Children (brothers?) in Binghamton, NY

Click here to view it larger.


What it is:

Cabinet card measuring 4.25 x 6.5 inches.


What I know about it:

If I’m reading it correctly, the photographer is E. Murphy of Binghamton, New York.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.



Binghamton is one of those towns that is disproportionately represented in my collection, with an unusually high number of  photos from different photographers, purchased from different sources, by no design of my own.  I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but it makes me wonder if I’m missing some connection.  As for the kids here, I’m making a couple of assumptions.  First, that they are boys, though the style of garment worn by the seated child is of the plainer fashion that I associate with boys, and the hair is parted on the side (as opposed to down the middle), which I’m told is another clue.  I’m also making the assumption that they are brothers (or even related at all).  But look at them!  Those faces!  Those ears!  If they aren’t related, I’m sure they fooled more people than just me.  By the way, though it isn’t dated, I’m guessing it’s probably from the 1890s, based on such clues as the gold embossing and the scalloped edges.  (Sorry the edges were a bit cut off.  I’m still figuring out my new scanner.)  That said, the chair strikes me as oddly modern, though I’m hardly an expert on furniture design.

10 comments on “Children (brothers?) in Binghamton, NY”

  1. I’m fascinated by the boy’s belted jacket and neck kerchief. It seems so sporty for a child. I wonder if it was home made?

  2. The belted-suit thing was popular for boys up through the 1920’s. I think the 1890’s guess might be pretty spot-on here; something about this picture reminded me of The Yellow Kid comic strip, and I looked it up and found this image from 1895, which could almost be the two boys here (albeit sans belted suitcoat), if their family was a bit lower in financial status–the shape of the short pants, shoes, and the younger boy’s dress is just the same.

    (Just to explain the caption: Palmer Cox did the Brownies comic strip, and the brownies had funny round eyes,)

    • Thanks for the link. I think, as Paul suggested, it’s the addition of the kerchief that makes it seem to unusually sporty in a child. But it might just be a common look that I wasn’t previously familiar with.

  3. It’s actually a floppy bowtie (like Buster Brown). Looks to me like it just went a little askew.

  4. Let’s see if this link will give a nice little preview! Because the “preview” link didn’t!

  5. How about the long one…do you mind that I’m experimenting on your page?

    • Ha! No, that’s fine. I can always delete or edit something for you if you want. But that Buster Brown image is great! Not only do I see what you mean about the tie, but the suit is so similar. 🙂

  6. Oh–I had forgotten, if I ever knew, that the same artist who did the Yellow Kid also did Buster Brown. Weird! I wonder if the boy in your photo read those strips.

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