I like history…especially Victorian history. But, the history I like best is the personal stuff. Not which politician signed which treaty or declaration of war but what those events meant to the people in their daily grind. That’s what I like about cabinet cards. They are actual photos of real people. These very people touched these photos at one time. They decided if they hated that photo of themselves or loved them. They decided how many copies to buy and to whom they’d give them to. My next flea market cabinet card was a gift from an aunt and uncle.
Judging by her clothes I’d say this photo was done around 1900-10. Just a slight pigeon front to that gown wouldn’t you say. I didn’t include this in the photo but on the bottom right hand side of the card is the photographers name and location J. H. Hopkins of St. Thomas Ontario. I did a google search of him and found him fairly quickly.
If you want to read his obit click on the link below.
Mr. Hopkins started in the photography business when he was 14 years old, first as an apprentice then as a partner. In 1883 he took over the business continuing until his retirement in 1917. The shop was at the corner of Talbot and Elgin in St. Thomas Ontario. There is a sub sandwich store and cash advance business there now.
The real interesting thing is what was on the back of the card…
It took some time but I found this link http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/tom-stout/montana-its-story-and-biography-a-history-of-aboriginal-and-territorial-montan-uot/page-93-montana-its-story-and-biography-a-history-of-aboriginal-and-territorial-montan-uot.shtml
You have to scroll down a little if you want to read about this Mr. Bell. The condensed version of this link is that a John K Bell was born in County Donegal, Ireland, June 6. 1867. On 22 Nov 1899, in St. Thomas, Ontario, John Bell married Miss Margaret Courtenay, who was born in 1877, Belfast, IR. John was a sheep farmer and later a banker in Saco MT and he went to St Thomas to get married. John and Margaret Bell had no children. There were no pictures for me to compare my card with. But, the fellow in my card could be 32 and the lady could be 22. The census’ from St. Thomas around that time did not show a John Bell…That would make sense if they moved to the states where John was from. So how did my card end up where I live? If this is the same people then both John and Margaret had family living in a few places in Canada. The way the card is labeled (with Margaret’s name first) I’d guess it was sent to her family.
If someone from the Bell family stumbles across this photograph and can confirm that this the correct John and Margaret Bell I’d love to hear from them! I’d even be willing to get it back into the hands of the family where it belongs!