This Is America | Selections from the Collection of Dr. Joseph Holden

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This is America selections from the collection of dr. joseph holden




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Cover image: Item 33 — listing: page 19; full image: page ii Title Page images: Item 2 (pair) — listing: page 3

This is America selections from the collection of dr. joseph holden

r a re p hoto g a l l e r y | t o ro n t o | 2 0 1 8


a microcosm of a country within a single collection

This is America

sel ect ions from t h e col l e ction of dr . j ose p h h old e n Rare Photo Gallery is pleased to present a sampling of photographs from the collection of the late Dr. Joseph Holden of Pasadena. This is America is a microcosmic view of the moment through anonymous and small format photographs presented in roughly chronological order. These #45 items with individual narratives, although historical, relate to the present and have only been selectively culled from the ‘greater swamp.’ A true collector of collections, “Joe” started buying early travel photographs and albums, taking his own grand tours buying and collecting throughout Europe and the UK. A regular at auctions in Southern California between the 1970s and 1990s, he rarely missed a Rose Bowl flea market and was even known to buy the odd storage locker in default.

and obtaining examples by the masters of travel photography popular in the collecting market 30 or 40 years ago. Books, bought slowly at first, became a formula—ordering from the best photo publishers in their yearly catalogues, multiple copies were ordered of most of the best photo monographs published over the last 40 years, kept in the original boxes or shrink-wrap. Gravures and other processes were selected, spurred by his interest in the photographic image and its transference to the printed page. These included souvenir and view books related to Grand Tour albums, and in addition to monographs, histories, and artists’ books. Historical items included trade catalogues, ephemera and early photographic literature. His plan to retire into book dealing was taken away by time—Joe died in 2013. We will endeavor over time to issue highlights in select areas, showcasing the collection.

Making a Collection In his life as a collector, Holden possessed a keen eye for the collusion between everyday life and larger cultural structures, becoming one of the earliest collectors of vernacular photography. This catalogue, an initial offering, draws together a selection of Holden’s vernacular acquisitions, as they reflect a specific relation to America, although with a few migrants from other countries. Documenting the undocumented history of photography through discovery and acquisition, Joe’s passion was 19th century albums

Joseph Thaddeus Holden (1925-2013) earned his professional reputation as a pioneering neurobiologist, with his California laboratory being one of the earliest to identify the significant role of transport proteins in the function of amino acids.



2 - pair


Grandma Told Me 1 [Rufus] Anson, 589 Broadway

[Portrait in profile] 1/6th plate daguerreotype. Full pressboard case with geometric leaf design, old replaced hinge removed. Brass mat in oval, stamped. New York, c.1850s

4 Unidentified Daguerreotypist

[Twins] 1/6th plate daguerreotype. Half pressboard case with Peacock design, worn. Brass mat with rounded corner mat. Original seal, glass needs replacing. American, c.1850 Sisters? Twins? Certainly a nice portrait of two adolescents with near resembling features and outfits.

Light rouge tinting applied to his cheeks and lips, a stunning portrait.

5 2 Unidentified photographer

[Woman holding a black mask]; [Woman holding a white mask] (pair) Two CDV-size tintypes. American, 1873 Black mask image with pencil inscription, verso: Nellie Mcgill 1873. A wonderful pair of tintypes with a most intriguing untold story.

[Benjamin A.] Gifford Studio, Chetopa, Kansas

[Twins] Albumen print boudoir cabinet card c. 1883-4 A great portrait in a loving “heart” embrace. Also a rare example of Gifford’s (1859–1936) work when for a short period he settled in Chetopa, before becoming famous in Oregon and Washington with his important portraits of Indigenous people and the Dalles.

6 3 [occupational] Unidentified photographer

[Portrait of two carpenters] Tintype, CDV-size, fine. American, c. 1870 Fully on display, the tools of their trade.

Trader Art Gallery. Moberly, Missouri.

[Twins] Albumen print cabinet card c. 1884

7 S. A. Edmiston. Moberly, Missouri.

[Twins] Albumen print cabinet card c. 1887 Believed to be the same girls as in the previous item, a few years later, probably posing with their older sister on a studio couch.

rare photo gallery | the holden collection










8 [manipulated]

Dance and Shake the Frame

Unidentified photographer


[Yours Seriously! – Swigs–]

G. Ed. Anderson. Springville & Spanish Fork, Utah

Albumen print carte-de-visite, plain back. American, 1860s With evidence of a halo it is possible this is copied from a daguerrean source, ink painting to his outfit and facial hair, a charming chap with an obvious sense of humor.

9 [manipulated] Unidentified photographer

[Holding the Wall] Albumen print cabinet card c. 1890s Well-armed, he stands by a fantastic wall. Anderson was a renowned Mormon photographer who studied under Savage.

13 Unidentified Itinerant Photographer

Description of transport

[With my love]

Albumen print carte-de-visite, plain back fully annotated American, 1860s

Albumen print cabinet card c. 1890s

With a very well executed rustic wood frame, which has a later addition of hands and feet. The most curious part is the lengthy inscription on verso: Description of transport. –A pea jacket, black hat, dress black white [scarf] (unless previously destroyed .. … nut wood) …… ^ ….. under train over the middle life, expression-pleasing, voice baritone, visit JBM. A very strange description.

Embellished with a printed red heart. Inscribed: A. G. Wells alias Baldy; G. W. Wells, Bonanza, Cal[ifornia].

10 J. J. Todd. Alva, Oklahoma Territory

[Girl in the Mirror] Albumen print cabinet card c. 1890s Pencil verso: Henry Bishops pictures

11 Mullen Artistic Photographer. Lexington, Kentucky

[Lady in the Mirror] Sophia Markham Albumen print cabinet card c. 1880



rare photo gallery | the holden collection




15 – recto

15 – verso

On My Kodak

14 N. D. Courteau. Battle Creek, Michigan

[Photographic advertisement]


Albumen print cabinet card c. 1890s

[Boy with Umbrella]

Unidentified photographer

Gelatin silver print on larger grey mount, 4 ¾ x 3 ¾ in. American, c. 1900

Light, soiled verso.

Rubberstamp verso: A. S. E. Sanders, Springfield, Mo.

15 Unidentified Studio, [San Francisco, California]

Mamie Kelly

18 Unidentified photographer

Albumen print cabinet card c. 1886

Hello! This You? This is me!

Remarkable stamp, verso: J! M! J! MAMMA! RELATIVES! FRIENDS! ALL YE AGONIZING HEARTS! FORGIVE MY SLAYER. As I do and pray for Mamie Kelly of 22 Hayes St., Born 23 Sept. 1873. S. F. CAL. Shot, 10 Nov. 1886. N. E. Cor. POLK STREET & ASH AVE. Truth; Justice; Mercy.


Gelatin silver print mounted on card, 2 ¼ x 2 ¾ in. American, c. 1900 Inscription, recto and verso: Hello! This you? This is me! I want to wish you a happy birthday and many returns // Hope you’ll use the camera to record jolly good times! With a heartful of love, Audrey Joan. August 30-


Unidentified photographer

12705. Mary Vor. Life. Murder 1 degree st

Double-sided albumen print cabinet card San Francisco, c. 1887

Unidentified photographer

[Cat wearing specs] Gelatin silver print, 4 x 2 ¾ in. American, c. 1920

Mounted on the verso of a Brady, Washington. D.C. Cabinet portrait with faint pencil below: Schuyler Colfax vice president.

20 Unidentified photographer

[Flapper Couples] Gelatin silver print , 5 ¾ x 3 in. American, c. 1920s

rare photo gallery | the holden collection




18 – recto


18 – verso


22 – collection





Unidentified photographer

Unidentified Photographer

[Movement with a kick]

June Clyde [Hair bows]

Gelatin silver print photograph on Telke PC stock, 5 1/8 x 3 7/8 in. Continental, c. 1950

Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. American, c. 1940s

22 Unidentified Photographer

[Beach days; Photos for my mum] 16 gelatin silver prints, 1 ½ x 1 ¼ in. to 8 x 10 in. [California], c. 1925–35

26 Coleman’s Cute Studio, 412 Superior St. , Room 1, 2nd floor, Toledo, OH

2 yrs old [Child at piano, from behind] Gelatin silver print, 5 x 4 in. c. 1905

A wonderful group of snapshots depicting friends at the beach, in costume on stage, with a small prop plane, etc.

27 23 Unidentified Photographer/Publisher

CASABLANCA — La nouvelle Plage. Parc de Jeux P. Benaim. Gelatin silver print (real photo postcard), 3 ½ x 5 ½ in. Morocco, c. 1950

Coleman’s Cute Studio, 412 Superior St. , Room 1, 2nd floor, Toledo, OH

2 yrs old in Toledo[...] Gelatin silver print, 5 x 4 in. c. 1905 With inscription, verso: 2 yrs old in Toledo, all dressed to go to Theatre. Picture taken from rear because of large pink bow.

24 Unidentified Photographer | Artura Postcard

[View of a busy city street fair, taken from a ferris wheel] Gelatin silver print (real photo postcard), 3 ½ x 5 ½ in. American, c. 1920s Inscription, verso: This is a view taken from the top of the ferris wheal [sic] from the south side of town last Saturday was Tom birthday I got him 2 pair of socks and 2 hankerchief [sic].


rare photo gallery | the holden collection

28 Unidentified Photographer

Edith Johnson [Portrait from behind, face reflected in mirror] Gelatin silver print, 9 5/8 x 7 7/8 in. American, c. 1917










32 Unidentified Studio

[Interior view of kitchen, film set] Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. American, 1943

33 Unidentified Film Stills Photographer

[Film still: Mob scene at lighthouse] Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in., crease American, c. 1940s

34 Ansel Adams


Marston Cottage

Luckhaus Studio, 2716 W. 7th St. , Los Angeles

Gelatin silver print, mounted; 8 5/8 x 7 in. Los Angeles, c. 1930s

R.K.O. Still Studio

Signed in pencil on mount.

Gelatin silver print, 9 5/8 x 7 ½ in. c. 1940s

35 Unidentified Photographer



Floyd McCarty, Warner Bros.

Hand-coloured gelatin silver print, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ in. Hawaii, c. 1920s

[Backyard enclave] Gelatin silver print, 8 ¼ x 10 in. American, c. 1945

36 H. H. Bussian

31 Ben Gifford

Bakery Gelatin silver print, 7 1/2 x 9 5/8 in. Oregon, c. 1905

[The Boys: Ten women dressed in men’s clothes] Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. American, c. 1930s

rare photo gallery | the holden collection








Jack Golconda

M. Arthur Robinson, F.R.P.S.

[New York: Shoeshine boy]

[Thomas] Edison & [Henry] Ford

Gelatin silver print, 8 ¼ x 10 in. New York, c. 1945

Ferrotyped gelatin silver print, 9 ½ x 7 ¼ in. American, c. 1925

With ink inscription on recto: 29 Return to J Golconda

With inscription, verso: Mr Edi[so]n Mr. Ford / Edin + Ford at welding machine / Madison Sq. Garden Provenance: California Book Auctions 1982. Sale 186. Lot 553.

38 A. Aubrey Bodine

[Virginia Clean Coal Miner]


Gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 in. [Baltimore], c. 1953

Rose, N.Y.

Photographe’s stamp, verso: from THE FACE OF VIRGINIA By A. Aubrey Bodine.

Ferrotyped gelatin silver print, 10 x 8 in. American, c. 1920

39 H. & H. Ca[---]d, Photographers

[Eleanor Roosevelt at a Zionist Organization of America rally] Ferrotyped gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. Bronx, c. 1945–50 With photographers’ stamp on verso.

Hellen Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy

With inscriptions, verso: Left — Hellen Keller; Right — Anne Sullivan Macy // Property American Foundation for the Blind, 41 Union Sq. West, New York City // Please return to Jo Henry Scattergood, 20 So. 12 St., Phila, Pa.

43 H. S. Duperly, Photographer

[Studio Portrait, Mother and Son] Albumen print, 9 x 7 in. Jamaica, c. 1890

40 Stanart Photo, 1907 Rodeo Road, Los Angeles

[Nixon and company] Gelatin silver print, 8 x 10 in. American, c. 1972 With photographer’s stamp, verso: STANART PHOTO 1907 Rodeo Road, LOS ANGELES CALIF. AX. 4-5261. And inscriptions, ink, verso: Louis [Tabuli?] / Mayor of LA? / Richard Nixon; f568-10C.


rare photo gallery | the holden collection

44 Parker, Photographer, San Diego

758 Navajo Warrior. Gallop. on the A&P.R.R. Albumen print cabinet card New Mexico, November 1890 With Photographer’s stamp, verso: Parker, Photographer, 740 Fifth Street, San Diego, Cal. Largest Collection of Views in Southern California.; and inscription, ink: New Mexico, Novem. 1890







45 Unidentified Photographer

[From tears to laughter] 5 printing-out-paper prints mounted to album leaf, 13 7/8 x 11 in. American, c. 1905