Seated man in Utica, New York

By: usermattw

May 16 2019

Tags: , , ,

Category: Men


Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

Carte de visite (CDV) measuring 2.5 x 4 inches.


What I know about it:

Photographer is W. C. North of Utica, NY.  Written on the back is Mr. L Cook / Kan [The handwriting is hard to read because it is light, but here is a scan]



Without the photographer’s address on the back, I would have assumed the handwriting was identifying this as a man in Kansas.  But now I’m just confused.  Are we looking at Mr. L. Cook?  Was he visiting New York from Kansas?  Perhaps Mr. L. Cook is not the subject, but the recipient of this photo?  Does “Kan” mean something other than Kansas here?  I don’t really know.  As for the photographer, Walter Crane North lived from 1831-1891, living in various places in New York and Ohio (including twice in Utica).  I found an obituary that specified his time at this Utica address as being 1861-1864 or -65, which is about what I would have guessed based on the photo.  As for the address of this studio, “Devereux Block”, that appears to be the Devereux Building, a wedge-shaped structure that filled a triangular block.  A picture of it can be found here.

4 comments on “Seated man in Utica, New York”

  1. Walter North’s obit made for interesting reading. I also enjoyed seeing the Devereux Building. My paternal grandfather grew up in Utica, so he must have known that building. He probably ate burgers at the White Tower Restaurant.

    • Glad you liked the links. How fun to have a personal connection. And yes, the obituary indicates an accomplished man. I’ve been interested to learn more about how vintage photo retouching was done. (Plus, it’s fun to read old-fashioned praise like “He read a choice class of literature.”) Thank goodness for the internet, right? With just a few clues, you can piece together a view of another time and place.

      • I don’t know anything about negative retouching, but apparently it caused a lot of excitement when North came back from Paris in 1867. Here’s another interesting phrase: “[…] from 1874 to 1878 he traveled in Ohio and other Western States….” Ohio a western state? Shows how different the country was, geographically speaking!

      • I’m sure a lot of the science of it would be lost on me, but I’m curious to know what sort of effects were being achieved with the retouching. And yes, that’s funny re: “western”. Ah, perspective.

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