Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wondering About More Women

Here are more photographs of Chicago women from the collection of Edna Tully McCaughey. Alas, no names for subjects, but at least identifying insignia are provided for the photographers—including two establishments favored by close family members.

This first photograph, however, is the only one in the collection to be taken by Arlington Studios at 289 Wabash Avenue. The subject does not bear a resemblance to any Tully family members that I am aware of. One guess would be the wife of a Tully, if there is even that close a relationship.

Of course, addresses have changed with the reworking of the city numbering system in the past century. But just for fun, checking with my trusty MapQuest as if that address for Arlington Studios remained the same, I found Wabash Avenue to run to the heart of downtown Chicago, close to the Art Institute—not quite the south Chicago neighborhood of most of the family at that time.

On the other hand, Wabash extends, intermittently, to the south, paralleling the Dan Ryan Expressway, and continuing even below 99th Street. A little check to determine address conversions will better help locate this studio, although it will still be a challenge, as there is no entry for the studio in Chicago Photographers, 1847-1900: As Listed in Chicago City Directories.

One studio that has been used, however, is that of Lindner. Doing business at 9222 Commercial Avenue, Charles W. Lindner’s studio served his community throughout the decade of the 1890s. Sometime during his tenure there, this next subject must have commemorated a special occasion in that rare light—or maybe even white—dress so unusual during that time period.

I am so tempted to think that this third item, from Jarmuth studio, might be a photo of the young Edna, herself, as the resemblance is there in some of the facial details. Edna did mention in her diary about getting her picture taken at Jarmuth for her sixteenth birthday. But the time frame would be incorrect—Edna was born in 1890—and the glasses that frame this woman’s eyes are not something Edna had worn in her other photographs. Perhaps a close family resemblance? A sister? It doesn’t appear to be the mother, Sarah Swanton Tully, at least judging by those photographs showing her in more mature stages of life. The only Tully relative that I was aware used glasses was Edna’s cousin Agnes Tully, and I am certain that this would not be a photograph of the young Agnes. Until I can find out more—which may be never—it will have to suffice as just another unnamed pretty face in this century-old collection.

1 comment:

  1. Putting 289 Wabash Avenue, Chicago into Google search brings back a couple of interesting items:

    J. A. Shepard. Portrait Copying House, 289 Wabash Avenue. Under the bright light of the nineteenth century, the arts, professions and sciences have advanced to such a degree of perfection that it seems hardly possible for future generations to improve upon them, and in no other thing has the progress of improvement left such indubitable marks as in the perfected processes at present in vogue in the copying and enlargement of pictures.

    The George P. Bent Piano Company was established in Louisville, Kentucky in 1878 as an organ manufacturer. In 1889 they moved to a larger facility at 289 Wabash Avenue, Chicago, Illinois where they made their first piano which they named the "CROWN" model.


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