Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

The Dobb Long Book allows for two photos on the left hand page and two on the right hand page. These photos are the top left and top right of the first open page. Since they are next to each other and by the same photographer, I am making the assumption that they are a couple. I will date the photos to 1880.

The photographer was H. H. Cole, who had studios in both Pekin and Delavan, IL. Click here to see a confirmed photo of the photographer. Readers, is it just me, or does our photo of the gentleman above look remarkably like the photo of H. H. Cole?

The Tazewell County Historical Society has several of Cole’s photographs in their collection. Cole established his business in Pekin in 1879 and was there at least until 1900. Cole had previously been a daguerreian photographer in Peoria, IL having purchased a business there from John J. Harper in 1857.

UPDATE: I have heard back from Mike, the site administrator at the Tazewell County Historical Society and he does not believe we have a photo of H. H. Cole. He did tell me that H. H. Cole once photographed Abraham Lincoln, when Lincoln was running for Illinois State Senate against Stephen Douglas (he lost), and later was a delegate to the convention that nominated Lincoln as the Republican candidate for President. Apparently Cole had to come home without his hat as he had thrown his silk top hat into the air to celebrate Lincoln getting the nomination and the hat was never returned. Thanks Mike for all the interesting information about H. H. Cole!

5 thoughts on “Our first couple

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    You are right! The photo of the photographer sure looks like this man! I think the similar beards (they could have easily had the same barber) really makes for the “look-a-like.”

    If these are a couple – and there isn’t any reason to think otherwise – one might assume they are Nina’s parents – if she assembled the photo album, the pictures would predate her death in 6/1898… going out on a limb – would (could?) this mean she moved from Peoria, IL to the coast of Lake Michigan somewhere around Holland? Not knowing Nina’s maiden name and having Nina “vanish” from the records – we might assume that Nina was married and died between the 1880 and 1900 US censuses – and that is why she “doesn’t appear”. If the previous photo of Mother and Baby is Nina and her child – the only real “clue” to finding them might be photo-dating and trying to guess her age in order to generate an estimate for her birth year – and then looking for a Nina born near Peoria, Illinois around that time – its a slim chance – but it might work.


  2. Tattered and Lost says:

    Oh my yes, he does look like the photographer. This may explain his rather quizzical expression. He’s trying to figure out why his wife is giving him the eye.


  3. The Gentlemen look very much alike..very interesting! :)


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