Wedding Day: Mumbrauer Studio, Hermann

This lovely wedding portrait by the Robert C. Mumbrauer studio, Hermann, Missouri, came to me through AdoptAPhoto, a site and service, created by Anne White in 2001, that enables people to post photographs that have become separated from families, in hopes that others will find and claim them. It’s a necessary stop for anyone looking for family photographs.

The subdued black card mount and restrained, blind-embossed studio identification mark this photograph as circa 1900 or after.

Following fashion historian Joan Severa’s guidelines, the details that date the bride’s shirtwaist-style gown are the “caplet” on the sleeve shoulder, combined with the “over-puffed front” of the blouse that droops beneath the waistline (Severa, Dressed for the Photographer, 539).

The bride’s  headpiece features whimsical trailing artificial rosebuds; the groom’s jacket sports a matching spray. His creased pants also are a sign of ca. 1900 fashion, an era when the trouser press came into widespread use.

But what truly strikes the viewer in this portrait is the solemn gaze of the bride and groom, who, hand in hand, face the camera as if repeating their vows. For a moment, the studio, with its shabby props and painted backdrops, becomes a chapel.

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Published in: on November 6, 2011 at 3:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Youth and Age: Two Hermann Couples

Another batch of card photographs by the Robert C. Mumbrauer Studio arrived this week, courtesy of the intrepid Kathy Wieland.

These two cabinet cards of wedded couples–one at the start of married life, one in middle age–are both quite conventional but display some interesting affinities and differences.

The two men resemble each other–perhaps father and son? Kathy acquired these from the same source, so it is possible these photographs came from the same family album.

Card photograph collector and historian William C. Darrah notes that the pose of the middle aged couple became a convention. In his comments on portraiture poses, the first discussed is that of husband and wife:

“Among the more abundant surviving carte de visite portraits are those of newly  married couples and husband and wife at various ages. The most striking convention is the almost universally used pose of the husband seated and the wife standing, with one hand on her husband’s shoulder. Mayall photographed Queen Victoria in this position, her hand on Prince Albert’s shoulder” (Darrah, Cartes de Visite in Nineteenth Century Photography, p. 36).

Newlyweds, by contrast, were fairly often photographed “with the partners standing, the husband usually to the right of the wife” (Darrah, Cartes, p. 36)

The reverse of the cabinet card of the middle-aged couple  has advertising (see center image), while that of the young couple does not. The mount of the newlyweds’ photo is a dull green with beveled edges and gilt lettering.

Based on Darrah’s dating of  backmark styles, the advertising on the reverse of the middle-aged couple’s photo might be ca. 1875-1878.

I’m a novice at dating dress, so take the following with a big grain of salt. My reference text is Joan Severa’s Dressed for the Photographer.

The dress of the dignified and still-slim woman, with its long, buttoned bodice, white silk bow and elaborately cut overskirt finished with deep knife pleats might be ca. 1878- early 1880s.

The bride’s wedding dress, by contrast, appears to lack an  over-skirt. It has tight sleeves with just a hint of a shoulder puff, and a high, frilled neckline. Her hair is a close cap of tight waves parted at the center.

Both couples are posed against interior backdrops. It’s unclear whether the grass that appears in the middle-aged couple’s photo is real or fake. Mumbrauer spent a number of years as a traveling photographer during the 1870s.

If I had to guess, I’d say the wedding portrait is later than the middle-aged couple, but I am not at all confident this is accurate.

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Emma Trautwein and Joda Allen, 1894

Cabinet photograph of Emma Trautwein and Joda Allen (found by Kathy Wieland), Mumbrauer Studio, 1894.

Emma Julia Trautwein (1868-1943) and Joda, aka John, M. Allen, both of Bollinger County, Missouri, were married on 15 August 1894 in Lutesville, Bollinger County. This Robert C. Mumbrauer cabinet card photograph, found by Kathy Wieland,  memorializes their wedding. Because it was taken in Hermann, I suspected they had relations there.

Based on my research, Emma was the daughter of Ferdinand P. Trautwein (1841-1909) and Amelia H. Guntner Trautwein (1849-1913), who are buried in Hermann City Cemetery.

Ferdinand Trautwein was a miller. “Trautwein’s Mill” is mentioned twice in Anna Kemper Hesse’s book Little Germany on the Missouri: The Photographs of Edward Kemper.  Hesse locates the Trautwein mill as in the First Creek area. It was, she relates, the place chosen in the fall of 1864 as a bivouac by a “a group of Confederate officers in the vanguard of General Price’s army” (p. 75)

Emma’s uncle Eduard Trautwein married Jacobine Langendoerfer, the daughter of Roark Township farmer Francis J. (aka Franz Jacob) Langendoerfer, whose sons Fritz and August became well-known viticulturists and vintners in Hermann.  In 1867 they built the St. Charles Wine Hall, later known as “The Landing,” at 4 Schiller Street in Hermann. The building is now a restaurant called Simon’s on the Waterfront.

Explore more about the Langendoerfer family in David V. Agricola’s book on Langendoerfer genealogy. According to his research, Franz Jacob Langendoerfer immigrated to the Hermann area in 1838 and started cultivating grapes on Frene Creek in 1843.

I have not yet been able to determine much about Joda Allen except that he may have been born in Indiana. Emma identified herself as a widow in the 1910 census, when she was living in St. Louis with a son, accountant John Edward F. Allen, and her mother Amelia.

Emma is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, possibly in St. Louis County, but as there are about 20 cemeteries named Oak Grove in Missouri, her actual place of burial is not yet certain.

Published in: on September 18, 2010 at 5:56 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Wedding Couple, Hermann

This Mumbrauer Studio cabinet card of a Hermann bride and groom, found by Kathy Wieland, has a white mount with serrated edges and gilt printing. Serrated-edge mounts were used between 1890 and 1899, although photographers continued to use up left0ver card stock in spite of fashion.

This might be a Catholic couple; one source I have read suggests only Catholic brides wore special white gowns and held ceremonies in churches.

Visible behind the bride’s left shoulder is a painted backdrop depicting a “view” through a doorway into a well-appointed drawing room.

Published in: on September 5, 2010 at 11:22 pm  Leave a Comment  
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