Washington DC: [Various], [ca. 1890s-1910s]. Six late 19th- and early 20th-century mounted studio portraits. One portrait with handwritten name and date on reverse ("EB Williams /1877;) others undated. Four cards gilt-edged, in very good condition with some foxing and moderate wear to edges and card backs. Corners of one card chipped; mounted photograph unaffected. Final card shows more signs of wear, with some damage spots and chipping to cardstock back. Mounted photograph affected at outer edge only. Collection in very good condition overall. Individual portrait details follow: 1) 4.25'' by 6.5'' approx. Standing man wearing several medals and a sword, otherwise in civilian dress. Identified on reverse as "EB Williams / 1877." Taken at Johnson Bros. 2) 4.25'' by 6.5'' approx. Seated woman in armchair, holding a book. No studio name. Card heavily chipped along edges, with some discolored spots and staining to back. 3) 3'' by 4.25'' photograph mounted on 5'' by 7.5'' cardstock. Infant in elaborate gown seated on chair, taken by the Spurlock Studio. Undated but no earlier than 1904, the year of the studio's founding. 4) Standing young woman in late 19th. century dress, undated. Taken at the Rice Studio. One corner creased. Negative number written on back in pencil. 5) Standing young woman in late 19th or early 20th c. dress, undated. Taken at J.D. Merritt. 6) Group of five men, apparently related but not identified. Taken at Paul Tralles Studio. Very good. Item #22210
Six cabinet cards of African-American subjects, photographed at various Washington, D.C. studios. Includes one card from the Scurlock studio, undated but most likely from the early 1900s. Addison Scurlock arrived in D.C. from North Carolina in 1900 and opened his own business four years later, after an apprenticeship with white photographer Moses P. Rice (whose studio is also represented here). Scurlock specialized in portraiture and became the premier African American photographer to Washington's black middle-class in the early 20th century. Two other studios represented in the collection, J.D. Merritt and Johnson Bros., both located on Pennsylvania Avenue's "photographer's row," where a number of white studio owners employed African-American photographers, some of whom, like Scurlock, eventually established their own businesses ("Picturing the Promise: The Scurlock Studio and Black Washington"). An early portrait from an important African American photographer, together with several other studio portraits from both the Washington African American and photographic communities.