Monday, June 19, 2017

Photographers of the 19th Century - Benjamin William Craven

This is a special page for three tintypes by a very interesting photographer from the collection of rfinch on

from the collection of
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from the collection of
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from the collection of
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reverse of tintypes on the left, showing the photographer's stamp.

Benjamin William Craven
(1845 - 1876)

Sources, US census, Newspaper quotes courtesy of the Fulton County Library
1845 Feb 17
B W Craven born in Indiana
1860 Aug 06
US census as farmer living with parents
1868 Jul 09
Rochester (IN) Union Spy - SCHOOL REPORT. Ben Craven mentioned as student in Advanced Department
1869 Apr 08
Rochester (IN) Union Spy - SCHOOL REPORT-school in District No. 1, Liberty Township, Dec 7, 1869 and ending Mar 27, 1869 - Ben Craven mentioned as teacher
1870 Jun 02
US census as school teacher, living with parents

1870 Aug 12
Rochester (IN) Union Spy - B. W. CRAVEN has just returned from Minnesota...
1870 Nov 11
Rochester (IN) Union Spy - THE ROCHESTER GRADED SCHOOL. The fall term... closed Friday, Nov. 4th. The school for the past six months has been under the supervision of Prof. C. T. WOOD... examinations (by Prof. Wood and Mr. CRAVEN) ..
1874 May 30
Rochester (IN) Sentinel - BEN CRAVEN, our city photographer, has been in very poor health for a long time, and with a hope of improving it, he, in company with his mother, started for Minnesota on Tuesday, where he will remain during the summer season..
1874 Jun 11
Rochester (IN) Union Spy - THEO. SWIHART is running the CRAVEN picture gallery, and is doing some good work.

1874 Jul 04
Rochester (IN) Sentinel - BEN CRAVEN had been suffering all winter with lung disease, and when the warm weather came on he concluded to go to Minnesota to recover his health. A letter received from him recently is to the effect that he has greatly improved in health, and will in a short time be fully restored...
1874 Sep 17
Rochester (IN) Union-spy - Mr. WILL CRAVEN, the photographer, who went west for his health, last spring, is reported very much improved and will soon return.
1874 Oct 10
Rochester (IN) Sentinel - BEN CRAVEN has returned from his long visit to Minnesota very much improved in health, and may in the future be found at his Art Gallery...

1874 Oct 24
Rochester (IN) Sentenel - C. T. SWIHART is fully prepared to put up life-sized pictures in the highest style of the art... enlarging ordinary pictures to life-size, and finishing them up in colors... call on him at Craven's picture gallery.
1875 Jan 23
Rochester (IN) Sentinel - “Declining health has induced BEN CRAVEN to sell a two-thirds interest in his photograph gallery to I. W. BROWN”.
1875 Jan 30
Rochester (IN) Sentinel - Mr. CRAVEN has sold his entire interest in the SPOHN BUILDING to I. W. BROWN. He gets possession of it the 15th of next month, and will have it for rent .
1875 Feb 27
Rochester (IN) Sentinel - BEN CRAVEN has closed out his photograph gallery

1875 Mar 12
Rochester (IN) Union Spy - CRAVEN, the photographer, is confined to his bed..
1876 Jan 28
B W Craven dies of consumption (tuberculosis), just two weeks before his 31 birthday

From these notations it could be deduced that B W Craven was a photographer for only about five or 6 years, between about 1871 and his death in 1876. And it appears his severe illness might have made his active years even shorter.

These two photographs are said to be of Benjamin William Craven himself. They were found on research sites.

Most often a found photograph is of unknown people by an unknown photographer. Occasionally the names of the people in a photograph are written on it later. But, very seldom do we ever learn the name of the photographer.

In the case of the Cabinet Card

and the Carte de Viste (CDV) the photographer's name or studio name is often included as part of the mounting. It is sometimes at the narrow end of the mounting board on the front and sometimes it is given in an elaborate fashion on the reverse of the card.

These pages of the LOST GALLERY will present all of the CABINET CARDS in the collection where the photographer is known.

The name of the photographer will be repeated in the text so that it can be included in internet searches by Google and Bing and the rest.

As more information about the photographer emerges it will be added here.

This is a project in progress. If you don't find something here on a photographer you are researching, check back again.

Below are the links to the alphabetized pages in the LOST GALLERY cabinet card collection.



























There are MANY photographs on each page so they might load slowly.

A few additional ways to date cabinet cards

Card stock
1866–1880: square, lightweight mount
1880–1890: square, heavy weight card stock
1890s: scalloped edges

Card colors
thin, light weight card stock in white, off white or light cream; white and light colours were used in later years, but generally on heavier card stock

different colors for face and back of mounts

matte-finish front, with a creamy-yellow, glossy back

(From WIki)

1866–1880: red or gold rules, single and double lines
1884–1885: wide gold borders
1885–1892: gold beveled edges
1889–1896: rounded corner rule of single line
1890s on: Embossed borders and/or lettering

(From Wiki)

For more information on dating Cabinet Cards see PHOTOTREE

1866–1879 Photographer name and address often printed small and neatly just below the image, and/or studio name printed small on back.

1880s on: Large, ornate text for photographer name and address, especially in cursive style. Studio name often takes up the entire back of the card.

Late 1880s–90s Gold text on black card stock

1890s on: embossed studio name or other embossed designs

(From Wiki)

There are now more than 8,000 photographs in the Lost Gallery.
Or try out the NEW BACK PAGE INDEX

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