Man in San Francisco, California

By: usermattw

Jul 15 2013

Tags: , ,

Category: Men


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 Burnett & Slattery of San Francisco, California.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.


Having lived in San Francisco now for a quarter of a century (and please pardon me while I gasp and absorb that realization), I find myself taking a particular interest in historical tidbits that are local.  So while this photo isn’t extraordinarily remarkable, I got a little excited when I recognized the address as belonging to San Francisco.  It doesn’t say San Francisco on the cabinet card, but I’ve spent a lot of time in the area of 16th & Valencia (a previous job was one block away, and a previous apartment was four blocks away), so the address immediately rang a bell.  I googled the photographers, and sure enough, it’s San Francisco.  From what I’ve found, it was a partnership between Frank W. Burnett and Thomas J. Slattery that lasted from 1885 to 1896, when Burnett when into business for himself and Slattery became a policeman.  Burnett previously worked for the famed photographer Isaiah West Taber.  Though the cabinet card advertises the location as the northwest corner of 16th & Valencia Streets, the specific address was apparently 448-1/2 Valencia.   I don’t know if Burnett stayed in business at that location, or for how long, but this location was just inside the finger of the burn zone that reached into the Mission District during the Great Fire following the 1906 earthquake.   (The very modern Intersection for the Arts building currently stands there at 446 Valencia Street.)  One other thing:  I’m fascinated by this guy’s jewelry, and I wish it weren’t all cropped out of the image.  It’s unique enough (at least to me) that I wonder if it has some significance.  Here’s a close-up of the pin at his neck if anyone has any ideas about it.

6 comments on “Man in San Francisco, California”

  1. If my aged eyes are not wrong, it looks like at bottom of the pin the letters F,L, and T are present. That would mean this chap belonged to The Odd Fellows. Of what level he was, I’d have to do more research.

    • Oh, good call. My eyes must be even older, since I wasn’t making out lettering correctly. The stuff hanging on his chest looks like it might be some sort of fraternal insignia, too, so that makes sense. Thanks!

  2. I simply adore things like this.

  3. Fascinating tidbits with this photo. John’s got a pretty sharp eye…if you ask me!

    • Yes, it’s fun how many little threads of research there can be with these old pictures. (And yes, it helps to be able to see the details clearly!)

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