Chasing the First Congregational Church, Baltimore

I seem to be drawn to Eutaw Place. When I purchased this steroview by Baltimore photographer and view publisher William M. Chase, I didn’t know the church it depicts, the First Congregational Church of Baltimore, was once located there, between Hoffman and Dolphin streets.

As far as I have been able to determine, the building no longer exists. The church was organized in 1865 and an edifice built at this location in 1866 (Scharf, History of Baltimore City and County, 552). Designed by architect Thomas C. Kennedy, the First Congregational Church building shown here was dedicated on 24 October 1882.

A detailed description in the Sun coverage of the dedication made it possible to identify the church building, characterized by an unusual octagonal center, as that designed by Kennedy:

“The building is of Falls road stone, with red sandstone trimmings. The centre and two sides have high gables, with large windows, filled with colored glass. The auditorium is octagon in shape, 60 feet each way. The entrance vestibules, minister’s study and organ chamber occupy the alternate angles of the octagon, from which they are separated by bold and lofty arches.  The pulpit platform fills a recessed chancel next the chapel, leaving the entire area of the octagon for the congregation. The floor has a gradual incline towards the pulpit, from which the aisles radiate.  The pews are arranged in circles with a seating capacity of 325. The open timber roof is [unreadable] with yellow pine. In the centre of the roof is a ventilator opening to the apex of the roof, through which impure air may be drawn off. Pure air is admitted by vertical tubes” (Baltimore Sun, 25 October 1882).

In 1900, this congregation united with the Associate Reformed Church to become the Associate Congregational Church of Baltimore, which had built a Charles E. Carson-designed church at 24 W. Preston Street (now owned by a Greek Orthodox congregation).

A large part of this block of N. Eutaw is now occupied by a number of ca. 1960s Maryland state office buildings.

Dr. James Stevens Chaplain of Trappe

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Because of its revenue stamp, we can be confident this carte de visite photograph of Dr. James Stevens Chaplain (1827-1908), of Trappe, Talbot County, Md., was taken between 1864 and 1866  in the studio of Edward H. Anderson, Easton, Md..

In Talbot County, the family name of Chaplain, earlier spelled Chapline or Chaplin, goes all the way back to 1660, when Francis Chaplin of Suffolk County, England, arrived and purchased about 7,000 acres in Bolingbroke Hundred.

This photograph was one of several offered at auction recently, including Alexander Chaplain, who served in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1860.

James Chaplain graduated from the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1854, returned to Trappe, married Evalina Kemp, daughter of Trappe physician Samuel Kemp, and settled down to practice medicine.

According to one profile, Dr. Chaplain involved himself in the public affairs of Talbot County, serving on the Trappe Board of Town Commissioners, the Trappe Library Association Board of Directors, and as president of the Trappe Savings Bank. He was a Mason and a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.

Edward H. Anderson, in whose studio this photograph was taken, was born about 1832 in Maryland. He learned the jeweller’s and watchmaker’s trade in Baltimore as an apprentice to jeweller Joseph Walter.

Anderson seems to have been something of an inventor as well. He and a James H. Anderson, MD, registered a patent in the 1860s for an improvement in cultivators, and with another collaborator named Hopkins, an improvement in “vapor burners.” It was not uncommon for jewellers and other mechanical craftsmen to engage in photography as a side business.

Hebbel Young Marrieds

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I was fortunate to acquire two cabinet card photographs of the same young couple, both taken at the Julius Hebbel Studio on North Gay Street ca. 1896-1905.

Here, a young married couple is portrayed with a vignetted bust pose in which the figures nearly fill the horizontal frame. The post just previous displays and discusses this couple’s full-length standing wedding portrait.

According to clothing historian Joan Severa, the balloon-like leg o’mutton sleeve reached its apogee and then began to deflate ca. 1895-1896. The sleeves on this young matron’s white dress appear, then, to be post-1896: still puffed at the shoulder, with elaborate lace trimmings on shoulder and bodice.

While hard to discern because of fading, the dress may have a “bertha” collar, which Severa defines as “a deep fall of lace or silk, usually gathered, of equal length all around and set on with the top edge of the shoulder-line” (Dressed for the Photographer, 541).

Her hairstyle, pulled tightly back with soft short bangs, was going out of fashion by 1896, says Severa. Bangs were beginning to be “flattened down from a central part into waves along the temples” (Dressed for the photographer, 470).

The couple chose the same card mount for this later photograph as for their wedding portrait: black, with gold serrated edges and gilt lettering, ca. 1890-1900.

If you compare the tone of the two prints, this one appears much less golden-hued than their wedding portrait. Hebbel may have chosen the newer, faster-exposing dry gelatin bromide plate for this photograph, which was widely available by 1895.

The back of the card mount features advertising that fills the entire space. Its Beaux Arts frame of living branches encloses a tableau of trailing morning glories, a camera accompanied by an artist’s palette, and examples of the photographer’s work. This common visual trope associated the photographic craft with the fine arts and suggested the camera’s superior capacity to capture nature.

Hebbel Newlyweds

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“It is the sleeve and its changes,” writes clothing historian Joan Severa, “that gives the best dating tool for the nineties” (Dressed for the Photographer, 458). This bride’s leg o’mutton sleeves date the photograph to ca. 1895-1900. If you look closely, the sleeve appears to have a double puff and to end just below the elbow in a loose gathered lace cuff.

White for wedding dresses, pioneered by Queen Victoria’s 1840 wedding gown, had become traditional by the early 1890s.

The groom wears a morning or cutaway coat, typical fashionable formal day-wear for Victorian men.

The black  mount, with its gold serrated edges and relatively elaborate advertising on the back, was in wide use between 1890 and 1899.

The address indicates that the photographer occupied two spaces, 409 and 411 North Gay Street. According to his obituary, Julius Hebbel (1853-1905) owned two studio spaces on North Gay Street at the time of his death.

The term “instantaneous,” according to Lou W. McCulloch, referred in cabinet card photography to “short durations of exposure.”  Faster exposure times became possible with the invention of the gelatin-bromide dry plate by George Eastman in 1881.

The sepia tone of this photo suggests, however, that Hebbel was still using wet-plate process albumen paper and washing it chloride of gold. McCulloch says both processes were in use up to about 1895 (Card Photographs, A Guide to Their History and Value, 47.)

Rev. Richard Henry Barnes Mitchell

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The full-length carte de visite portrait of  Protestant Episcopal minister Rev. Richard Henry Barnes Mitchell (1803-1869) was taken at the studio of Palmer Lenfield Perkins (1824-1900), 207 Baltimore Street.

Mitchell was born in Kent County, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, son of Capt. John Mitchell, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, and Catharine Barnes Mitchell.

References to Rev. Mitchell in records of the Protestant Episcopal Church indicate that in his early years as a minister, he served a parish in Virginia, and William and Mary (Ridge) Parish in St. Marys County, Maryland. He spent many years as the rector of Christ Church in Bordentown, New Jersey. At the time of his death, he was rector at Trinity Church, Elkton, Maryland.

Sources are contradictory regarding the number of Mitchell’s marriages. I’ve found three wives, and this agrees with some genealogical sources, but there is a fourth listed  on the back of one of the cartes de visite pictured above.

His will, posted on by a family researcher, mentions a fourth wife, Margaret S., and this must be the “Miss Wirt of Elkton Md.” mentioned on the back of the carte de visite.

He had eight children with his first wife, Lucinda Compton, and three more sons with his second wife, Susan Binney.  Among his sons, Walter Alexander Mitchell and Whittingham Doane Mitchell both became Episcopal ministers; Andrew R. Mitchell became a physician and settled in Wilmington, Delaware.

So far, I have only located the graves of Rev. Walter A. Mitchell and his wife, Susan Thomas Mitchell, are buried in the cemetery of All Faith Episcopal Church, Mechanicsville, St. Mary’s County, Md.

And now, to the photographer, Palmer Lenfield Perkins. Like Rev. Mitchell, Perkins was of the Methodist Episcopal persuasion. Perkins was born in Beverly, Burlington Co., New Jersey. Originally he studied for the ministry at Prnceton University, but left without taking a degree. In 1850, he opened a daguerreotype gallery at North and Baltimore and pursued the photography business at various locations on Baltimore Street until his retirement sometime between 1880 and 1890.

After his death, his son, Harry Lenfield Perkins, carried on the business into the early 1900s.

Perkins had, as the Sun put it, “at an early age, manifested a fondness for military organization.” “Colonel” Perkins, as he styled himself, helped organize the Fourth Regiment of the Maryland National Guard, one of the two regiments that participated in the infamous acts of violence against striking B & O railroad workers in 1877.

Perkins ran unsuccessfully  for Congress as a Prohibition Party candidate in 1890.

He was an active member of Ascension M. E. Church in Baltimore. You can see the church as it appeared in the early 1870s in a Chase stereoview .

Sailor from the USS Matchless, Hebbel Studio

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This cabinet card photograph portrait of a sailor from the USS Matchless was taken at the Julius Hebbel Studio at 409 and 411 North Gay Street, Baltimore, ca. 1890-1900.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Matchless was a schooner assigned to the US Coast and Geodetic Survey from 1885-1919. Built in 1859 at Key West, Florida, the Matchless was refitted in 1895.

NOAA has documented the Matchless’  role in several emergencies on land and sea.

Given when it was built, the schooner was probably active in the Union Navy during the Civil War. I’ve found one scholarly reference to the Matchless‘ role in the Union occupation of Ft. Myers, Florida in 1864 (Solomon, “Southern Extremities: The Significance of Ft. Myers in the Civil War,” The Florida Historical Quarterly, 72:2, Oct 1993, 129-152). If you know more about this ship’s history, leave us a comment.

Like many Hebbel portraits, this photograph makes use of one of the studio’s elaborate wickerwork chairs. The mount’s serrated edges and relatively elaborate advertising on the reverse are typical of the 1890s.

Although difficult to discern in this digital image, the photograph has been subjected to the “cameo” process, in which a press was employed to create a raised oval surface.  A number of specialized cameo presses with interchangeable dies were marketed to photographers from 1868 on (Darrah, Cartes de Visite in Nineteenth Century Photography, 190). The surface has also been varnished to create a highly smooth and polished effect.

About a Boot

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This carte de visite photograph of a single boot was taken at the studio of William Foss Shorey. Shorey’s studio is known to have been  located at 105 W. Baltimore Street during the late 1860s.

Why a boot? The most likely explanation is that a boot-maker wished to advertise the quality of his wares.

This boot resembles the “Enlisted Men’s Boot” now handcrafted by Robert Land Footwear for the Civil War reenactment market.

I have not been able to make sense of the faint lettering at the bottom front and on the reverse.

“Very truly yours Wm. E. Loane”

This simple, bust vignette cabinet card portrait of a handsome, clear-eyed young man  was taken at the studio of Norval H. Busey (1845-1928), Charles and Fayette streets.

After I acquired this photograph, labeled “Very truly yours, Wm. E. Loane, 9.29.82,” I attempted to trace the sitter.

I found a William E. Loane, born about 1858 , son of builder Harry E. Loane, living in Baltimore in 1880.  I traced the family back to 1860 Baltimore.

So far, not unusual. Things got interesting when I spotted a W. E. Loane in the 1885 census of Colorado, born about 1858 in Baltimore, listed as a miner in Clear Creek County.

William E. Loane turned up again as one of the nine victims of the Anna Lee mine cave-in that occurred near Cripple Creek, Colorado, on 4 January 1896.

According to the account I found transcribed on the web, Loane had recently been hired by the Portland Company to be mine foreman. He was said to have been a well-known resident of Aspen, about 150 miles northwest of Cripple Creek, and to have been married, but the name of his wife is not mentioned. Clear Creek County’s Marriage License Index, however, contains a record of a license issued in 1886 for the marriage of William E. Loane, aged 28 to Ida F. Blinn, aged 30.

Loane’s body was recovered and he was buried at Fairmont Cemetery in Denver on 14 January 1896.  A photograph of his grave is posted on

The Denver Public Library has many photos of Colorado mining, including this  ca. 1895 photograph of Battle Mountain, outside Cripple Creek, where the Anna Lee mine was located, and an excellent map showing locations of all the mines in the Cripple Creek district.

A 19th Century Baltimore Boxer

This cabinet card was produced by photographer Mrs. Dora Jose Russell, wife of photographer William C. Russell, between 1894 and 1901.

William C. Russell (1843-1900) was born near Chadd’s Ferry, Delaware County, Pennsylvania. According to his obituary, Russell was well known as a landscape photographer, who, “while in the Baltimore and Ohio service . . . took many thousands of photographs of interesting scenery along the road.”

Several years before his death, Russell retired from the railroad and opened a studio at 5 North Charles Street. Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers lists two addresses for his studio: 151 W. Fayette (1886) and 106 N. Charles (1887).

Kelbaugh’s directory may be incomplete.

Wilson’s Photographic Magazine for January  1890 briefly notes that Russell and Charles Quartley had dissolved their partnership and that Russell continued busines at 5 North Charles.

Both the Baltimore Sun article and Kelbaugh’s directory are in agreement on the fact that Russell sold his studio after only a few years, and that his wife, Dora, “soon afterward opened a gallery at 109 West Lexington street.”

Kelbaugh dates Mrs. Russell’s studio at this location to 1894-1901, and this is the period during which this cabinet card photograph was taken. She is listed as Mrs. William C. Russell, photographer at 109 W. Lexington, in Polk’s Baltimore directory for 1893-1894.

As for the figure itself, the gentleman’s pose is a conventional one for boxers’ portraits. What seems odd is his outfit. He is apparently wearing an improvised pair of “shorts” made from a folded length of fabric, perhaps pinned at the back.

In short, a diaper.

Stereoview of the Eutaw House by William M. Chase

William M. Chase published this stereoview of the Eutaw House, a large and fashionable hotel built on the northwest corner of Eutaw and Baltimore streets between 1832 and 1835 by William Hussey.

According to Scharf’s History of Baltimore City and County, the brick Eutaw House covered over 19,000 square feet. The architect was Samuel Harris; the builders John and Valentine Dushane. Robert Garrett & Sons acquired the hotel at auction in 1845 for $58,500, excluding furnishings.

Carleton Jones wrote in his 1982 book Lost Baltimore Landmarks that the Eutaw House was “the great rival in its day of Barnum’s City Hotel.” The 1866  travel guide A Stranger in Baltimore told sojourners the Eutaw was “celebrated as one of the best hotels in the country.”

The drawing that appears in this advertisement for the hotel in Howard’s 1873 The Monumental City depicts the structure with two cupolas and several broad, low-pitched decorative gables facing both Eutaw and Baltimore streets instead of the small Federal-style garret windows seen in this stereoview. Were these decorative gables  a product of a post-bellum face-lift?

An advertisement for William E. Wood & Company, purveyors of stoves and heaters, appears in the same volume.

The publication history of The Monumental City creates complications for dating the photograph. The edition digitized for Google Books has an 1873 date of publication, but an 1878 copyright notice. The advertisement for the Eutaw House gives the manager’s name as C. S. Wood. According to Scharf’s 1881 History, also on Google Books, Wood took on the management of the hotel in 1880.

Google’s Monumental City is a digital version of a copy held by the Bodleian Library. B & O Railroad President, banker and philanthropist John Work Garrett inscribed this copy to an English M.P., John Pender, Esq. Pender was a member of Parliament 1862-1866, 1872-1885, and 1892-1896; Garrett died in 1884. A city booster, Garrett apparently used the book to promote Baltimore. Howard’s volume may have gone through multiple unrecorded printings, but this copy had to have been produced ca. 1880.

The presence of horse-drawn omnibuses indicates the photograph was taken before 1890, when electric trolleys replaced the horse-cars; following William Darrah’s dating, the yellow, flat mount suggests  this stereoview was published between 1862 and 1876.

Do you know additional details about either the date of publication of this stereoview or the date of the exterior alteration of Eutaw House? If so, leave a comment.