As I mentioned in a previous post, I have acquired an old photo album containing many pictures from the late 1800s. I’m going through the album to catalog the photos with as much information as can be gleaned from them. My hope is to return the album and photos to the descendants of those pictured.
A little background on the album: the owner of the store where I purchased the album was able to tell me the name of the family to which the album belonged and that they hailed from St. Michaels, Maryland. The majority of the pictures in the album appear to have been taken in Connecticut and New York, however. The front of the album indicates that it contains friends of the family who owned the album (so not necessarily their own relatives). Many of the photos in the album are labeled and several of the subjects share the same surname. I hope this means that the subjects in the album are related and that I might be able to return the album to their descendants.
Here is photo #1, a cabinet card:
The photo is not labeled with the name of the individual pictured. In fact, there’s nothing on the back at all. All that is known is the name and address of the photographer: Osborne at 197 Main Street in Danbury, Connecticut. Given what I know of photos, I would date this somewhere between 1880 and 1900, leaning toward the earlier end of that range.
Photo #2 is the same type of photo and was taken by the same photographer. It also is unlabeled:
Assuming that these two photos are taken at the same time and that these are relatives, I have a theory. He is wearing a white bow tie, though his jacket is pretty plain. She is wearing quite an elaborate dress. I wonder if these are wedding portraits.
Danbury is in Fairfield County, Connecticut. I’m making a note of this in case I find that others in the album are from the same area. Wikipedia happens to have a 1907 postcard view of Danbury’s Main Street.
In the middle of the photographer’s imprint at the bottom of the card are the initials E, A and O. I was able to tell from other photos in the album that the photographer was E. A. Osborne.
I have not yet had luck finding the photographer in various online resources. In searches on Ancestry, I found an E. Arthur Osborne living in Danbury in 1900 in the census, but he was a carriage blacksmith. There was an Elizabeth A. Osborne at 7 years old in the 1860 census. An Ernestine A. Osborne with no occupation listed appears in the 1930 census.
Danbury directories on Ancestry revealed no photographers by the last name Osborne, but the first year for which they were available was 1918. In searching the census on Ancestry, I noted that many people in Danbury were employed in the hat manufacturing business around the turn of the 20th century. Similar searches on Footnote and FamilySearch turned up no new angles.
UPDATE (3/8/2011): Found him!