This carte de visite by Walter J. L. Dyer is another in the group I purchased from the same Talbot County lot of card photographs. It depicts the vignetted head of Margaret L. “Margie” Robinson, the daughter of Sarah Chaplain (b. abt. 1832, Trappe, Talbot Co., Md.) and James Lowery Robinson (1829-1914).
Sarah Chaplain was one of Dr. James Stevens Chaplain’s siblings (see prior post). The Chaplains traced their ancestry back to Francis Chaplain, who is believed to have arrived in Talbot County about 1660 from Suffolk County, England and settled around a village that became known as Trappe.
Trappe is about nine miles almost due south of Easton on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. The village grew up at the crossroads of two routes, one running north-south between Easton and Cambridge, and the other running east-west. Even though its population never seems to have been much above 400, the town had four churches, three physicians, and several hardware and general stores.
An 1877 map of Trappe shows Dr. James Stevens’ home on the south end of the village, and Mrs. J. L. Robinson’s home near the crossroads.
The vendor who removed this photo from its original album copied the notes he found there onto the back of the carte: “Margaret (Margie) Robinson, Aunt [illegible] daugther, died young” Born about 1863, probably in Baltimore, Margaret may have died between 1870 and 1880 based on her absence from the family in the 1880 census.
The pose chosen by Dyer is quite similar to that used in a carte of Margaret’s sister, Eliza Robinson Lloyd (see previous post): Lit from above , head turned to the right.
According to William Darrah’s Cartes de Visite in Nineteenth Century Photography, the cherubs and camera motif was popular as a back-mark ca. 1866-1874.
During the 1860s and early 1870s, Dyer partnered with the New York-born photographer J. M. Van Wagner at the same address, 468 W. Baltimore Street, in Baltimore. Dyer, son of a Towson grocer, lived with the Van Wagner family in 1870.
At some point during the 1870s, Dyer became sole proprietor of the studio. By 1880, he had given up photography to go into the grocery business.