Hubert Slifer Smith at Work and Leisure

It’s unusual to find two photographs of the same individual–and even more unusual to find an “occupational” photo. So I was very excited when I found these two for sale, both idenfied in ink on the reverse as “Hubert Smith.”

The first, taken at Academy Studio, Cumberland, Maryland, shows Hubert dressed as a baker, holding one of the implements of his trade.

It wasn’t hard to locate a Hubert Slifer Smith (1885-1949) occupation baker, in the census records for Cumberland.

Born in Boonsboro, Washington County, Maryland to Omar S. Smith and Emma F. Houpt, Hubert Smith (1885-1949) married Scottish immigrant Elizabeth Walker. He and Elizabeth lived in Cumberland, where Hubert worked as a baker.

In 1917, when he registered for the draft, he was working for John M. Streett.

Streett had two bakeries, one in Frostburg, and one in Cumberland, at 80 Centre Street and later at 200-204 Centre Street. I’ve found adversisements in trade publications for Streett’s Famous Mother’s Bread; he also called his business Pure Food Bakery. An undated photograph in the Herman and Stacia Miller Collection shows Streett’s bakery with the proprietor and his workers standing out front.

Streett boasted about the cleanliness of his establishment, a feature dwelt upon in the Baker’s Review of 1915. “Leading grocers throughout Cumberland and ‘up the creek’ sell and recommend Streett’s Mother’s Bread,” said an ad in The Catholic Red Book of Western Maryland.

In the first photo, the skinny, slope-shouldered youth, almost lost in his uniform, wears an elaborate ribbon on his gleaming white shirt, but I haven’t been able to make out what it says. My best guess for the occasion of the portrait is one of Cumberland’s Labor Day parades, in which groups of tradesmen and craftsmen marched, dressed in the uniforms of their occupations.

The elaborate pin with a ribbon and badge resembles  old lodge badges of the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows that I’ve seen.

Confident manhood replaces callow youth in the portrait of Hubert Smith taken at the McCune Studio in Hagerstown, Maryland. Smith proudly shows off his dress clothes, including a top coat, gloves, and a natty homberg hat.

The McCune Studio, like the Academy Studio, isn’t listed in Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900. But Charles Brewer McCune (1869-1953) is memorialized on findagrave.com with his obituary and a photograph of his grave at Rose Hill Cemetery, Hagerstown. According to that obituary, McCune practiced professional photography in Hagerstown for 35 years.

Both of these cabinet cards are non-standard sizes. The earlier card  mount measures 3″ x 6″  and the later McCune card is 5″ x 8″ –perhaps chosen to emphasize his lanky build. Both mounts, with their neutral colors and understated blind-embossed advertising marks reflect the more refined card portrait style of the early 1900s.

The Smiths’ lives were marked by the singular tragedy of deaths of their only child and grandchild.

Doris E. Smith (b. 1909, Cumberland, Md.) married handsome US Naval Academy graduate Robert Allen Joseph English (1899-1969), and they had a daughter, Roberta, in 1943.

Three years later, with her husband in Europe on extended duty with General Eisenhower’s staff, Doris killed herself and her daughter using gas from the oven in their Arlington, Virginia home.

“With humor and distinction”: Judge John Hunt Hendrickson

Cabinet card photograph of John Hunt Hendrickson by Streck S. Wilson, Westminster, Md.Young John Hunt Hendrickson (1887-1951) had this portrait taken while at school at Western Maryland College, in Westminster, Carroll Co. Md.

The operator at Sereck Shalecross Wilson’s (1870-1943) Westminster studio placed the solemn youth against a soft background and lit him from the right to throw his long, straight nose, clear pale skin and wide, expressive mouth into relief.

The reverse of the cream card mount with blind embossed lion advertising mark bears an inscription and the year 1907, making Hendrickson about 20 at the time of this photograph.

The understated background and restrained, oversized card mount reflect the period’s move away from the visual excesses of the 1880s and 1890s. Wilson  took many photographs for Western Maryland College year books; examples can be found in the digital archives of Western Maryland College. The Carroll County Times also has a few of his portraits on its website.

Hendrickson earned a BA and was class valedictorian, speaking on “Reason in Leadership.”

After graduation, his father, John David Hendreickson, prosperous owner of The Model, a dry goods store in Frederick, sent him to Harvard Law School.

At Harvard, he told a Portland, Oregon reporter in 1947, not knowing where he would end up locating, he took very little law, and soaked up all the operas,  plays, lectures and concerts that he could.

With a poor showing at law school, Hendrickson decided to go  west. He went to Portland, Oregon, where his first job was with the firm Veazie & Veazie, run by Oregon natives Arthur Lyle Veazie (1868-1941) and J. Clarence Veazie, whose forebears, the Lyles, Scotts and Veazies, and settled in Oregon in the 1840s, ’50s and ’60s.

Hendrickson had deep roots in Frederick County, Maryland. His great-grandfather, weaver and farmer John Hendrickson (1801-1982), was born in the Johnsville district of that county.

One strong thread of the family’s story is the move from country to town, from farm labor to store owner to educated professional.

Judge Hendrickson’s father was brought up to hard farm work, but left that life to become a clerk in a store at the age of 16.

Then, after having bought the store and made it one of the most successful in Frederick, J. D. Hendrickson sent two of his three  sons to college and took the third, Russell Ames Hendrickson (1891-1968), into his business.

J. D. Hendrickson’s  third son, Caroll Henshaw Hendrickson (1892-1971), attended Cornell University and ultimately joined his brother Russell in the family firm.

In Portland, John Hunt Hendrickson found his calling as a legal educator and a judge. He began teaching commercial law  to bankers in 1913, then became an instructor and eventually dean of Northwestern College of Law until 1943. He was elected a district court judge in 1926 and held that position with the high respect of his peers until, wheelchair-bound from multiple schlerosis, he retired from the bench in 1947.

The circa 1820 brick and stone home where he grew up, at 119 West Second Street, in Frederick, still stands, as does the building where his father and then his brothers operated what became Hendrickson’s Department Store until the 1970s.

Judge Hendrickson died on 28 June 1951. He is most likely entombed with his wife, Winifred Birrell Hendrickson, at Riverview Abbey Mausoleum and Crematory, Portland, Oregon.

The home where they brought up their two sons, Ames Birrell Hendrickson and John H. Hendrickson Jr., stands very much the same at 2821 South West Upper Drive.

The Frederick County Historical Society has a number of early Hendrickson family photos on display on its website.

Sources:

Bypath Biographies: J. Hunt Hendrickson, by Elizabeth Salway Ryan, Portland Oregonian, 22 June 1947

History of Frederick County, Maryland, Volume One, by Thomas John Chew Williams and Folger McKinsey, originally published in Frederick, Maryland, 1910

Commencements 1901-1920, McDaniel College Digital Archives

The Strange Case of James Burnite SeBastian, DDS

Without the full story, you have to read between the lines, and this cabinet card photograph inscribed “Yours, J. B. SeBastian” offered lots of room to do just that.

The portrait, taken at the 17 W. Lexington Street studio of William Ashman (1863-1902), displays all the typical characteristics of a post-1900 card photograph: Oversized, simple black textured mount, understated advertising mark, plain background uncluttered by scenic backdrop or papier mache rocks and balustrades.

It didn’t take me long to figure out that I’d found yet another graduate of the University of Maryland Dental Department.

He was listed among the 1902 graduates of the program in the commencement announcement published in the journal Dental Cosmos. I quickly found census and directory listings in Baltimore from 1903 on for a James Burnite Sebastian, dentist, born in Delaware about 1875.

He had an undistinguished career as a dentist, eventually buying a two-story, two-bay row house at 3521 Greenmount Avenue, just east of Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus, in a now-faded neighborhood called Waverly. The ca. 1920 house stands today, virtually unchanged.

Dr. Sebastian served in the US Army Dental Corps Reserves. In these records, his origin was listed as Wilmington, Delaware, born 18 October 1875. His wife, Caroline, applied in 1947 for an Army-provided headstone in Lorraine Park Cemetery, Baltimore, on the basis of his service, using this date of birth.

Things became odder from there, however.

I couldn’t find anything on Dr. Sebastian earlier than 1902.

After trying a number of different possible spellings and variations, I found the surname Bastian. Thanks to the efforts of a family historian on Ancestry.com, I then found an obituary for a Delaware farmer named George M. Bastian (1832-1909) that listed a son, a Baltimore dentist named James Burnite Bastian.

But what the what??

James Burnite Bastian, or J. Burnite Bastian, was already three years old in the 1870 census–not in Wilmington, Delaware, but near a small rural peach-growing and peach-packing town named Felton, in Kent County, Delaware. He was born a good seven or eight years earlier than he’d claimed.

This same portrait, under the name James B. Bastian, appears on page 133 in the 1902 year book for the professional schools of the University of Maryland, Bones, Molars and Briefs.

Why the name change? And why fudge his age–something more usual with women of the period?

His family was a perfectly respectable one: farmer George M. Bastian rated a sketch of his life and family history in volume two of the Biographical and Genealogical History of the State of Delaware.

This history suggested a clue to James’ change of surname. The sketch mentioned that the family traced its roots to a vague “Count Sebastian” who had fled some sort of unspecified royal persecution in the 18th century.

They had settled in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. George M. Bastian worked as a carpenter in Tioga County, Pa., eventually saving enough to buy a small farm in Delaware, where he and his wife, Rachel (Brion) Bastian (1836-1919), raised 10 children. George and Rachel Bastian are buried in Hopkins Cemetery, Felton, Delaware.

So James had reinvented himself in the city as a younger man with the legendary family surname, telling his classmates that he was 25 when in fact he was about 32 years old at the time he graduated from dental school. His signature on the back of this portrait connects the two parts of the surname with a capital “s” and a capital “b,” suggesting the self-consciousness of the change.

Vanity, thy name is SeBastian.