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David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Cabinet Photographs (1868-1905)

Collection processed and finding aid created by Leslie High, Clayton Lewis, Jorge Lopez-McKnight, Megan Marion, May Oyler, 2008-2013
Graphics Division, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan

Summary Information

Title: David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Cabinet Photographs
Creator: Tinder, David V.
Inclusive dates: 1868-1905
Extent: Approx. 19,500 photographs
The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Cabinet Photographs, is primarily made up of professional studio portraits made by over 1,800 different Michigan photographers between 1868 and 1905. A majority of the subjects are unidentified people of middle and upper classes. Also included are famous and notable persons, actors, actresses, formal and casual portraits, occupational portraits, various ethnicities, pictures of objects, and outdoor views.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site: www.clements.umich.edu

Access and Use

Acquisition Information

F-832, F-893, F-897, F-923, F-924, F-938, F-995, F-999, F-1013, F-1056, F-1054, F-1055, F-1137.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information

Cataloging funded in part by the Michigan Photographic Historical Society. This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan. The majority portion donated by David B. Walters in honor of Harold L. Walters, UM class of 1947 and Marilyn S. Walters, UM class of 1950.


This collection has been arranged in two series:
  • Series I -- sorted alphabetically by photographer.
  • Series II -- sorted alphabetically by subject.


The cabinet card photograph was a popular portrait format in use by professional photographers from the late 1860s through the 1890s. Most frequently it was a vertical image on thin photographic paper, mounted on a 6 ½ by 4 ¼-inch piece of cardboard. Unlike smaller cartes de visite, which were frequently viewed in albums, the cabinet photograph could be displayed on a small stand on a table or cabinet (hence the name) and seen from a distance. Skillful photographers liked how the increased size allowed a more detailed view of the subject, showed off their abilities, and allowed for artistic retouching, generally done on the negative itself before printing.

The cabinet photograph format first appeared during the late 1860s. In the three decades that followed it became the portrait standard. The cards often carry the name and location of the photographer printed either on the front border of the card below the photograph or in a design on the reverse side. Over time, early buff-colored cards gave way to darker colors with beveled or scalloped edges, gilding, embossing, and other decorative touches.

Most early cabinet photographs, like cartes de visite, were albumen prints, recognizable by their warm sepia and yellow hues. In the late 1880s and 1890s the introduction of matte collodion, silver gelatin and gelatin bromide papers resulted in images closer to the black and white tones familiar in modern photographs. Typically, studio portrait photographs of the cabinet era were taken using natural light from skylights or large windows.

Cabinet photograph portrait styles varied greatly and were often less formal than the earlier cartes de visite of the 1860s. This was due in part to shorter exposure times that allowed subjects to take a more natural position, as well as societal changes. Vignettes and creative borders were popular for bust portraits. Full-length portraits were common as well and employed a wide range of studio props, including pastoral backdrops, furniture, mantle pieces, faux fences, and smaller items of all sorts -- books, musical instruments, hunting rifles, bicycles, and so on. The majority of cabinet cards are individual portraits, but many are of groups, families, school classes, and athletic teams. Aside from portraiture, the cabinet card format was also used for outdoor views of buildings, public events, nature scenes, and for promoting commercial products.

Cabinet photograph portraits were relatively affordable. Two dollars for a dozen copies was not an unusual price. Promotional materials usually noted that the studio preserved all negatives so customers could obtain reprints at a later date. Photographers produced cabinet photographs in both small towns and larger cities. Typically, the photographic trade was made up of both resident photographers with permanent studios and traveling itinerants with mobile studios set up in wagons or tents.

The introduction of personal cameras, particularly the Kodak roll film cameras of the 1880s, began to divert interest away from studio photos like cabinet photographs in favor of snapshot photography, which tended to be more candid and more often outdoors. The development of heavier photo papers that did not need to be mounted also reduced the popularity of card photographs. Cabinet photographs were produced into the 1920s, but in decreasing numbers after the turn of the century.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, Cabinet Photograph Collection includes the work of approximately 1,800 professional photographers from across the state of Michigan. Series I includes mostly anonymous individual portraits taken by known photographers (see Additional Descriptive Data for a complete list). Series II is sorted subject as listed below. For all but the broadest categories (such as children, men, or women), the subject groupings include all photos in the cabinet collection on that subject.

African Americans (102 photographs) Individual and family portraits, including a photo of Lewis Clark, the inspiration for George Harris in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

American Indians/Native Americans (15 photographs) Individual and group portraits featuring contemporary and traditional dress, including photos of legendary chief Sitting Bull and "Indian Jake" Ta-pa-sah, the first mail carrier to Traverse City.

Asians/Asian Americans (11 photographs) Japanese, Chinese and Burmese subjects, most in traditional dress. Includes portraits of Michitaro Tsuda, a member of the Japanese emperor's privy council and graduate of Michigan Agricultural College (MAC), and Koli S. Thabue, Burmese politician and reformer, also a graduate of MAC.

Athletes (30 photographs) Individual and team portraits representing bicycle racing, crew, baseball, football, boxing, basketball, tennis, dog-sled racing, track and field, and gymnastics.

Bicyclists (158 photographs) Individuals and groups posed in studio settings with bicycles; also children posing with tricycles.

Chiefs of Police and Sheriff's Association of Michigan Portrait Set (60 photographs) Studio portraits both in uniform and in civilain clothes.

Children (605 photographs) Studio portraits of children, mostly individuals, often with props such as wooden horses, musical instruments, toy wagons, books, tricycles, etc. Several children are costumed as adults or historical figures. Approximately 50 photographs are taken outdoors.

Children - Baby Carriages (85 photographs)

Children - Dolls (139 photographs) Girls with dolls, large and small. A number of photos show dolls in carriages. One photo features a dog doll.

Clergy (65 photographs) Includes pastors and priests, monks and nuns. Numerous images of John Samuel Foley, the first American Bishop of Detroit.

Color Cabinets (16 photographs) Studio portraits that have been hand-tinted. Includes photo of porcelain serving set.

Comic Drawings with Photos (8 photographs) Photographed heads superimposed on drawings.

Darkroom Manipulations/Montages (44 photographs) Multiple images, decorative framing, double exposures, comic vignettes, assemblages and collages.

Disasters (8 photographs) Five views of a river logjam, two of ruined buildings and one of firemen fighting a fire.

Early Cabinets (2 photographs) Two early portraits by Cadwallader Brothers of Detroit, circa 1867-1868.

Family (358 photographs) Family groupings, including children, parents, grandparents. Several show multiple generations of women. Two group portraits include memorial photos of a family member, and several include pets, bicycles, carriages, dolls and musical instruments. Ten photographs are family groupings photographed outdoors in either farm or residential settings.

Family - Weddings (36 photographs)

Female Impersonators (5 photographs) "Character artists" in costume, two of Frank Carroll and two of Burt Parker.

Graduation (24 photographs) Young men and women, usually holding a rolled diploma, posing next to tables displaying flowers and other gifts.

Groups - Children (12 photographs) Various groupings of children, two of which appear to be in school settings.

Groups - General (59 photographs) Includes groups at workplaces, churches, family reunions, fraternal organizations. One damaged card shows a group of men in an outdoor setting near a railroad siding holding a meeting, perhaps a court hearing.

Groups - Men (85 photographs) Formal and informal groupings, including men in uniforms. One group of fishermen is photographed outside.

Groups - Themed/Role Play (56 photographs) Groups of varying sizes posing in tableaux, often on the theme of food and drink or card playing.

Groups - Women (65 photographs) Several feature costumes or uniforms. One presents a group of girls posing around a Maypole.

Illustration Reproductions (20 photographs) Photo reproductions of graphic illustrations. Includes religious scenes, Ulysses S. Grant, horses and buildings, bird's-eye view maps of Hancock, Marquette (2) and Houghton.

Interior Views (16 photographs) Interiors of a department store, church, mess hall, greenhouse and several parlors, with and without people.

Leisure (26 photographs) Mixed groups in outdoor settings in yards, campgrounds, picnic areas or scenic locations. Also includes fishing and hunting scenes.

Livestock (18 photographs)

Mackinac Island (29 photographs) Views of manmade structures and natural scenes from two series: H. J. Rossiter's Views of Mackinac and the Foley Brothers' Mackinac Island Views.

Medical (4 photographs) Portraits of people with physical abnormalities, including missing limbs and malignant growths.

Memorials (131 photographs) Floral arrangements dedicated to the recently deceased, sometimes with a name included in the display. One card shows a piece of broken glass from Yore's Opera House in Benton Harbor, which burned in 1896, killing twelve firemen whose names are etched on the glass. Many of the floral arrangements also include a portrait of the deceased.

Men (354 photographs) Primarily bust portraits of men in formal dress, but also numerous full-length portraits, often with props and taken outdoors in coats and hats. Several photos are less formal portraits taken in an outdoor setting.

Men with Decorations (36 photographs) Portraits of men with medals, ribbons or pins on their chests, usually indicating military service, a civilian honor or rank within their organization.

Merchants Carnival (16 photographs) Women wearing costumes garnished with commercial merchandise and small objects. Often with advertising banners promoting local businesses. Several from the 1888 Merchants Carnival in Fowlerville.

Michigan Legislature (33 photographs) State legislators from the 1887-88 session photographed, with a few exceptions, by Cassey & Whitney. Each card includes biographical information with additional information at the end of the box. Also includes two ensemble collages of the 1887 and 1889 sessions.

Michigan Military Academy (47 photographs) Individual portraits of cadets in uniform, often with swords and caps. One is pictured with a drum. The majority of the cards include the name of the subject on the back. A few include biographical information. One portrait includes a cadet with his dog.

Military (71 photographs) Military men, including National Guard, photographed in either dress or field uniforms. Nine photographs are of sailors.

Musicians (182 photographs) Individual and group portraits with violins, guitars and horns, banjos, saxophones, drums, pianos, clarinets, an accordion and a harp. One card shows a small girl playing a large pump organ. Includes brass bands, and a series of 14 photographs picturing members of Gardner's Band from Flint. Three photographs present different views of the one-man band "Prof. McRae, Musical Wonder."

Objects (34 photographs) Promotional and advertising photos for various products, including farm machinery, wooden furniture, pipe organs, small statuary, objects d' art , clocks and household appliances. Also includes a photo of the Union City Civil War monument and two photos of industrial machines.

Occupations (158 photographs) Studio and outside portraits of people at work. Most portraits are of police and firemen. Includes butchers, seamstresses, train conductors, preachers, housekeepers, teachers, loggers, miners, farmers, barbers, chefs and postmen.

Outdoor Views - Homes (49 photographs)

Outdoor Views - Landscapes (21 photographs)

Outdoor Views - Mills (16 photographs) Lumber and grain rolling mills with several photos of miscellaneous structures, including an oil derrick, a water tower, a barn and two granite and marble works.

Outdoor Views - Misc. Buildings (51 photographs) Mostly public buildings, including the Lansing state house and soldier's home, numerous churches, and several hotels. Also includes a series of buildings on the Michigan Agricultural College campus.

Outdoor Views - Street Signs/Store Fronts (56 photographs)

Parades (7 photographs) Views of bands marching, crowds gathered, military in formation, and political banners across city streets.

Performers (176 photographs) Individuals, couples and ensembles in costume often striking a dramatic pose or arranged in a tableau. Includes stage actors, singers, dancers, acrobats, and comedians. Some individual portraits identified.

Pets (309 photographs) Predominantly dogs, but also including cats, birds, parrots and horses. Photographs of pets with their owners, including adults and children.

Photo Pins (4 photographs) Portraits of people wearing photo pins.

Photos Outside of Michigan (8 photographs) Seven photos from Grand Rapids photographer Warren Wykes of Salt Lake City, Washington State, Yellowstone, Sacramento, San Francisco and Pasadena. Also a view of the Wywona drive-through tree near Yosemite by Gowdy Bros.

Post Mortem (29 photographs) Photos of the deceased. Most are of children.

Prominent People (23 photographs) Portraits of state and federal legislators, mayors, governors and other noted individuals. Includes photos of Washington Gardner, former U.S. Secretary of State; Paul Boyton, inventor of the wet suit; James Angell, University of Michigan president and diplomat; and dwarf couple Count and Countess Magri. Of note is a portrait of actress Zoe Gayton, J. L. Price, W. J. Marshall, and Gayton's dog Beauty taken in 1891 after Gayton walked from San Francisco to New York to win a bet.

Schools/Students (54 photographs) Posed in the studio, classroom or in front of their school building. Of interest is a photograph (#22) that contains a hand drawn photographer's back stamp.

Transportation - Auto (1 card) Young girl in a coat and hat posing in front of early automobile.

Transportation - Horse (48 photographs) Horses pulling carts, buggies, carriages and sleighs with men, women or children aboard. A few photographs were probably marketing tools showing a buggy company's new model.

Transportation - Passenger Vessel (15 photographs) Large and small passenger vessels and freighters. Includes a passenger ship at Sault Ste. Marie locks. Two show sailing vessels, a large one foundering offshore and a small leisure boat with three men. Ships in ice.

Transportation - Railroad (15 photographs) Includes a series of views of a train wreck by Elsie photographer W. W. Woole. A few photographs show people waiting at railroad depots.

Uniforms - Fraternal Organizations (145 photographs) Primarily Masons, Elks, and Odd Fellows.

Uniforms - Miscellaneous (79 photographs) Cadet and national guard units, firemen, police, railroad employees and Salvation Army workers.

Women (274 photographs)

Women - Fancy Dress (25 photographs) Women in elaborate dresses or unusual patterns. Includes examples of folk costumes.

Women - Hats (41 photographs) Women wearing bonnets, caps and hats of various styles. Numerous examples of feathers and flowers. Includes folk costumes.

Women - Umbrellas (16 photographs) Women posing with parasols or umbrellas.

Women - White Dress (39 photographs) Includes wedding, confirmation and graduation dresses.

Subject Terms

  • David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography.
  • Photographs shelf.
Subjects - Visual Materials:
  • African Americans.
  • Architecture--Michigan.
  • Asian Americans.
  • Athletes--Michigan.
  • Automobiles--Michigan.
  • Baby carriages--Michigan.
  • Baseball players--Michigan.
  • Bicycles.
  • Brass bands.
  • Carriages & coaches--Michigan.
  • Cats--Michigan.
  • Children--Michigan.
  • Church buildings.
  • Clergy--Michigan.
  • College athletes.
  • Couples--Michigan.
  • Cyclists--Michigan.
  • Dogs--Michigan.
  • Dolls--Michigan.
  • Dwellings--Michigan.
  • Entertainers--Michigan.
  • Families--Michigan.
  • Football players--Michigan.
  • Fraternal organizations--Michigan.
  • Graduates, High School.
  • Gymnasts--Michigan.
  • Indians of North America.
  • Legislators--Michigan.
  • Livestock--Michigan.
  • Logging.
  • Lumber industry--Michigan.
  • Mackinac Island (Mich.)
  • Medical Photography.
  • Memorials.
  • Men--Michigan.
  • Michigan Military Academy.
  • Military decorations--Michigan.
  • Military men.
  • Musicians--Michigan.
  • Occupations--Michigan.
  • Outdoor recreation.
  • Parades & processions--Michigan.
  • Pets--Michigan.
  • Police--Michigan.
  • Politicians--Michigan.
  • Railroad accidents--Michigan.
  • Railroads--Michigan.
  • Schools--Michigan.
  • School children--Michigan.
  • Statesmen--Michigan.
  • Steamboats--Michigan.
  • Storefronts--Michigan.
  • Students--Michigan.
  • Track and field athletes.
  • Uniforms--Michigan.
  • Weddings--Michigan.
  • Women--Michigan.
Genre Terms:
  • Albumen prints.
  • Cabinet photographs.
  • Collodion printing-out paper prints.
  • Cyanotypes.
  • Gelatin silver prints.
  • Montages.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Portrait photography.
  • Postmortem photographs.
  • Publicity photographs.

Contents List

Container / Location Title
Photographers [series]
Box   1  
Abbey -- Aller
Box   2  
Altman -- Arthur & Philbric
Box   3  
Arthur & Philbric -- Atherton
Box   4  
Atherton -- Baker
Box   5  
Baker -- Baldwin
Box   6  
Baldwin -- Barnum
Box   7  
Baron -- Barton
Box   8  
Barwise -- Beckmann
Box   9  
Beckmann -- Benson
Box   10  
Benson -- Blair
Box   11  
Blashfield -- Boutwell
Box   12  
Boutwell -- Bragg
Box   13  
Bradbeer -- Brown
Box   14  
Brown -- Brummitt
Box   15  
Brummitt -- Campbell
Box   16  
Campbell -- Cassey & Whitney
Box   17  
Cassey & Whitney -- Chapman
Box   18  
Chapman -- Christmas
Box   19  
Christmas -- Cliff
Box   20  
Close -- Conat
Box   21  
Conklin -- Courliss
Box   22  
Courliss -- Daily
Box   23  
Daly -- De Vos
Box   24  
DeWitt -- Dyer
Box   25  
Eagle -- Edwards & Hudson
Box   26  
Box   27  
Eisenhardt -- Emhuff
Box   28  
Emmons -- Farman
Box   29  
Farman -- Foote
Box   30  
Ford -- Forsyth
Box   31  
Forsyth -- Friend & Smith
Box   32  
Frost Bros. -- Gibson & Straight
Box   33  
Gibson & Widman -- Goossen
Box   34  
Goossen -- Groff
Box   35  
Grottkau -- Hamilton
Box   36  
Hamilton -- Harcourt
Box   37  
Harman & Verner -- Hayes
Box   38  
Hayes -- Herman
Box   39  
Herman -- Hill
Box   40  
Hill -- Holcombe
Box   41  
Holcombe -- Howell
Box   42  
Howie -- Hulbert
Box   43  
Hulbert -- Jackson
Box   44  
Jackson -- Jones & Gough
Box   45  
Joy -- King
Box   46  
King -- LaFayette
Box   47  
LaFayette -- Lennon
Box   48  
Lennon -- Limbacher
Box   49  
Little -- Lyon
Box   50  
Lyon -- McCoy
Box   51  
McCoy -- McManus Bros.
Box   52  
McMichael -- Mann & Schaldenbrand
Box   53  
Mapes -- Marshall
Box   54  
Marshall -- Merell
Box   55  
Merell -- Millard
Box   56  
Millard -- Miller
Box   57  
Miller -- Morehouse
Box   58  
Morey -- Nelson
Box   59  
Nelson -- Nix
Box   60  
Noble -- O'Leary
Box   61  
Olin -- Paddack
Box   62  
Page -- Pausch
Box   63  
Pausch -- Phillipson
Box   64  
Phillipson -- Pomeroy
Box   65  
Porter -- Quatermass
Box   66  
Quatermass -- Reidsema
Box   67  
Reidsema -- Rickard
Box   68  
Rickard -- Savigny & Christmas
Box   69  
Savigny & Christmas -- Seabolt
Box   70  
Sellman -- Sharpsteen
Box   71  
Sharpsteen -- Silver
Box   72  
Simonds -- Smith, E. J.
Box   73  
Smith, E. P. -- Smith, W. L.
Box   74  
Smith, W. L. -- Stadon
Box   75  
Stage -- Stephens
Box   76  
Stephenson -- Stevenson
Box   77  
Stewart -- Swain
Box   78  
Swanson -- Terry
Box   79  
Terwilliger -- Todd
Box   80  
Tomlinson -- Tremear & Hansen
Box   81  
Triplett -- Van De Venter
Box   82  
Van Horn -- Vreeland
Box   83  
Wade -- Watkins
Box   84  
Watson -- Welch
Box   85  
Welcome -- Whipple
Box   86  
White -- Wilkinson
Box   87  
Wilkinson -- Wixson
Box   88  
Wixson -- Wrightson
Box   89  
Wykes -- Young & McKay
Subjects [series]
Box   90  
African Americans (102 photographs) [view selected images]
American Indians/Native Americans (15 photographs) [view selected images]
Asians/Asian Americans (11 photographs) [view selected images]
Athletes (30 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   91  
Bicyclists (158 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   92  
Chiefs of Police and Sheriff's Association of Michigan Portrait Set (60 photographs)
Children (1) (107 photographs)
Box   93  
Children (2) (143 photographs)
Box   94  
Children (3) (166 photographs)
Box   95  
Children (4) (188 photographs)
Box   96  
Children-Baby Carriages (85 photographs)
Children-Dolls (1) (68 photographs)
Box   97  
Children-Dolls (2) (72 photographs)
Box   98  
Clergy (65 photographs) [view selected images]
Color cabinets (16 photographs)
Comic drawings with photos (8 photographs)
Darkroom manipulations/montages (44 photographs)
Disasters (8 photographs)
Early cabinets (2 photographs)
Family (1) (17 photographs)
Box   99  
Family (2) (167 photographs)
Box   100  
Family (3) (173 photographs)
Box   101  
Family-Weddings (36 photographs)
Female impersonators (5 photographs) [view selected images]
Graduation (24 photographs)
Groups-Children (12 photographs)
Groups-General (59 photographs)
Groups-Men (1) (27 photographs)
Box   102  
Groups-Men (2) (58 photographs)
Groups-Themed/role play (55 photographs)
Groups-Women (65 photographs)
Box   103  
Illustration reproductions (20 photographs)
Interior views (16 photographs)
Leisure (26 photographs)
Livestock (18 photographs)
Mackinac Island (29 photographs) [view selected images]
Medical (4 photographs) [view selected images]
Memorials (1) (44 photographs)
Box   104  
Memorials (2) (87 photographs)
Men (1) (64 photographs)
Box   105  
Men (2) (151 photographs)
Box   106  
Men (3) (139 photographs)
Men with decorations (36 photographs)
Box   107  
Merchants carnival (16 photographs) [view selected images]
Michigan legislature (33 photographs)
Michigan Military Academy (47 photographs)
Military (71 photographs)
Box   108  
Musicians (182 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   109  
Objects (34 photographs)
Occupations (157 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   110  
Outdoor views-Homes (49 photographs)
Outdoor views-Landscapes (21 photographs)
Outdoor views-Mills (16 photographs)
Outdoor views-Misc. buildings (50 photographs)
Outdoor views-Street signs/store fronts (56 photographs)
Box   111  
Parades (7 photographs)
Performers (177 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   112  
Pets (1) (155 photographs)
Box   113  
Pets (2) (154 photographs)
Box   114  
Photo pins (4 photographs)
Photos outside of Michigan (8 photographs)
Post mortem (29 photographs)
Prominent people (23 photographs) [view selected images]
Schools/students (54 photographs) [view selected images]
Transportation-Automobile (1 photograph) [view image]
Transportation-Horse (48 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   115  
Transportation-Passenger vessel (15 photographs)
Transportation-Railroad (15 photographs)
Uniforms-Fraternal organizations (145 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   116  
Uniforms-Miscellaneous (79 photographs)
Women (1) (89 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   117  
Women (2) (185 photographs) [view selected images]
Women-Fancy dress (25 photographs) [view selected images]
Box   118  
Women-Hats (41 photographs) [view selected images]
Women-Umbrellas (16 photographs)
Women-White dress (39 photographs) [view selected images]

Additional Descriptive Data

The Clements Library has created a complete list of photographers represented in the Tinder collection of cabinet photographs: Cabinet photographer index.

Related Materials

David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography.


Tinder, David V. Directory of Early Michigan Photographers. This reference work contains biographical information about virtually every known commercial and significant amateur photographer in the state of Michigan from the first known appearances in the 1840s into the early twentieth century.