Dentists I Have Not Known: Dr. John C. Uhler

This cabinet card portrait of Dr. John Charles Uhler (1846-1917) is one of a number of photographic portraits of dentists from, based on the period ink identifications, what appears to be the same collection.

Born in Baltimore to merchant Erasmus B. Uhler (1818-1883) and Elizabeth (Deady) Uhler (1816-1893), John Uhler’s claim to renown is that he was among the first faculty appointed to the  School of Dentistry established at the University of Maryland in 1882.  Starting as Demonstrator of Prosthetic Dentistry, he became Associate Professor of Prosthetic Dentistry in 1900.

The new school was built upon the institutional foundation of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery.

Said to be the oldest school of dentistry in the world, the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery  was established 1839-1840 with a charter from the State of Maryland. With this charter, the organizers created a new degree, the Doctor of Dental Surgery. Uhler obtained his degree there in 1867, and established a private practice.

Howard’s 1873 The Monumental City includes an advertisement for the college, then located at Eutaw and Lexington streets, that depicts a Second Empire-style three-story building with mansard roof.

Uhler was elected one of the first members of the Executive Committee of the Maryland State Dental Association in 1883.

In 1910, he lived with his sister-in-law and niece, Clara and May Uhler, at 938 Madison Avenue. Uhler retired from his practice and from teaching about 1913, and is buried near his parents in Greenmount Cemetery.

It is unclear whether the studio, Russell & Co., is related to that of William C. and Dora Russell. Kelbaugh’s Directory of Maryland Photographers dates the addresses to 1888; the presence of “new” means the photograph had to have been taken after the re-numbering of Baltimore streets that occurred in 1887.

The operator chose the popular vignette style for this head-and-shoulders portrait, burning out the background to create a soft, floating effect. Light falls from the upper left to create shadows that emphasize the Uhler’s appealing eyes, which gaze away from the camera as if he were thoughtfully contemplating the past and future of dentistry’s development.

Portrait of Cadet Lee DuVall, 1892

The period-ink notes on the back of this cabinet card photograph identify the subject as  “Lee Duvall, April 22, 1892, Laurel.”

My research turned up two individuals named Robert Lee DuVall in Prince George’s and Anne Arundel counties, both descendants of the same Anne Arundel County family founded by immigrant Huguenot Mareen Duvall.

Mareen DuVal  or DuVall (b. 1625) arrived in Anne Arundel County in 1650. When he died in 1694, he left a vast estate of land and slaves, and 12 children by three wives. The Society of Mareen Duvall Descendants erected several historical markers in the area, including one near Davidsonville at  the site of Middle Plantation, where he died.

From Mareen Duvall’s 12 children sprung a huge clan whose members intermarried with many important Maryland and Virginia families.

Robert E. Lee DuVall was born about 1869 to wealthy plantation-owner and Confederate officer Ferdinand DuVall and Annie Linthicum Duvall. They lost their estate, centered in what is now Crofton, Anne Arundel County, after Ferdinand DuVall’s death in 1878; Robert, his mother and sister emigrated to Oregon, but he returned briefly, in 1900, to reclaim the family cemetery. Robert, a railroad employee,  died in Shoshone County, Idaho in 1943.

But the youth in this photograph seems a bit too young to have been born in 1869. A second Robert Lee Duvall, born 1875, seems a much better match.This Lee Duvall was the son of merchant Evans Duvall (1839-1911). In 1900 the family lived in Laurel, Prince George’s County.

Lee’s uniform is almost identical to that worn by the cadets of Maryland Agricultural College, precursor to the University of Maryland, College Park, just 13 miles away from Laurel. The college’s 1911 historical pamphlet lists all the graduates of the school from its opening to date.  Lee is not listed, but he may either have taken the preparatory course, or attended without graduating.

He is buried in  St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church Cemetery, Crownsville, Maryland, along with is wife, Mary (Moss) Duvall, and children Mary Duvall Waterman, Hilda Adaline Duvall, and Charles Evans Duvall.

The Russell studio was operated by William C. Russell (1843-1900), and by his wife, Mrs. Dora C. (Jose) Russell ca. 1886-1904.  The photographer chose a simple, soft, neutral background, lit from above left, to allow the ornamental pattern of the trim on the youth’s uniform, bright with brass buttons, to shine.

For more about Ferdinand Duvall’s career in the Confederate Army, visit his page on this site devoted to the history of the Second Maryland Infantry, CSA. For more about Mareen Duvall and his descendants, see The Founders of Anne Arundel and Howard Counties by J. D. Warfield, published 1905; and yes, Mareen “the Emigrant,” as he is called, has a page on Wikipedia.

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.