I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When an ID is Not an ID: Sewar Cooper/Craper

Today's image was taken by renown Manhattan photographer Jose Maria Mora (1850-1926).  In 1870, Mora opened for business on 707 Broadway. He became a favourite photographer of the famous. His client list included Thomas Edison, George Armstrong Custer, Lillie Langtree, Mark Twain, along with noted actors, opera singers, authors and even royalty.  Mora also photographed the not-so-famous.

The studio closed in 1893, so the photograph above must have been taken somewhere between 1870 and 1893.  The photographer seems to have kept the same inscription throughout the history of his studio. There may have been early variations, but I haven't come across any.  If I had to guess, I would place this photo in the mid-to-late 1880s.

This particular photograph is inscribed on the back:

What do you make of the surname?  The first name looks like "Sewar."  Okay, unusual, but possible.  Also could be a misspelling of Seward.  Hmmm...now, what about that surname?  Is it Cooper?  Craper? Carper? Croper?  I just don't know.  I ran a few variations through Google, Ancestry and Familysearch to no avail.  So, on the off-chance that this fellow was once someone famous, does anyone recognize him?

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