Saturday, September 13, 2008

Definitely a Curtis

The photographer was J. Pasevitch, located at 274 25th St. in Ogden, Utah. When was Mr. Pasevitch open for business in Ogden? We can search the city directories to find the answer to this question. Knowing when the photographer was open for business in Ogden will help us date when this photograph was taken. We have three different names for this person. Does anyone know for sure who this Curtis family member is? We will have to do some serious photo dating to help us identify who this person is.

1.  Friend Charles Curtis is written on the back of the photo in very light ink or pencil. If this photo was taken in 1890, Friend would have been 37 years old.
2.  Cyrus Jerome Curtis is written on the back of the photo in darker, more recent ink. If this photo was taken in 1890, Cyrus would have been 38 years old.
3.  Benjamin Kingman Curtis -  if this photo was taken about 1890, Benjamin would have been 62 years old. How old do you think the man is in this photo? When the Curtis family moved from Michigan to Utah, they first ended up in Ogden. We don't have exact dates, but suspect they were in Ogden from about 1884 to about 1895. One of Benjamin's descendants, through his son William Rushmer, has three charcoal drawings of the Curtis family. They each measure about 18" x 20" and are done on heavyweight cardboard. On the back of one is written "Family Photographs. Curtis Ancestry. Sarah Lavantia Card Curtis; Benjamin K. Curtis; William R. Curtis; and Ella May Canfield Curtis." The charcoal drawings for Benjamin and Sarah are on separate pieces of cardboard. The one of Sarah has already been uploaded to this blog. The third drawing is a composite of both William and Ella May when they were children, about 3 and 4 years old respectively. So we have four names and three charcoal drawings, which leaves us with the identity of the last one being that of Benjamin Kingman Curtis, the subject in question. With the conflicting identities for this picture, the identified charcoal drawings may not be enough evidence. More detective work is needed, as outlined below. 

Dating this photo by carefully looking at several details:
1.  Style of photograph. I believe this is a Cabinet Card, although I haven't seen the original in person. I have only seen this scanned image. What are the exact measurements of the original photograph? If it's a Cabinet Card, then it should measure about 6 x 4. If the photograph is a Carte de Visite, then it would measure roughly 2 1/2 x 3 inches.
2. The hair style. When did men style their hair the way this person has done?
3.  Clothing. When did men wear clothing like that worn by the person in the photo?
4.  How old do you think this person is?
5.  The photographer. When was this person in business?
6.  The photographer's imprint. How many lines? How ornate is the imprint?
7.  The border, corners, and the card colors both front and back. 

See Estimating When a Cabinet Card Image was Produced for more details in dating old Cabinet Cards. After we have a better idea about when this photo was taken, we can compare it to the ages of the four men to see if we can determine exactly who this person is.

3 comments:

MamaWils said...

After googling "J. Pasevitch Photography", I found some interesting things.

1. There is an ad in the July 21, 1893, Ogden Standard Examiner newspaper for J Pasevitch Photography.

2. There is a J. Pasevitch listed as the photographer for the El Paso High School 1900 yearbook.

3. In a Weber State University archive, there is a family picture that lists the photographer as J. Psevitch,with the date 1891-1900.

Also, after reading the article about cabinet cards, I have noted the following characteristics of this portrait. It is 4x6. It is buff colored ,(1882-1888) and does not have a different colored border. The edges are scalloped, with square corners and it is mounted on heavy card stock.(1880-1890) Nothing too conclusive there.

I don't know what the article meant about an IRS stamp. The number 2715 is stamped in green on the back of the photo.

ann4578 said...

Tonight I discovered that I have a scanned image of this original photograph. I didn't remember that I had this among the collection of hundreds of Curtis family photos that I have. I saved the image as a TIFF file and it's a 10 MB file. When I scanned it, I included the full image, including the decorative edges. Unfortunately I don't remember who had the original, but maybe I have it written down in my notes somewhere. I did not find a scanned image of the back of the photograph, so I'll keep looking for that as well. It's crazy not to have good notes for reproduced photos.

Susan Hendricks said...

In Jan., 1968, I took a genealogy class at BYU. I started collecting info from my grandfather, Reed J. Curtis, son of William Rushmer Curtis. In my original long genealogy binder is the picture you are questioning and listed as Benjamin Kingman Curtis. There was also a loose pedigree size picture and on the back in Papa Reed's handwriting was Benjamin Kingman Curtis. How he knew for sure or if his father had given him the picture -- I am not sure. But, I never questioned who it was because I had always thought it was Benjamin K. Curtis! I will try to send that picture to you, Fran. Has anyone on the blog looked into Benjamin Kingman as B.K. Curtis' mother's line?? I have found some census records right in Allegany Co., New York. What do you think?? Susan Hendricks

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