Friday, September 16, 2011

Photographic History

I had a little fun last night. Actually, I was desperately seeking a way out of a problem with some of these Tully family photos, and stumbled upon a directory that might turn out to be somewhat helpful. Helpful, that is, until the turn of the century. That century.

I’ve been emailing with the historian for the organization now known as the National Catholic Society of Foresters, seeking to find any archived information on Mrs. Thomas (Johanna) Sullivan. Johanna was the stately woman discussed in two recent posts.

Desperate to find another way to identify more information on Mrs. Sullivan, I Googled the studio where the Sullivans’ photograph was taken, Fein and Schnabel. I hardly expected to locate such a serendipitous find as I did, but here it is: an online reprint of the Chicago Historical Society’s survey, “Chicago Photographers 1847 Through 1900, as Listed in Chicago City Directories.”

Et voilĂ ! Instant confirmation of possible dates of pictures—well, at least until 1900.

So I played around with this little toy. A little slow on the uptake it might be (I did experience some website apologies on some of my online forays there), but I still say it’s a handy little reference spot.

So, take a test drive with me.

Remember the distinguished gentleman in the unidentified uniform from yesterday? In this directory, I found that the studio that did his portrait was actually owned by Otto C. Jarmuth, who originally did business at 9222 Commercial Avenue in Chicago. That’s according to this website, which found photographer Otto C. Jarmuth listed in Chicago’s city directories, beginning in 1895. By 1897, Otto had moved his business down the street to 9130 Commercial Avenue, renaming the business, “Jarmuth Studio.” The listing continued there through the end date of the report, 1900.

How about those photographs of William and Sarah Tully’s three sons? The family’s preferred photographer seemed to be Lindner, found in this directory under Charles W. Lindner at 9222 Commercial, listed in Chicago directories from 1890 onward, with the exception of 1895. Lindner was also the photographer for the young child pictured above. A handwritten note by the studio on the reverse divulged the location of the studio's customer: “Mrs. Mary Tulley, 150 92nd Street.” Perhaps now, given the parameters of the dates plus the client’s address, I can figure out whose picture that is.

And what about that child posing with hands to mouth? The von Dieck studio, listed on the photograph at 92nd Street and Ontario Avenue, shows in the Chicago directory at that address starting in 1892.

The directory doesn’t tell me everything I’d like to know about these photographs, but this online find is a keeper—at least it gives me a guide as to time frames for the many unidentified Chicago photographs whose subjects I am now pursuing.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Is there anything specific you are looking for? I've lost the thread mentally.. Getting old.. I guess...


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...