Neumann Studio (Buffalo, New York)

Study of Two Children and "Uncle Bob"

Albumen print cabinet cards, circa 1890


These two photographs show two children and a craftsman who could be their father or grandfather. The images may not have been taken in Buffalo; the sign behind "Uncle Bob" apparently reads "Southern Woods," and those may be orange trees behind the barefoot children. Perhaps the photographer took these portraits on a trip to the South.

Robert Shaw, author of American Baskets (published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.) observes:

The large basket on the floor is splint and is also full of "basket stuff," i.e, strips of splint ready to be worked. The photograph of the two children also shows splint on the back shelf and a splint basket underneath. The basket he holds in his hands is a rod basket, made with round strips of fiber. These could be willow but might also be prepared from oak. Rod baskets were fairly common throughout Appalachia and as far north as Pennsylvania and Ohio. It's unusual for one maker to do both styles. These are both traditional basket styles. There is nothing inherently African-American about them, but they were made by both blacks and whites, especially in Appalachia.

Click here for more information on Robert Shaw's book, American Baskets

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