Monday, June 25, 2007

The Angel Photos

Those wonder photos of Madge at age 3 have a history. The photo frame that Sami and Jen found does have reprints of the original "Cupid Awake" and "Cupid Asleep". They're quite famous photos--I found a bit about them on the internet.....

"Your pictures are known as "Cupid Awake" and "Cupid Asleep." They picture a real little girl named Josephine Anderson. The original portraits were taken by M.B. Parkinson. The copyright was owned by a large printing company, Taber-Prang Co. of Springfield, Mass. But it was the Ohio Art Co. that made the prints popular across the country. Ohio Art of Bryan, Ohio, was founded in 1908. It began as a manufacturer of metal picture frames (today it's best-known for the Etch A Sketch). To increase sales, the company sold the frames with pictures. Among them were the cupids. Matted and mounted originals in their original frames sell for about [US]$50 to [US]$100 a set"

M.B.Parkinson Little is known about M.B.Parkinson who was a New York photographer in the late 19th and early 20th century. He formed the Parkinson Art Co in the early 20th century, a few years after he had sold the rights for the Cupid Awake & Cupid Asleep to Taber Prang Art Co.Printer :Taber Prang Art Co. Springfield, Massachusetts. Louis Prang (1824-1909)was considered to be the finest chromolithographer of his time and he is credited with creating the original Christmas card. His objective was to offer the great artworks to the masses but in a quality form. He stopped making Christmas cards when they became a cheap commodity in the late 19th century. Ohio Art Company offered Taber Prang $100,000 for the rights to the pictures, but the company refused. In an odd twist, Taber Prang went bankrupt in 1938 and Ohio Art Company bought the rights for $10. It still holds those rights and in the 1940's they released the much larger reproductions that are more commonly seen in Australia. All Taber Prang original prints have the Taber Prang stamp on the pack of the print

Model : Josephine Anderson was the daughter of a friend of M.B Parkinson, a single mother who worked and sometimes left her child in Parkinson's care. Josephine was four when these photos were taken and she continued to model for M.B.Parkinson for many years, some of the photos are in the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. The later prints of Josephine are also very sought after collectables. Josephine died in the 1970s.

Since these photos were shot not long before Madge was born, probably they were the inspiration for the photos we found. I'm guessing that some family member noticed the resemblance between Madge and Josephine, and saw an opportunity to recreate the photos. Kind of cool though huh? If anyone finds out more, please update me.

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