Once In A Lifetime

Once In A Lifetime

This is the fourth edition of “The Archives”, a blog series intended to give an inside look into the complicated past of pit bull dogs through photographs, newspaper articles and other historical artifacts pertaining to this controversial debate. 

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The Archives | 1900s Pit Bull Dog and Baby

An early theme in this “The Archives” blog series so far is three out of the first four have been cabinet cards (as seen in the first and third editions).

Aside from the photography studio name printed and/or stamped into the image, it’s extremely difficult to find out more about the subjects (dog and human) actually being photographed when there is nothing written or noted on the item.

The only thing written on the back of this photograph is:
Bill with his dog.

Pit Bull Dog and Baby | 1900s Cabinet Card by L.F. Bates Photography
click to zoom

So, it’s safe to say the baby is a boy named Bill, but who Bill or his best friend sitting next to him are on a deeper level is unknown to me at this stage.

Thankfully it was standard practice for the photographers of these cabinet cards to imprint their studio name onto the card…and that is true to this one as well.

The photographer goes by the name “L.F. Bates” and his studio is found at the address 283 Westminster Street in Providence, Rhode Island. I attempted to do a little more digging into the L. F. Bates and the only thing I was able to locate are the following links:

On page 747 of the embedded PDF from this 1898 Providence House Directory and Family Address Book, it has L.F. Bates & Co. with photog’rs (an abbreviation of photographer, I assume) listed for 303 Westminster Street. My guess is perhaps he moved his studio a couple years later just down the street…

I say later rather than earlier because I found another link with a database of 19th and early 20th Century photographers that has the address for L.F. Bates as the same one listed on the cabinet card (283 Westminster), along with a designation of the year 1902.

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