CDV full-length portrait of an African American woman. James P. Ball: Cincinnati, Ohio, n.d., 1858-1860. A lovely young woman stands in a checkered dress, one hand resting on a decorative pole screen and the other holding an elegant feathered hat. She gazes directly at the camera with a Mona Lisa-esque smile, her hair tied into a dignified chignon.
James Presley Ball (1825-1904) is one of the most renowned African American photographers at one point owning the largest photographic gallery west of the Appalachians. When visiting White Sulphur Springs, Virginia in 1845 he met John B. Bailey, an African American daguerreotypist from Boston where he acquired the passion and skill of photography. He opened a studio in Cincinnati later that year, and though it was unsuccessful, he continued his art with studios in Pittsburgh and Richmond and traveled as an itinerant daguerreotypist. In 1849, he reopened a studio in Cincinnati. He hired his younger brother Thomas Ball to work as an operator, and in 1852 hired his future brother-in-law Alexander Thomas to work with him. By 1857, their gallery was one of the grandest in the United States attracting notables including Frederick Douglass. He was chosen in 1887 as the official photographer of a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation held in Minneapolis-St.Paul. In 1888, he moved to Helena, Montana with his son where he operated a studio for several years before moving again in 1892 to Seattle.
Some soiling to card edges. Creases to card that do not appear to have affected the image.
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