The Lovely Young Girl at BAKER'S ART GALLERY

For this weeks Sepia Saturday I give you two cabinet cards of a lovely unknown girl. Both were taken at Baker's Art Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, date unknown.

Since I can't do any research about the young girl, I find I can do some on Baker's Art Gallery which may lead us to make some conclusions about the girl.
Baker's Art Gallery was founded by Lorenzo Marvin Baker. I have found the following biographies:
Lorenzo Marvin Baker (1834-1924). Photographer, born in Copenhagen, New York, April 20, 1834, and active in Columbus (Franklin) format the early 1860s until about 1897. Baker's Art Gallery eventually employed two of his sons, Lorenzo N. and Duane Henry Baker, as well as Jon Samuel Schneider, and was the best-known portrait studio in the state capital until well into the twentieth-century. Between 1874 and 1886, nearly thirty first and second Ohio State Fair prizes went to L. M. Baker for photographs of every description, both plain and finished in watercolor or ink. In later years, the firm made a speciality of commercial work and genre scenes (some of which were shown at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition), and continued successfully until the mid-1950s, when it finally closed. It's founder died in Columbus on February 26, 1924. (SOURCE: Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900)

L. M. BAKER of Baker's Art Gallery, came to Columbus, in 1854 and became a clerk in a store, and later at the Neil House; was an officer at the penitentiary under Governor Chase; served a short time in the army during- the late unpleasantness; went into the photograph business in 1862, and the net year established the present gallery, of which he has been the head ever since. Baker's Art Gallery has the finest are rooms in Ohio, and it is a demonstrated fact that the work of the artists are the best produced in the United States. They were awarded the gold medal for the best specimens of photographs exhibited at the Semi-Centennial at Boston and at the World's Fair at Chicago. (SOURCE: Ohio American Local History Nework)
His son Duane H. Baker:
DUANE HENRY BAKER (1859-1934). Photographer, active in Columbus (Franklin) from 1878 until at least 1909. A son of Lrenzo Marvin Baker, he was born in Columbus in October 1859, and he worked in his father's studio for more than twenty years before gradually taking over the firms' business affairs early in the twentieth century. He later passed the Baker Art Gallery on to his son Lorenzo P. Paker. Duane Henry Baker died in Columbus on April 19, 1934. (SOURCE: Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900)

DUANE H. BAKER, of Baker's Art Gallery, Columbus. Son of L. M. Baker. Finished his education at the Ohio State University, and has since been connected with Baker's Art Gallery, he being business manager and owning a third interest. Was a veteran member of the Columbus Cadets, six years a member of Governor's Guards. Socially a K. of P. and an Elk. (SOURCE: Ohio American Local History Nework)
And the third partner in the business, John Samuel Schneider:
JOHN SAMUEL SCHNEIDER (1860-1926). Photographer, active in Columbus (Franklin) from 1880 to 1912 or later. Born in Galion (Crawford), January 31, 1860, Schneider attended German Wallace College, Berea (Cuyahoga), and trained two years with William H. Moore, then worked under George William Edmondson in NOrwalk (Huron). In 1880 he settled in Columbus, where he was part owner and principal camera operator of Duane H. and Lorenzo Marvin Baker's studio from 1886 until well into the twentieth century. IN 1901 he served as president of the National Photographer's Association and was elected several times to head the Ohio State Photographer's Association. Some of his carefully posed genre scenes were shown at the 1900 Paris Universal Exposition. (SOURCE: Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900)

JOHN S. SCHNIEDER, Of Baker's Art Gallery, Columbus. Son of Rev. John S. Schnieder; completed his education at the German Wallace College, Berea; began as a photographer at Marion and after a short time at Norwalk came to Columbus as one of Baker's staff and in 1886 acquired a third interest in the business. He is in charge of the operating rooms. (SOURCE: Ohio American Local History Nework)
And then there was the youngest son, Lorenzo N. Baker, who was not a partner in the gallery:
LORENZO N. BAKER *1861-1905). Photographer, born in Columbus (Frannklin), December 16, 1861, the younger brother of Duane Henry Baker and second sone of Lorenzo Marvin Baker and his wife, Samantha. He worked in this father's Art Gallery during the 1880s, but by 1890 he had established his own business in Piqua (Miami). In 1899 he was again listed at the family home in Columbus, where he died, February 10, 1905. (SOURCE: Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900)
The two photos I have are blank on the back, but here's an example of their advertising on an earlier card showing their studio.

(SOURCE: Sheaf -Ephemera)

Here is an actual photo of the Gallery from the Ohio Historical Society files.

Here is a photo of the front display window.

And here's a shot of their reception room.

The two photos above are from a vintage book, The Photographic Journal of America, Vol. 31, which can be read here at Google Books. It's quite interesting to read.

What I really find fascinating about Baker's Art Gallery are some of the famous names and otherwise interesting folks that walked through their door:

Actress Baby Lillie Havre here and here

So, this leaves me with a few questions and possible facts.

It's likely our lovely young girl walked through the Baker's reception room and possibly met one of the men shown above. Now, was she simply a well off young lady who posed twice at the studio or was she an actress who brought a change of clothes for a one time sitting?

Both of these images of the young girl are from Bert's collection. Thank you Bert!

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  1. I never realized I ought to be following this one as well! Count me in. I like the ad card - not only a faithful representation of the studio, but artfully done. Lat but not least, the history lessons are well worth the read.

  2. Welcome aboard!

    I love the drawing on the back. I wish the cards I have had the drawing. Some of the back of the cards are more interesting than the photo on the front.

  3. One Man's Treasure11/19/2010

    Nice work. It's always good to find information about apparently obscure photographers.I just checked my collection and sure enough I have one by Baker of a circus boy.Find him at my blog under 'childhood'.

  4. Oh, that shot of the circus boy is wonderful! He looks so much older than his years.

    Folks, you can see it here:


  5. That first one (on Bakers Art Gallery) is that a painting ?

  6. I like these photographs, very much. And it's great to imagine who she might be, and what sort of life she led. Actress of the day? Maybe.

  7. She's beautiful, I'm voting for actress with two changes of clothes since the hair stays the same.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed this entry. I am a lover of history no matter what it is about. I never thought to tell the history of photographer on my formal pictures. I am still gathering old photos that were put away, to post here. I love this meme. Thanks for visiting my neck of the woods.

  9. She looks to be fairly young to me - perhaps 15 or 16. Fascinating research you've done here!


  10. You're like Sherlock Homes!

  11. The girl is lovely. The second photo is really a graceful pose, I'm sure meant to capture her beauty, which it did.

    I find it interesting that in the one biography, it states that Baker served some time in the military "during the late unpleasantness" which is of course code for the Civil War, yet by 1862 he was in the photography business, i.e. he didn't serve very much time since the war started in 1861. The early troops were only enlisted for 6 months, I believe.

  12. Thanks fellow Sepiators.

    And Haddock, I'm not sure which image you're referring to. All are photos except the one in red which is the printed drawing on the back of a Baker's Studio Card for advertising purposes.

  13. Fascinating post. The young girl is beautiful. I would love to adopt her.

  14. This is such an interesting post - to learn the history of the photographic studio. The portraits are beautiful. I think the high collars are interesting. I guess she wouldn't have felt the cold so much in the winter.

  15. This is what I find so fascinating about the net. Access to information that otherwise would be very difficult to find. I doubt I'd find much at my small local library in California about Baker's Art Gallery. Instead I've filled in some pieces of the puzzle about this young girl even if it's nothing more than knowing a room she once walked into and the faces of someone she met. Gives a bit more life to the image.

    Glad you've enjoyed lt.

  16. I am just amazed that you could find so much information on Baker's Art Gallery and the staff. The photos of the place itself are amazing. The girl is lovely...the word that comes to mind is beatific.

  17. A wonderful, wonderful post and just the thing for our 50th Sepia S. The pictures are stunning and matched by the quality and the scope of the research. Photographic studios of this era are always fascinating (photography must have been a wild, trail-blazing activity at the time).

  18. Thanks Alan. The 50th is always worth something special.

  19. Her gowns must have been lovely..I wanted to see the entire gown. She is a beautiful young lady.:)

  20. Oh yes, I hadn't even thought of how lovely her full dresses must have been. I wish someone had written her name on the back. It's a shame.

  21. Baker-in-law12/05/2010

    I was doing ancestry research on my wife's family, she's a Baker, and I'd known of their having a successful photography studio, and her family has a handful of presidential photos taken by the Baker's Art Gallery hanging in their house, but I was just amazed to hear all about their studio and how many other people had their photos. I'm an artist myself and have really enjoyed all your comments. I would love to start a collection of my own, can anyone give me some advice on how I can find photos from their gallery, and what I should expect to pay for them? Thank you all for your research, information and comments.

    1. I am the great great grandson of Lorenzo Marvin Baker (great grandson of Duane Henry Baker). Can you please provide me your wife's first name? As historical note, Duane's son Lorenzo Philip Baker (my grandfather) worked at the studio for a short period of time. He died tragically at a young age while on vacation with his wife Helen Chilcote Baker

    2. Sadly, the person who sent in this comment, Baker-in-law, has never returned so I wouldn't hold your breath on having them respond. Sorry.

  22. How fortuitous that I did this post and you found it!

    I became owner of the two photos because of being given a fellow collector's collection.

    I would suggest doing searches regularly on eBay typing in "Baker's Art Gallery" in quotes. I imagine the prices will vary greatly depending on the subject. I have no idea what the cost might be. If you're lucky you might find them for a dollar each. Generally I'd say starting prices for unknowns might be around 4-5 dollars. Someone famous is obviously going to cost a lot more than an unknown.

    If you email me your address I'll keep it on hand in case I see anything in the future.

    So glad to know my sometimes longwinded posts end up having value.

  23. I have an 8" x 10 photo of magician Howard Thurston from Baker Art Gallery.. does anyone know when it was taken? Value? History? Thank you...

    1. Sorry, can't help you with this, but this is a very popular post with a lot of visits so perhaps someday someone will come along with an answer.

  24. I'm with Farside - I want to see the entire young woman... :)

  25. Anonymous5/19/2014

    I found a large portrait of a young woman and a child dated 1899 by Baker Art Gallery, Columbus, Ohio, in the wall of an old house that we were re-modeling. I framed it and it is hanging in my bedroom since 1992. Is there any value to these portraits?

    1. I'm afraid I'm not the one to ask. You'll need to do some online searching for prices at auction houses.