Tuesday, January 2, 2018
Wrapping up Some Unfinished Business
While it is true that I have several photographic treasures gotten during that recent trip up to the California foothills—think Gold Rush territory—those little gems will have to wait until I attend to some unfinished business from a past excursion. You see, along with that Irish photo album and the portrait of the Kansas salesman, I had purchased a third photograph from that other northern California antique store a few years back. That photograph had as its two subjects a man and a woman.
It's about time this couple gets their moment of discovery here. So, as excited as I am to review all the cache from that recent outing, those pictures will simply have to wait until we attend to this unfinished business.
While I am still hot in pursuit of the family tree of this week's subjects, there are a few things I can share about this latest photograph. For one thing, the format is that of a cabinet card—well, sort of. Unlike the typical cabinet card, the dimensions for this card measure about six inches by eight inches.
While the photo itself is well preserved, the border—a nondescript brownish gray—seems to have endured a couple water stains, one diagonally placed across each of the lower corners of the card. The difficulty with that awkward placement means that the only identification for the photographer—and thus, the location of the studio—was rendered even less readable than its understated, embossed appearance would normally have allowed.
And you know my eyes don't take kindly to treatment like that.
Aided by a magnifying glass in the brightest light I could muster, I thought I saw the barest outline of a line that said—maybe—"Louisville, Ky." I'll buy that—mainly because I don't have much of an option.
While lack of a location may seem frustrating, there are other useful parts to the equation in figuring out just who the couple in this photograph might have been. One of those variables in such a search—the biggest part, I think you'd agree—would be provision of the subjects' names. In this case, the photo provides us the gift of full names for both the husband and the wife (yes, including her maiden name).
The down side is that the surname is rather common: Hopkins. And the man's given name—William—didn't provide much help.
Perhaps now you can see why I was hoping to narrow the search down to a more reasonable scope by means of a specific city.
Regardless of that slight damage to the cabinet card's imprint, it turns out there is enough of a hint provided through those three variables to start us on our hunt. Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the photograph and examine some of the preliminary discoveries about this couple from over one hundred years ago. Hopefully, by the time we are done, we'll see another rescued photograph off on its journey back home to family.