Busey Beginning: “Mr. Packard, School Teacher in Liberty Md”

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According to Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers,Virginia-born artist and photogapher Norval Hamilton Busey (1845-1928) opened his first independent gallery and studio in York, Pennsylvania in 1867. York Area Photographers 1840-1997 (spelling his name “Norvel Bushey”) places him in York 1868-1869, after which Busey moved on to Baltimore.

Busey was one of a number of photographers who tenanted the studio in  “Rupp’s Building,” or the Rupp Building, on York’s main square, between 1847 and 1900 (York Area Photographers 1840-1997).

He was the son of a Methodist minister, the Rev. Thomas H. Busey. Rev. Busey died when Norval was about 11, so he was raised by his mother, Sarah Neely McLanahan Busey.

Norval married Miss Emma V. Laley, the daughter of a Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia armory worker,  in 1866, and they had four children: Blanche, Rosamund, Ina, and Norval Hamilton Busey Jr.

Sometime between 1880 and 1900 Busey moved his family to Manhattan, where he returned to his first love, drawing and painting, and opened an art gallery.

This conventional, stiff carte de visite portrait of a gentleman identified as “Mr. Packard, school teacher in Liberty Md.,” is decidedly journeyman’s work. The stereotypical props of 1860s card portraits are all there: the chair and table, drapery, and simple, unembellished background were all standard for the time.

Busey has chosen an awkard pose, not quite bust, not quite full-length, and his use of light and shadow is not as skillful as it would become in his Baltimore work.

The photographer has tried to indicate Packard’s profession by giving him a pen, paper and inkwell, but the subject’s somewhat blank stare robs the pose of naturalness.

So who was “Mr. Packard”? There was a Benjamin F. Packard born 1826 in New York, living in Fredericktown in 1850, occcupation school teacher, who fits the bill. Liberty was in Frederick County.

In 1910, a Benjamin Packard lived with his sister Helen (1829-1908) and brother-in-law, writer, attorney and judge John Gibson (1829-1890). Gibson was the author/editor of an oft-referenced 1886 History of York County, Pennsylvania.

The Gibsons and Benjamin F. Packard (1836-1905) are buried in Prospect Hill Cemetery, York, Penn.

Three Portraits of Emma Albrecht

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When I purchased a lot of photographs from Baltimore, I found that three of them were portraits of the same young woman, Emma Albrecht. All were taken between 1885 and 1891.

The earliest (top left),  a full-length portrait taken at the Baltimore Photographic Company, dates to ca. 1885. The photographer posed her seated, holding a book, against the sort of faux-sylvan/classical background popular in the 1880s. Her dark, high-collared dress features a box-pleated skirt and apron overskirt.

An 1885 advertisement for this concern lists three studios at different locations: Excelsior Studio, 20 N. Charles Street; Elite Studio, 66 Lexington Street; Monumental Studio, 121 & 123 Lexington Street. I haven’t yet been able to determine the owner of the company.

One possible candidate for owner of these three studios is artist and inventor David Acheson Woodward, who is known to have owned a studio called variously Monumental Photographic Company and Monumental Art Studio at 120 Lexington Street ca. 1885-1886.

The second portrait, a vignetted bust, was taken at the A. L. Rogers Studio, 112 N. Charles Street. This photograph can tentatively be dated to ca. 1891, because in that year Rogers bought the studio from Norval H. Busey.

The third portrait, also a vignetted bust, was taken at a studio owned by David J. Wilkes. Baltimore’s streets underwent a re-numbering in 1887, and since the advertising refers both to the old and new numbering on Baltimore Street, ca. 1887 seems like a reasonable guess for a date.

Unfortunately, identification, even with a name, is difficult without additional information. In Baltimore there are two Emma Albrechts listed in the 1880 census who seem about the right age, and two married Emma Albrechts in the 1900 census.

One possibility: Emma M. Albrecht, b. abt. 1867, Maryland, who married physician Caleb W. G. Rohrer in the late 1890s.

“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 Findagrave.com.

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. L. Rogers Trade Card

Albert L. Rogers (1853-1934) had a studio at 68 Lexington Street ca. 1882-1885. At 4″ by 2-1/2″, this trade card suggests a move toward the modern business card.

With its touches of gilt and delicate script address, Rogers’ card strives for elegance. Richard Walzl (see previous post), by contrast, chose a brightly colored card in a larger format, designed to catch the eye.

Rogers was born in Washington County, Pennsylvania in October 1853. According to Biographical Annals of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Rogers learned photography at the age of 16 in his older brother Samuel G. Rogers’ Waynesburg, Pennsylvania studio.

According to the Annals sketch, Albert made a specialty of retouching, and worked in this and other capacities for Kuhn & Cummins and then Richard Walzl in Baltimore.

Rogers went into business for himself in  Baltimore in 1880.

In 1891, Albert bought Norval Busey’s studio at at 112 North Charles Street. By 1900, he and his wife, fellow photographer Elizabeth E. Jonas Rogers, had relocated to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. I found a ca. 1890s cabinet photograph by Rogers marked Carlisle and Chambersburg, and an 1889 cabinet card from Westminster, Maryland; he is also said to have had a studio in Hagerstown, Maryland for a time.

Albert and Samuel weren’t the only family members to go into the photography business. In all,  I have found evidence that three other siblings did the same: John H.(Waynesburg, Green Co., Pa.),  Thomas Wilson Rogers (Carmichaels, Green Co., Pa.), and Jessie Addison Rogers (Greensburg, Decatur Co., Indiana).

Elizabeth died in 1917, and Albert remarried a woman several decades younger, Louise McCann Rogers. They had two daughters, Marie and Helen.

He gave up the photography business to grow fruit trees between 1910 and 1920 to devote himself fully to his orchards.

Rogers and his two wives are buried in Norland Cemetery, Chambersburg, Franklin County, Pa. (Thanks go to Jim Houpt of the Franklin County Genweb for information about the deaths and burials of the Rogers.)

The Greene County Historical Society has a large digitized collection of photographs, many bearing the Rogers name.

Norval H. Busey, Photographer and Painter

This cabinet photograph of an unidentified man was taken in the studio of Norval Hamilton Busey (1845-1928) at the corner of Charles and Fayette streets in Baltimore, possibly in the early 1870s.

Bucking the trends of the time toward elaborate backdrops and props, Busey allows the subject’s strong features and clear, direct gaze to confront the viewer without adornment or pretense.

Busey’s only concession to the pressures of professional trends was to use the bold script signature popularized by New York’s phtographer-to-the stars Napoleon Sarony.

Born in Virginia to Methodist clergyman Thomas H. Busey in 1845, Norval Busey settled with his family in Baltimore between 1850 and 1860. According to Maryland historian Ross J. Kelbaugh’s biography of Busey, the young man worked for photographers Stanton & Butler until 1867, when he opened his own studio in York, Pennsylvania.

By 1870, Busey had returned to Baltimore with his wife, Emma, and their three daughters, Blanche, Rosamund, and Emma. In 1900, Busey, now a widower, had relocated to New York city, where he opened a gallery and associated with the artists of the Salmagundi Club.

Busey, who is said to have studied in Paris under Bouguereau, was ultimately more interested in painting than in photography. A number of his portraits of members of the Duke family hang in the Duke University Lilly Library, including Benjamin N. Duke, his wife, Sarah Pearson Duke, and their children, Angier and Mary.

Busey also showed the works of other artists in his photography studio and gallery, including Arthur Quartley’s seascapes.

He died at the Hinsdale, Illinois home of his fourth daughter, Ina Hamilton Butler, second wife of Chicago publisher Burridge Davenal Butler, on May 20th, 1928. He is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery, Baltimore. Busey’s only son, Norval H. Busey, Jr., became an attorney.