This image comes from the collection my friend Bert gave me. There is no information given other than what is on the back by the photo studio.
Either this was a very precocious child or it's an actor. I say "it" because I'm just not sure if it is a boy or girl. I'm leaning towards girl, but then again the clothing seems a bit theatrical, as does the hair which is wild looking for the time.
I'm dating this photo at around the late 1870s because of the information I've found about the photographer, B. F. Howland.
Benjamin Franklin Howland was born on March 1, 1828 in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He died in Oakland, California on August 6, 1900. During this span of years he appears to have led an interesting life, crisscrossing the country numerous times. Married twice, his first wife died shortly after their marriage in Massachusetts in 1854. He married his second wife on December 10, 1865 in California. They had eight children of which four were still alive upon Howland's death.
As a child he went on adventurous sailing voyages with his father, a captain of whalers and merchant ships. He worked as an engraver, did a bit of mining, running mule trains, and of course photography studios on both sides of the country.
Read the bio information below which is from the book Pioneer Photographers of the Far West: A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865.
Here is an ad for his studio in Syracuse, New York which he ran from around 1857 to 1864.
(SOURCE: Fulton History)
By 1865 he was back in California. He had previously gone to California in 1851. Because of all his moving you will find portraits he took in various collections all over the country with different addresses for various studios.
Fascinating to think of this adventurous man taking the portrait of this child who looks to be a bit of a wild one.
We'll never know the story about this child. And so it goes for another Sepia Saturday post.