Unusual subject matter in this carte de visite by Martin’s Gallery of St. Paul, Minn. William Crooks (1832-1907), the colonel and commander of the Sixth Minnesota Infantry, stands next to a table top stereoscope, likely made by Alexander Beckers, a pioneer photographer, artist, inventor and businessman in New York City. Beckers, a friend and competitor of photographer Edward Anthony, received ten patents for the stereoscope during two decades in the latter half of the Nineteenth Century. Stereoview photographs could be viewed in 3-D using devices like the one pictured here.
Curious to know what the men who documented the Civil War in photos looked like? Here is one of those early photographic pioneers. His identity is unknown, but two clues may put a name to his face. The back mark on this image credits the photographer as Jos. Longaker of Attica, Indiana. This may be his self portrait. The individual may also be Charley Haller. According to his great-great niece, Susan McKenney of Guntersville, Ala., Haller was a photographer in Attica during the Civil War period and owned this image.
If you have any information about Haller or Longaker, please be in touch.