniforms. The bandsmen's light blue trousers and dark blue tunics resemble the uniform of this Bohemian helicon player from Prossnitz that I featured in my May 2016 story called Austrian Plumbing.

The cartoon bandsmen have what looks like a flower or leaflet pinned to their shakos. It resembles the same style on the hats worn by the jolly Austrian bandsmen I featured in a story from March 2018 called Alte Kameraden.

The eye of a talented artist can capture things
that a camera never sees.
It's not just the color of a beard or sash that they observe
but the humor and fun of human nature on display.

* * *
The artist's name was Fritz Schönpflug ( 1873 – 1951),
an Austrian artist who illustrated
the world of his beloved Wien
in thousands of lighthearted postcard caricatures.
Check out this post for more of his work.
Getting Around in Old Wien

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where a picture is always worth a few thousand words.

The Haynes Palace Studio Car

06 October 2018

Mother with child,
perhaps the one arrangement
that has remained an enduring constant
for artists of classic
portrait studies.

Within the world of early photography
a mother and child posing for the camera
is possibly the most common genre for studio photos.
This maternal pair is a fine example
of its type in a cabinet card,
a photo style popular in the late 19th century.
Framed from above the waist
the mother wears a dark dress
of soft material, velvet maybe,
embroidered with a simple leaf design
on her bosom and sleeve.
Her baby, clad in
a white christening dress
just a few months old,
stares in wonder at the camera lens.

It's a charming photo from the 1890s
that's not typical of my musical photo collection.
In fact the real reason I bought it was
not for the mother and child
but for the photographer's studio imprint on the back,

the Haynes Palace Studio Car.

This private railway carriage belonged to the photographer F. Jay Haynes of St. Paul, Minnesota. As written on the lower sign on the side of the car, he was the official photographer of the Northern Pacific Railway. This line ran from Minnesota to Washington state, serving as an important transcontinental link between the urban East and Midwest to the Pacific Northwest. Construction began in 1870 but the line was not completed until 1883. Like all the first railroad companies, the profit for the line came from selling land that had been granted to them by the US government in exchange for building a transportation network across the vast interior of America. In order to attract settlers to buy this land, the Northern Pacific engaged a young photographer, Frank Jay Haynes (1853-1921) to make promotional photos of the train stations and rolling stock.

Frank Jay Haynes on the Missouri River 1880
Source: Wikipedia
In 1880 F. J. Haynes made this self-portrait alongside the Missouri River. Considering that just four years before in June 1876 General Custer fell at the Battle of Little Big Horn, Mr. Haynes' six shooter and Bowie knife were necessary equipment just as important his camera. A close look at his camera shows that it has two lens side-by-side which allowed it to take 3-D images called stereoview photos. In the 1880s every household had to have a collection of stereoviews in the parlor.

After an apprenticeship in his home state of Michigan, Haynes started his own photography studio in Moorhead, MN in December 1876 and then three years later relocated across the Red River to Fargo in what was then still the Dakota Territory. While in Moorhead he contracted with the Northern Pacific Railway to take photographs of the railroad's property. With shrewd foresight Haynes made a deal that committed the railway to buy a set number of prints made from each negative while still allowing him to retain the right to make private sales of the photos for himself. He also got free passage on any of the Northern Pacific trains.

In 1885 Frank Haynes purchased a special Pullman train car which he converted into a traveling photography studio. The Northern Pacific gave him a discount to transport the Haynes Palace Studio Car at a rate paid by the mile. In exchange Haynes produced more photos of Northern Pacific steam engines and rolling stock. In 1888 Haynes posted an advertisement in the Brainerd Dispatch listing the dates and places his photocar would appear. Between April 21 and May 10, he parked his studio in seven towns from Brainerd to Perham, Minnesota along approximately 80 miles of track. Presumably in the following month he continued in this way until he reached his home in Fargo.

Brainerd MN Dispatch
20 April 1888
The photocar interior was spacious and well appointed with comfortable chairs for customers. Examples of Haynes portraits and landscapes were hung on the walls and ceiling. A large stove kept the compartment warm during the colder months. And most important for a photographer there was ample natural light from windows, which could also be shaded if necessary, and kerosene lamps overhead for the evening hours. The car also included a living quarters at the other end.

Frank Jay Haynes Railroad Photo Car interior, 1886
Source: Wikipedia

By the end of the year 1888 Haynes kept that shiny brass stove well stoked as he was now in Helena, Montana, about 830 miles due west from Fargo. It was his fourth annual visit but this time the free carriage rides for his customers would not be provided.  However his best cabinet photos were still only $4.00 per dozen. And he promised all his work would be delivered in time for Christmas.

Helena MT Independent Record
13 December 1888

In 1880 Helena was quite a large town of 3,624 people, but over the next decade its population exploded by 1890 to 13,834. In contrast, Fargo's population in 1890 was only 5,664. The reason for this boom was GOLD. In 1864 prospectors discovered rich deposits of gold alongside a  creek they named "Last Chance Gulch". It proved to be so productive that by 1888 Helena could boast of over 50 millionaires, a concentration supposedly higher in that era that any other city in the world. That amount of wealth built a new modern city that required skilled workers and tradesmen, including photographers.  And all of them arrived on the Northern Pacific Railroad.

As the railway company extended its line westward, Helena also became a convenient base for explorers mapping the vast uncharted continent of the northwest. Between 1869 and 1871 there were a series of geologic expeditions to the Yellowstone River basin, about 250 miles southwest of Helena in the Wyoming Territory. The fantastic geothermal wonders, wildlife and natural beauty of the Yellowstone region led surveyors to propose protecting it from development. Incredibly, congress agreed and on March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a law creating the Yellowstone National Park, the first national park preserve in the United States and in the world.

Haynes brought his Palace Studio Car to Helena but never set up a permanent branch there, despite the obvious economic incentives. Instead in 1881, even before his first visit to the new Yellowstone National Park, he applied for a position as the official photographer of the park. Though such a job  did not exist, Haynes was granted a lease on a place in the park for a photography studio. The following year in 1882 the Northern Pacific finished a spur line to Livingston, Montana. But that town was still 55 miles from the north entrance to the park. A proper rail connection into the center of Yellowstone was not completed until 1908.

Yellowstone Falls, January 1887
by F. J. Haynes
Source: Wikipedia

Frank Jay Haynes, 1887
Winter Expedition to Yellowstone Park
Source: Wikipedia

In the winter of 1886-87  Frank Jay Haynes joined  one of the first wintertime expeditions into the Yellowstone. This harrowing adventure covered 200 miles and lasted 29 days. The party endured temperatures from −10 °F (−23 °C) to −52 °F (−47 °C) and nearly perished in a mountain snow storm. Despite these perilous conditions Haynes took 42 dramatic photos of the Yellowstone winter landscape, probably on glass plate negatives. These images and other photos he made of the park helped confirm its value as a national treasure.

This self-portrait from the 1887 expedition shows F. J. Haynes dressed head to toe in fur hide clothing and standing on a slope with two skis and a pole. I suspect it may be a studio photo taken in front of a clever  painted backdrop as the glare on the snow field behind him would have been very difficult to photograph using the methods of early photography. 

_ _ _

The dealer from whom I bought the photo of the mother and infant had another fine portrait also made by the Haynes studio. I could not resist buying even though it did not have the image of Haynes railroad photo car on the back.

This young girl
with her lace collar and pearl earring
is beautifully posed.
I have no reason to connect her
to the first cabinet photo
other than that the F. J. Haynes studio made both.
But I do know her photo was
"Taken when 11 years old."

The vignette effect  was a popular fashion
for cabinet photos in the 1890s.
The photographer's logo reads simply:

Haynes    St. Paul.

Just two years after his winter expedition to Yellowstone, Frank J. Haynes moved from Fargo, now officially in North Dakota as of its statehood in 1889, to Saint Paul, Minnesota. This may have been partly because the Northern Pacific Railway company was relocating its headquarters in St. Paul. But more likely it was because there were nearly 300,000 people living in St. Paul, the capital of Minnesota, and in Minneapolis, its twin city across the Mississippi River. There was money to be made for a talented photographer.

Haynes Palace Studio Photo Car, 1901
Source: Wikipedia
By the new century most small towns in America had at least one commercial photographer, and the new technology of film used by small box cameras allowed anyone to take their own photos, so traveling photo cars were no longer a profitable business. The 1888 price of $4 per dozen cabinet photos that Haynes charged was $2 per dozen with a Colorado photo car photographer in 1891. Just $1.49 a dozen from a Kansas railroad photo car studio in September 1892, reduced to only 99¢ by November.

Haynes maintained a regular route for his Palace Studio Photo Car from the 1880s until 1905 when he gave it up and presumably he sold it. His son, Jack Ellis Haynes, joined the photography studio in the 1890s, and in 1916 took over the business when poor health forced F. J. Haynes to retire. He died in 1921 in Saint Paul.

Over the years Frank J. Haynes produced several thousand portrait photographs and photos of railroad rolling stock. But it was probably his landscape photos of Yellowstone Park that he was most proud of.  After his first visit to the park in 1881 when he made over 200 photographs, he returned to Yellowstone, a 1,000 mile journey from St. Paul, every year until his death in 1921. His son Jack also succeeded him as the "official photographer of Yellowstone" and kept a branch of the family studio there until his own death in 1962.

At its height in the 1940s the Northern Pacific Railway operated a system of 6,889 miles of track from Lake Superior to Puget Sound. By 1970 it was not sustainable and merged into the Burlington Northern which later became the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. In the 19th century the railroad companies opened up the expansion of a new America, but in doing so they introduced a new landscape to photographers who were inspired to use a camera to describe this beautiful country. Few managed the success and artistry of Frank Jay Haynes, and certainly few other photographers were as instrumental at promoting the public's awareness of America's preeminent national park. As a testimony of their power his photos are still used to promote tourism in Yellowstone National Park.

Earlier this year I posted another story about a photographer entitled Mrs. McMullin Took Their Picture. I was intrigued by newspaper reports on the competition Mrs. McMullin and her small town business faced from itinerant railroad photo car studios. These photographers were especially prevalent in Kansas where she lived. A simple search in newspaper archives using the term "railroad 'photo car' ", brings up over 3,500 hits in Kansas newspapers, over 20 times more than the number for other states.

My collection has several cabinet cards produced by railroad photo car studios but photos of one of these special train cars are very rare. Though there were some traveling photographers in the East, it was primarily in the West and Midwest that they worked, unknowingly documenting America's 19th century people and culture. It was a short-lived business type. The first photo cars appear in newspaper advertising in around 1875 and the last about 1920. By the second decade of the 20th century most photo cars had gone to the scrap yard. That's why finding an illustration of the Haynes Palace Studio seemed important to write about. Acquiring two beautiful portraits were just an extra bonus.

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where every mother is proud.


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