Couple in San Francisco

Click here to view it larger.

What it is:

4 x 5.5 inch photo mounted to a 7 x 8.5 cardboard frame/backing. (I’ve cropped most of the frame out of the scan.)

What I know about it:

Photographer is “Tonkin, 1490 Market St, San Francisco, Cal.” Otherwise undated and unidentified, but see comments below.


I went through the old online San Francisco city directories, and found a photographer named Herbert Tonkin listed in directories from 1900 through 1905. In all those years, he was listed as being at 1227 Market St, but in 1902, the address 1490 Market St was added. (The directories also listed residential addresses that frequently changed.) Additionally, I found an old newspaper ad that lists both addresses at the same time. So he apparently had photo studios two blocks apart from 1902 through 1905, which suggests that’s when this photo was taken. As for the man and woman here, shall we assume they are a couple? The more I view the woman’s outfit, the more I think it’s a silhouette best viewed from the front, rather than a side angle. And her hat, attractive as it is, adds a bit of shadow to her already haunting eyes. Also, I have to say the fashionable high collar seems remarkably appropriate for this man’s long neck. To me, this couple conveys a calm confidence, which I like.

2 comments on “Couple in San Francisco”

  1. I like her hat! They’re definitely both wearing expensive clothes. His suit is very becoming. Her outfit is perhaps less flattering, but it was probably the latest style at the time. They do exude confidence!

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