Boy from Waverly, Illinois

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is Gates of Waverly, Illinois.   Otherwise undated and unidentified.


An online source indicates that the photographer was Clarence Leonard Gates, who opened his studio in Waverly in 1876.  When he died in 1922, it was Waverly’s oldest existing business.  That gives about a 46-year window for dating this photo, so things like clothes are better relied upon.  And such adorable clothes!  The hat, long coat, and pose look almost, to my modern eyes, like he is playing dress-up.  There’s an odd quality to the image, almost a painterly, pointillist quality.  That, plus what appear to be vertical shadows along the sides, give it a sort of misty, dreamy feel.  I’m not sure what caused that.  Some problem with the finishing process?  Perhaps this is a reproduction of a damaged original?  (If so, it’s not far off in time.)  Could it even be deliberate?  In any case, I kind of like the effect.  One last thing, note the feet of the posing stand being used to hold our boy still.

9 comments on “Boy from Waverly, Illinois”

  1. The scalloped edges of the card mount date this to the 1890s. Plus cabinet cards fell out of fashion after the turn of the century so you can safely date this in the last decade of the 1800s.

    • Yes, I should have said “things like clothes and the format of the card itself”. Reading your blog, I know you’ve familiarized yourself with such fine points more than I have, so thank you for contributing this information!

  2. I should say, the 1900s. No coffee yet. 🙂

  3. No, strike that again. The last decade of the 19th century. LOL

  4. The poor dour lad looks as if he would rather be anywhere. What does impress me is he outfit, with layers of handsome clothing and fine boots.

  5. I love him – and his long coat! What a cutie!

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