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Carte de Visite - Hoboken Photographers

Several years back, on a whim, I bought on ebay a packet of carte de visite photographs by Hoboken photographers. I came across them a while ago and wondered about the photographers who had taken the images.

They were: Charles de Lapotterie, Charles F May, Adolf Esselborn, Hector Kraus, George W. Kitchell and Louis Nagel.

Carte de visite were inexpensive and produced in high volume. They were shared with family and friends. In 1870 it cost about $2 for a dozen images.

The back of the card was used as a form of advertisement and generally included the photographer's name and address.

Charles F May (c. 1817 - ) - 140 Washington street - Listed in the Hoboken Directory from at least 1868 to at least 1874

140 Washington street (old number). Between 3rd and 4th streets. After 1892 316 Washington street

Charles F May sold his Photography business at 140 Washington street, Hoboken to Charles De Lapotterie.

In 1862 C.F. May, 519 8th Avenue, New York, photographed and published several Civil War composite images of Union officers which included photographs of Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant. (Library of Congress)

The Defenders of our Union

1864: March 26, New York Daily Herald - WANTED A photographer Perfect in printing and toning, by C. F. May, 261 Greenwich st corner Robinson

1866: Hoboken, May, Charles F., photographer, 140 Washington, Hbn (Gopsill's Jersey City and Hoboken Directory for the Year 1866 Page 256)

1868, 1872, 1874: Charles F May 140 Washington Hoboken Occupation: Photographer Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1868, 1872, 1874

1870: Hoboken ward 2, Chas F May 53, born Hesse, photographer, $2,000, Louisa May 49, Hesse, Linda May 23, Hesse, --- Jewelry, Anna May 18, Hesse, Addie May 12 New York, Charlie May 7, New York

Printed on back: C. F May Photographer 140 Washington st bet 3rd and 4th streets Hoboken

Charles de Lapotterie (1842 - ) - 140 Washington street - Listed in the Hoboken Directory from at least 1876 to at least 1893

140 Washington street (old number). Between 3rd and 4th streets. After 1892 - 316 Washington street.

Charles de Lapotterie was at 140 Washington street from 1874 to 1892. He bought the studio of Charles F May. The building was twenty by seventy-five feet divided into several room that served different functions.

Charles de Lapotterie was one of the leading and most successful photographers in Hoboken. He was born in Holland circa 1842 and immigrated to the US in 1864. He learned photography from his father who lived in Brooklyn. He had a business in the Bowery in New York City starting in 1862. Later he went to Kansas City for three years. He went to Hoboken in 1873 where he bought the establishment of Charles F May who had been in business at 140 Washington street, Hoboken since 1865. The building was 20 x 75 feet and included "reception parlors, operating rooms etc." Mr. de Lapotterie had an excellent reputation as an "artist of acknowledged ability." (1887 Quarter Century Progress)

1865: Brooklyn 18th ward, frame house one family, Chas Delapottrie 50, engraver, born Holland, Mary Delapottrie 44, born Holland, Chas Delapottrie 24, photographer, born Holland, Adriana Delapottrie 21, hatter, born Holland, Louisa Delapottrie 18, born Holland, Justina Delapottrie 13, born Holland, Antonette Delapottrie 9, born New York Edmund Delapottrie 8, born Green??, Frank Delapottrie 5, born New York, Philip H Delapottrie 3, born Kings

1867: Photographers etc., Charles Delapotterie 363 Bowery New York City, New York, USA Publication Title: Wilson's Business Directory of New York City, for 1867-68

1871, 1873: Kansas City, 546 Main, C. de Lapotterie, photography

1871: A fire in Kansas City in July 1871 resulted in the loss of property to many people including: De La Potterie photographer, all lost. Value not ascertained." (Daily Kansas Tribune)

1876, 1884, 1879, 1889, 1892, 1893: De Lapotterie, Charles, 140 Wash'n, H.

1875: Delapotter Male 12 Mar 1875 Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey Father: Charles Delapotter FHL Film Number: 494177

1879: Hoboken, New Jersey Birth - Male child to Charles De Lapotterie age 37 and wife, May age 32 October 10 (LDS)

1880: 140 Washington street, "Losfollene", Charles, porter, born Holland, parents born Germany, Augusta 32, wife, born Germany, Otto age 1 son

1880: Otto D Lapotterie - Birth Date: abt 1880 Birth Place: United States - Death Date: 24 May 1880 - Death Place: Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey - Death Age: 7 months Marital Status: Single Gender: Male Residence: New Jersey Father Birth Place: Germany Mother Birth Place: Holland Comments: Life in N.J. FHL Film Number: 589827

1881: Delaptterie Female Birth Date: 9 Jul 1881 Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey Father: Chas Delaptterie Mother: May FHL Film Number: 494193

1889: De Lapotterie, Charles 140 Washington, Hoboken Photographer

1889: Mons. de la Potterie, an honorary member of the Hoboken Camera Club and a professional photographer "of old reputation", conducted a group photograph "by magnesium flash light" of the photographers participating in a competitive exhibition On November 1, 18889.

Printed on back: C de Lapotterie - Photographer -- 140 Washington street Hoboken bet 3rd and 4th street

Hector Kraus (1847 - 1898) - 175 Washington ave. - In Hoboken from at least 1876 to 1878

175 Washington street, Hoboken (old number) - "Opposite Odd Fellow's Hall" (172-174 Washington street - mid block between 4th and 5th streets)

The Sanborn Fire Insurance map shows a brick building with a wood frame section behind it at 175 Washington street. - east side of street.

Adolph Esselborn claimed to be the "sucessor" of Hector Kraus. Adolph was listed in the Hoboken Directory in 1877. Hector Kraus was listed in the 1878 directory in Hoboken.

Birth 1849: Darmstadt Germany: Johann Hector Kraus Gender: Male Baptism Age: 0 Birth Date: 27 Apr 1847 Baptism Date: 14 Mai 1847 (14 May 1847) Baptism Place: Stadtpfarrei Evangelisch, Darmstadt, Starkenburg, Hesse-Darm Residence Place: Darmstadt, Hessen, Germany Father: Friedrich Wilhelm Franz Alexander Kraus Mother: Magdalene Elisabeth Wilhelmine Roessler FHL Film Number: 1190510

In 1875 Hector Kraus invented a new style of picture called Chromo-Photographes which resemble old fashioned "hallotype".

CHROMO PHOTOGRAPHS - A New Process originated and introduced by Hector Kraus

By the application of this process every photographer is enabled at a trifling expense to produce a beautiful style of picture having the appearance of the finest burnt-in enamel. No knowledge of the art of painting is required

For information etc. appley to Scovill Mfg Co. New Yrk

(The Philadelphia Photographer January 1875)

1875: Mr. Kraus gave instruction in the art of chromo-photography for $10 a session. Cost of glass $2 to $4 per dozen - Chromo preservation 50 cents per bottle.

1876: Hector Kraus 175 Washington Hoboken Occupation: Photographer Publication Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1876

1877: Chromo-Photography is "all the rage" just now throughout the country. (The Photographic Times, Volume 7)

1878: Hector Kraus 175 Washington Hb'kn, Occupation: Photographer Publication Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1878

1880: Hector Kraus, Arrival Date 30 Jun 1880, Age 34, Place of Origin Darmstadt, Port of Departure Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France Destination USA Port of Arrival New York, New York, USA Ship Name Westphalia, cabin passenger

1881: Two "unpretentious Germans", Hector Kraus and Hermann Linde, rented a spacious loft on the second and third floors above a hardware store at 106 Washington street, Hoboken where they created a studio. They installed a 6 horse power steam engine which powered an electric generator, which in turn powered a light of 2,000 candles. The lamp was part of a complex camera that with one minute exposure transferred an image on to a linen canvas. Pictures of any proportions from 1 foot to 50 feet square could be produced in fine detail. The fabric could be washed, ironed or sponged without damage to the image. The canvas could be waxed and painted on with color. "Show cards, window shades, stage scenes and the decoration of tapestries" were among the possible applications of the process. (New York Times 19 April 1881)

1882: Marriage Hector Kraus 8 Jan 1882 Manhattan, New York, USA Spouse: Susanna Robolsky Certificate Number: 9174

January 8, 1882 Hector Kraus, age 34, father Alexander, mother Elizabeth nee Rossier married Susanna Robolsky age 20 Father William mother Anna nee Kares both born Hesse Darmstadt, Germany. (LDS)

Hector was listed in the Harrisburg Pa directories in, 1884, 1887, 1891.

In November 1884 a notice was published in the Harrisburg Daily Independent that the partnership between Hector Kraus and Christian R. Roshon had been dissolved. Hector was continue the business of photography at the "old stand" at 408 Market street.

In 1884 he advertised that portraits could be take at night with electric lights.

1884 May advertisement - Harrisburg Telegram - H. Kraus 408 Market street, making "cabinet photographs at $2 per dosen without joining a club".

By 1886 it was said that the pictures were remarkably good "for this source of illumination, the details and definition being better than anything of this kind we have seen", (Anthony's Photographic Bulletin)

In 1890 Kraus was experimenting with "flash" photography. (The St. Louis and Canadian Photographer, Volume 16)

Flash-Light Portraiture by Hector Kraus circa 1890

In 1891 John B. Roberts purchased the photo art gallery of Hector Kraus at 408 Market street, Harrisburg.

In 1892 Hector was listed in Brooklyn ward 26 age 43 born Germany photographer, with Suzanne age 29, Charlotte age 4 and Ferdinand age 8.

In 1895 Hector Kraus was interested in a newly patenteded process in Germany to make colored photos.

1896: New York Tribune - 14 March - "M." J. Kraus, a Brooklyn photographer, sued Mrs. Erastus Newton of Patchogue Long Island for $5,000. Mr. Kraus had been living in Evergreen Cottage in Patchogue and had a photographe gallery in the town until he unexpectedly retuned to New York. The landlord brought suit for rent. Kraus settled. "and then Mrs. Newton had him taken into custody on account of his board bill. He did not pay, and Mrs Newton got an attachment on his stock." Kraus brought suit for damages.

1897: Hector Kraus 110 Van Sicklen av Brooklyn, New York, USA Occupation: Artist Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1897

1897 & 1898: Hector J Kraus, Inventor, 110 Van Sicklen av Residence Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1898

1898: Death Hector J Kraus Death Date: Dec 1898 Cemetery: Fresh Pond Crematory and Columbarium Burial or Cremation Place: Middle Village, Queens County, New York, United States of America

Joh'nes H Kraus Age: 50 Birth Year: abt 1848 Death Date: 5 Dec 1898 Death Place: Kings, New York, USA Certificate Number: 20261

1905: M Susanna Kraus 45 Charlotte Kraus 17, milliner, A Ferdinand Kraus 21, clerk law office,

Printed on back: Hector Kraus - Photographic Artist 175 Washington street. Opp. Odd Fellow's Hall Hoboken NJ - Duplicates can be had at any time

Louis Nagel (1826 - ) 192 Washington street - between 5th and 6th streets

Louis Nagel had a photography studio at 192 Washington street in Hoboken from 1868 to 1887.

1872: Louis Nagel, 192 Washington street, photographer

1873: L Nagel Hoboken New York German Photographic Association

1874: Advertised in the Stevens Institute Year book. - L. Nagel, Photographer Portraits in Oil, Crayon, India Ink, Water Colors etc. - 192 Washington street Hoboken

1875: Louis Nagel, 192 Washington Street, Hoboken, N. J. Photographs Diploma (Documents of the Assembly of the State of New York, Volume 10 By New York (State). Legislature. Assembl)

1878, 1879, 1881, 1884, 1885, 1887: Louis Nagel 192 Washington Hb'kn Hoboken, New Jersey, USA Occupation: Photographer Publication Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1878

1880: 192 Washington street, Louis Nagle 54, photographer, born Cologne, Christena Nagle 48, born Baden, Zelmo Hirchburg 6, son born New York

In the 1881 Stephens' Eccentric yearbook : L Nagel - photographer - portraits in oils crayon, india ink, water colors etc. 192 Washington street


L. Nagel, Photographer, No. 192 Washington Street. - Great progress has been made in the photographic art during the last decade and processes have been discovered until it might be said that perfection has been attained. Among those who produce the finest artistic work in Hoboken is Mr. L. Nagel, whose photographs betray a mastery of the art, showing harmony in their composition, beauty in finish, and truth in their outlines, in which respects his work is not a mere likeness but a perfect portrait, graceful and pleasing to the eye. Mr. Nagel is the oldest photographer in Hoboken, and has been engaged in the business since 1868. He executes all kinds of work, from the stately cabinet-picture to the carte de visite and in all his efforts, care, and skill and a thorough knowledge of the art is quickly discernible. He has handsome, spacious reception and operating rooms and also a great variety of beautiful scenic backgrounds for producing beautiful effects, so that all tastes can be gratified in the most satisfactory manner. Mr. Nagel's pictures have always been greatly admired and since he has introduced the new process for taking them in a moment, they are pronounced the most perfect photograph pictures that have ever been seen in this vicinity. Mr. Nagel is from Germany, but has been in this country a number of years.

Industries of New Jersey: Hudson, Passaic and Bergen counties By Richard Edwards, 1883

Printed on back: Photographed by L Nagel 192 Washington st Hoboken NJ between 5th and 6th streets

Printed on back: Photographed by L Nagel 192 Washington st Hoboken NJ between 5th and 6th streets

Printed on back: Louis Nagel Photographic Gallery 192 Washington st Hoboken NJ between 5th and 6th streets

Printed on back: Louis Nagel Photographic Gallery 192 Washington st Hoboken NJ between 5th and 6th streets

Christian Durstewitz - (1866 - ) - 192 Washington street - between 5th and 6th streets - new number 508 Washington streeet

1880: Third street, Wm. Durstewitz 49, Prussia, widower, cigar manufactuer, Lizzie Holscher 20, daughter, Arlet Holscher 28 son in law, Christian Durstewitz 14, photography gallery, Wm. Durstewitz 12, at school

1887: "At the last meeting of the German Photographers' Association, a series of successful experiments with the Gaedicke and Miethe Magnesium flash light were made. This powder, as has recently been stated in these columns, is composed of magnesium, chlorate of potash, and sulphide of antimony. The experiments were conducted by President Mildenberger, of the Association, assisted by Mr. Louis Nagel of Hoboken." (The Photographic Times, Volume 17)

1900: Central ave. Jersey City, Christian Durstewitz 34, artist, Clare Durstewitz 32 Barbara F Durstewitz 10 William Durstewitz 8 Florence Luckhardt 74, "s in law", Teresa Meinsinger 17, servant

1902: "FOR SALE an old established Photography Gallery owner has two places desires to sell one" - Christian Durstewitz, 508 Washington St., Hoboken, N.J

Esselborn, Adolf (c 1858 - 1924) - 204 Washington street - In Hoboken in 1877
204 Washington street (old Number) - Between 5th and 6th streets

1858: Birth Germany.

Back of undated carte de visite

Adolf Esselborn
(Successor to Hector Kraus)

Photographic Artist

204 Washington Street

Bet. 5th and 6th sts Hoboken, N. J.

Duplicates can be had at any time

1877: Adolph Esselborn (home) 175 Washington Hoboken Occupation: Photographer Publication Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1877

1883: A. Esselborn, Essex street corner of Houston, was the secretary of the German Photographic Society of New York

1885: Adolph Esselborn Marriage Date: 3 Oct 1885 Manhattan, New York, USA Spouse: Louisa Ottendorff Certificate Number: 49892

1887: A Esselborn 877 Forest ave was a member and the secretary of the German Photographic Society of New York


"PHOTOGRAPHY AT A CHARITY FAIR. - At the fair for the benefit of the German Hospital, Der Verein Deutscher Photographen will undertake to make groups and single portraits by the magnesium flash-light. The co-operation of such experienced operators as Borgfeldt, Buchler, Esselborn, Kutscher and Mildenberger has been secured. William Kurtz, Th. Gubelman and others of excellent reputation will give their aid. The fair will be held at the hall of the American Institute, where a miniature atelier, with all modern accessories and utensils, will be erected. Chas. Wager Hull, the superintendent of the Institute, has promised to give the charitable undertaking all possible assistance. The German photographers confidently hope to obtain assistance in their charitable enterprise from all the generous dealers in photographic supplies, as well as from amateur photographers. (Photographic Times and American Photographer, Volume 19)

1893: Esselborn Adolph, photographer, h 877 Forest av. New York City Directory

1900: Bronx E. 165th street Adolph Esselborne 42, photographer, born Germany, Louise Esselborne 33, wife, married 15 years 1 child Charles Esselborne 17, son

1910: Death of Carl Adolf Esselborn, born New York, NY January 25, 1883 son of Adolf and Louise (Ottendorff) Esselborn, Architect died August 28, 1910, Atlanta Georgia, Psi Kappa Sigma Fraternity, Columbia University, 1905. The local paper listed the death. Carl A Esselborn, a draughtsman died in a private sanitarium. In college he had been a tract athlete. Adolph Esselborn was coming to collect the body. Carl was buried in Fulton co. Georgia, Westview cemetery.

1915 and 1920: Bronx E 182nd street, Adolf photographer and Louise wife

1920: Louisa A Esselborn [ Ottendorf] Married Age: 53 Birth Date: 14 Nov 1866 Birth Place: Germany Years in US: 35 Years Death Date: 6 Jun 1920 Death Street Address: 542 East 182 St Death Place: New York City, Bronx, New York, USA Cause of Death: Acute Uraemie Poisoning, Chronic Nephritis Burial Date: 9 Jun 1920 Burial Place: Evergreen Cemetery Occupation: Housework Father's Birth Place: Germany Mother's Birth Place: Germany Father: Ottendorf Mother: Margarlieta Ottendorf Executor: Adolph Esselborn Executor Relationship: Husband Certificate Number: 4527

At probate her estate was valued at $3,023.31 - which she left to her husband.

1924: Died 2 January 1924 - On December 25, 1923 Adolf Esselborn while "alighting" from a trolley of the Union Railroad company at 141 street slipped and fell and his foot was crushed by a wheel of the car. He was taken to Lincoln Hospital where he was operated on. He died of gangrene on January 2, 1924.

Probate - left his estate to his nephew Professor Karl Esselborn of Darmstadt, Germany. and Augusta Bergerson of 239 Concord ave. NY. To Augusta $92.75 household furnishing, carpets, pictures, clothing etc. Augusta was his landlady - $165.00 was given to her for 5 and a half months rent. To Karl residuary estate $2,045.88.

In addition to the rent to Augusta expenses paid included: $20 to Lincoln Hospital. $288 for funeral. $6.66 obit notices. Attorneys fees $100. Commission to executor $120. 16. He was in the hospital when he made his will.

Printed on back: Adolf Esselborn (sucessor to Hector Kraus) Photographic Artis 204 Washington street bet 5th and 6he strs Hoboken NJ - Dupplicates sic can be had at any time

Herman N Lay - 204 Washington street - at 204 Washington street, Hoboken in 1879 to 1883
Birth: circa 1848 New York

1883: H. N. Lay - Photographic Portraits 204 Washington street and 252 Washington street

1888 to 1894: 252 Washington street

1894: The noted Hoboken and Bayonne photographer, Herman N Lay, died when he was struck by a freight train while alighting from a train from New York City to Bayonne.

Conrad Magnus - 204 Washington street - at 204 Washington street, Hoboken in 1888 to 1891
Birth: c 1853 Germany

1888, 1889, 1890, 1891: Magnus, Conrad, 204 Washington Street, Photographer

1903: Conrad Magnus Photographer 422 Washington street.

1915 - Death: April 27, Conrad Magnus born in Germany, age 62, owner of one of the largest photography studioos in Hoboken died at his home. He had been the official photographer for the city of Hoboken Police Department and had photographer all of the images in the city's Rogue's Gallery". He had come to the United states at a young age.

Christian, John, Anna and Meta Petermann circa 1890

Kitchell, George W. - 252 Washington street - between 6th and 7th streets - 1875 to 1880

1848: Birth Germany circa 1848

1874: Kitchell Portraits 252 Washington street - between 6th and 7th streets - Ad in Eccentric - the Stevens Institute yearbook

1876, 1877, 1878: George W Kitchell 627 De Kalb av Brooklyn, New York, USA Occupation: Photographer Publication Title: Brooklyn, New York, City Directory, 1877

1880: 252 Washington street Hoboken, George Kitchell 32, born Germany, Photographer, Emma Kitchell 28, and a servant

1881 - 1882: George Kitchell 252 Wash n H'n Occupation: Photographer Publication Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1882

1883: George W Kitchell New York, New York, USA Occupation: Photographs Publication Title: New York, New York, City Directory, 1883

(Psychological Consequences of the American Civil War - google books)

"George W. Kitchell operated a respectable photography studio in New York City. His reputation apparently attracted the attention of Jay J. Hartman, an itinerant construction worker from Ohio interested in building a spirit photography business."
Spirit photography's attempt was to capture images of ghosts. It was popular after the Civil War when so many people had lost loved ones. It was a sham - even P. T. Barnum said as much.

When a 19th-Century 'Spirit Photographer' Claimed to Capture Ghosts Through His Lens

Printed on back: Kitchell Portraits 252 Washington st. Hoboken NJ

Printed on back: Geo. W. Kitchell Photographer No. 252 Washington st Hoboken NJ

Printed on back of both cards: Geo. W. Kitchell Photographer No. 252 Washington st Hoboken NJ

Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Hoboken (1891)

Showing both 192 and 204 Washington street. 192 was the location of the studio of Louis Nagel. 204 was the location of the studio of Adolf Esselborn and later of Conrad Magnus. Both buildings were of brick construction and show an indication there were sky lights in the roofs.

140 Washington st, the studio of Charles de Lapotterie also had a skylight but was a wood frame building.

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©Maggie Land Blanck - Page created 2020 - Latest update, June 2020