Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

Here we have couple number two, lower left and lower right of the first open page of the Dobb Long Book. The gentleman is what I would call austere. He is not a man I would want to debate as to whether work can be done on the Sabbath, if you get my impression. His wife is plump and serene of face, with a rather tight fitting bodice and a bit of adornment. I find it interesting that the pattern on the fabric of her sleeves matches the pattern on her lapel, but the body of the dress does not have a pattern. I have not seen a lot of contrasting sleeves. Not being able to see the colors of the dress it is not possible to guess how it looked. These cabinet cards are on green backing, which we know to have been in use in the mid-1880s. Green cards were more expensive than the more common maroon and black cards, so therefore are less commonly found. Lucky us, we have two!

The photographer was Azariah M. Burgess, who was a photographer in both Holland, MI and Muskegon, MI. There is an obituary for Mr. Burgess dated January 18, 1894, indicating that Mr. Burgess had crossed the street from his studio to visit at the store. While there, he said he did not feel well, and then seemed as though he was going to fall down. He was assisted back to the living quarters portion of his studio, where he died ten minutes later. Unfortunately, his wife was visiting out of state and was not with him at the time of his death. Mr. Burgess had only returned to Muskegon six months prior to his sudden death, although he had lived there previously. Very sad.

This is a proud Sepia Saturday post! Please click through and enjoy sepia images from around the world.

11 thoughts on “I would call him austere

  1. Alan Burnett says:

    Oh what a face he has. And when you enlarge it and get it to fill your computer screen it almost gets inside your mind. I want to know what he was thinking.


  2. Jo says:

    He is rather austere, but his wife looks very kindly, and probably cuddly :-) Jo


  3. Kristin says:

    Amazing how many sepia saturday posts are located in michigan. well, he probably didn’t realize his wife wasn’t there since he only took ten minutes to go.


  4. Karen Sather says:

    Very sad indeed! Ah yes he had a bit of too long side burns maybe? But it was the style I fear back then….amazing and glad that it’s really gone today! Great photos of them both…in fine condition!


  5. Pat says:

    That is a stern gaze from his eyes, certainly! And the sideburns, or beard are different in the way his face and chin are trimmed clean around them….

    They could have been the subjects of the children’s poem, Jack Sprat and wife!


  6. Muse Swings says:

    And there will be not talking at the dinner table either. He does look stern and austere. The missus probably did her best to keep the children in tow when he was around, but laughing and enjoying cookies and life in general when he was out and about.


  7. IntenseGuy says:

    He sort of has a Charles Dickens – Old School Master look to him – Icabod Crane-ish even. As a couple they could perform “Jack Sprat.”

    He, if one can be allowed the indulgence, looks like a Mr. Dobb to me. :)


  8. Christine says:

    Mostly, I would like to free that poor woman from that dress. I feel short of breath just looking at her. That must have been so uncomfortable.
    I can’t decide about the gentleman. he looks very serious, but I almost detect the hint of a smile.


  9. Tattered and Lost says:

    I look at the two of them and think of Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean.

    It’s interesting how the photographer is the only one whose history lives on.


  10. Her eyes were beautiful and I love the braid on her head..I like Christine just say take the dress off..it looks uncomfortable. He looks like a book keeper to me..and those numbers better stay in place..:)


  11. Larry says:

    They are such striking shots that tell such stories. I really like seeing them and the clothes are great to see also.


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