Coss & Boteler Carte de Visite

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The scowling young woman in this carte de visite, identified as Emma Holmann, wears a plaid, off-the-shoulder party dress with the wide skirt typical of the 1860s.

The Coss & Boteler partnership may have been brief: Ross Kelbaugh dates their studio at 93 Baltimore Street to ca. 1862. Coss appears in  Maryland IRS tax assessment lists for  1862 as G. M. Coss, 93 Baltimore Street, photographer. In 1863 and 1864, the listing becomes Coss & Leach, now located at 159 West Baltimore.

Carte de Visite by a Very Young John Holyland

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Thanks to its cancelled revenue stamp, this carte de visite can be dated to January 1865.  John Holyland (1841-1931) would have been only 24 when he made it.

Holyland was born in Burlington County, New Jersey, and  spent most of his career in Baltimore.  But according to a biographical sketch reprinted by Baltimore photography historian Ross Kelbaugh,  Holyland’s father Charles, an English-born engraver, bought a gallery in Washington for John when the youth had only been learning the photography trade for a few years, in the gallery of J. H. Young.

Holyland had not yet adopted the distinctive back-mark seen on most of his work: a sun-like disk or medallion radiating rays of light, surmounted by a snake-twined Christian cross.

In July of 1865, John Holyland married his cousin, Rebecca Hart, and returned to Baltimore, where he bought Young’s gallery and studio on 231 West Baltimore Street.

The image above reflects all of the conventions of 1860s studio photography: drapery, a diamond-motif tile floor,  and a chair on which the subject could steady himself.

William M. Chase, View of Baltimore Harbor from Federal Hill

According to the Maryland Historical Society, this stereograph by William Moody Chase (1817-1901) was taken ca. 1875. Chase included it in several series of stereographs, including American Views and United States Views. The reverse lists 30 or so available cards in this subset, Metropolitan and Suburban Scenery, Baltimore, Md.

Ross Kelbaugh’s biographical sketch relates that Chase learned photography after the Civil War in the studio of R. D. Ridgeley. Chase’s  stereograph publishing company  was located at the corner of Lexington Avenue and Eutaw Place from 1872 to 1888.

During his long career, Chase photographed and/or published hundreds of stereoviews, including views of Washington, D.C., views along the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad and the Philadelphia and Baltimore Central Railroad, and the series Art and Scenery of Central Park, New York and The Wide Wide World, and Picturesque Views of All Countries, which included images of notable scenes abroad. Among those who worked with him was a young David Bachrach.

Born 1 Dec 1817 in Shirley, Mass., to March Chase and Hepzibah Gleason Chase, William is believed to have enlisted in a Massachusetts regiment at the outbreak of the Civil War, but quickly became disabled and instead was appointed sutler (supplier) of the regiment. In 1894, Chase retired to his home state of Massachusetts. He died at his home in the Dorchester Heights, Boston, in November 1901. He is buried at Worcester Rural Cemetery, Worcester, Mass.

William traced some of his family’s history in a pamphlet entitled Reminiscences of the family of Moody Chase, of Shirley, Massachusetts. William’s father, March Chase, and Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Salmon Portland Chase (1808-1873), may have been related.

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.

Stanton & Butler

Historian Ross Kelbaugh has documented the Stanton & Butler partnership as a brief one: 1867 to 1871.  Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900 locates their studio first at 79 W. Fayette Street and then at 14 N. Charles Street.

So far I have only found one cabinet card photograph by the duo. This albumen card photograph is  a “carte imperial,” another and perhaps earlier name for a cabinet card. Their sensitive portrait of a weary elderly woman is identified as Sally (Sarah) Hopkins McElderry.

If my research is correct, Sally Hopkins McElderry was born about 1809 in Maryland and died about 1897. She married Henry McElderry (1809-1877), a well-to-do Baltimore coal merchant, and bore him eight children.

Ross Kelbaugh

Everything I have learned or will learn about early photography and photographers in Maryland is based on the invaluable work of Ross J. Kelbaugh.

He has been collecting Maryland photographs and researching Maryland photographers for decades. If you want to know anything about early Baltimore and Maryland photographers, if you want to know anything about Maryland photography in the Civil War, or about photography and the Civil War in general, he’s your guy.

I have three of his excellent books so far:

The Civil War in Maryland: An Exhibit of Rare Photographs documents the exhibition Kelbaugh curated at the Maryland Historical Society in 2006.

An Introduction to Civil War Photography is a brief, clearly written, profusely illustrated soft-cover that does exactly what it says.  I’ve read it three times already.

Directory of Maryland Photographers 1839-1900 is the bible for Maryland vintage photo collectors. Kelbaugh painstakingly gathered and collated information about Maryland photographers and studios using a variety of sources. This hard-cover labor of love, which includes reproductions of rare photos from Kelbaugh’s own collection and biographies of some of the most important photographers, is an essential reference work. I read it cover-to-cover as if it were a novel. I refer to it at least once a day.

You can buy Ross Kelbaugh’s books directly from him at his website,