Woolen Mill Studio

January 11, 2015

Click on the photo above to view their

Cabinet Card Wedding pictures.



I am convinced that if you want a particularly important document to be safely stored for a long time, don't put it in a safe deposit box, put it in a shoe box with your family pictures.  I think about how easily this picture could have disappeared forever with the numerous moves and life's events.  Not only did it survive their lifetime but it was kept through my Mom's lifetime and now under my care (uh-oh).  The individuals shown in the picture are Rufus (1876 - 1957) and Isabelle (1875 - 1956) Jones, my great grandparents.  Although only 4 years old at the time of my great grandmother's death I remember them both.


Cabinet Cards were popular from the 1860's to the 1890's.  This portrait was most likely created with a wet-plate glass negative and the image exposed on a gelatin bromide paper yielding the sepia toned appearance.  These prints were mounted on card stock often with the name of the photographer or photography studio printed or embossed on the card.  This one reads "Illinois College of Photography - 101-103 E. Jefferson St. Effingham, Illinois".  I dated this particular photo around 1897-1898 (before they were married).  The Illinois College of Photography was at the address identified on the card through 1899 before moving to their new location on Wabash Avenue in 1900).


Were it not for a course in the History of Photography I would have completely missed the historical significance of this picture.


  • This picture, taken about 117 years ago, represents the photography skills and styles of that time to include dress and pose.  My great grandmother was resting her right arm on a stand behind (and hidden) by my great grandfather (you can see the base of the stand behind his feet).  Exposure times were measured in long seconds and it helped to have props to hold the pose (also the reason many of the photo's of this era were sans smiles).


  • The Illinois College of Photography (located in Effingham, Illinois) taught students from around the world how to be professional photographers.  It was a highly regarded institution of photography.


  • As a result of researching this picture I learned that my great grandmother grew up in Effingham.


I wondered if they ever thought their pictures would be retained and saved for future family members to remember them by.   Any one of the family would treasure this print but I am particularly thankful to be the current caretaker due to its link to photography history.  Make sure to click on their picture to view a couple of their wedding photo cabinet cards.



Click here to view a Google street view of the building that housed the Illinois College of Photography at the time this picture was taken (now divided into two different businesses).

Click on the ad to view a copy of the the

Illinois College of Photography 1900 booklet.


The picture and writ'n is approved by the Editor-in-Chief of this outfit.

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