The young man pictured here, with long hair, dark eyes and dimpled chin, is not known. The photographer’s back mark may offer some clue to his identity. B.L.H. Dabbs operated a studio in Allegheny City, located on Pittsburgh’s north side. The area was mostly farmland until the 1850s when it was subdivided into lots to accommodate its growing German population. This man may have come from one of the German states to make his way in America.
Photographer B.L.H. Dabbs, according to a biographer, “Came to Pittsburg in 1861, and opened a store for the sale of ambrotype and photographic supplies. In the same year he purchased the gallery of a Mr. Rorah, Nos. 90 and 92 Federal Street, Allegheny, and entered the field of artistic photography. His work was a revelation to the people of Pittsburg and vicinity, and commanded prompt appreciation. In 1864, Mr. Dabbs removed to Pittsburg, and established the largest photograph gallery in the State at 46 and 48 Sixth Street. So rapidly did the demand for his photographs increase that, in 1869, he sold out his business as a dealer in photographic materials. Since then he has devoted all his time and talents to the taking of portraits and the development of the photographic art.”