Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Family Photos: Millard Hudson's Main Street Studio

 Does your family photo collection include any cabinet cards? A cabinet card is usually a 4½ x 6½ inch photo mounted on cardboard. These were popular in the late 1800’s, but they quickly went out of style with the introduction of the affordable, easy-to-use Kodak “Brownie” camera in 1900. Cabinet cards are nice because they often identify the photographer on the back, which can help you place a photo in a time and place.

This photo of Ella A. Applegate was taken at Millard Hudson's photography studio at 9 1/2 Main Street opposite the Hotel DeArmond in Greensburg. Millard A. Hudson was born in Napoleon, Decatur County in 1858. He owned Greensburg's leading photography studio for a number of years before he quit due to health problems.

There are many ways to date a photo and identify where it was taken. In Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900, Photo Detective Maureen A. Taylor explains how to use hairstyles to date photos. This can be a great place to start if you have no other clues. The short, frizzed bangs in this photo indicate that it was probably taken between 1880 and 1890 - and the bangs could be fake ones attached to a comb!

To learn more about decoding your family photos, you might like another book by Taylor: Uncovering your ancestry through family photographs. Both books are available at the Greensburg-Decatur County Public Library. If you would like to share a photo taken at Millard Hudson's studio, please contact us!

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