Harry Shepherd was the first African American Photographer in St. Paul, MN. Both have July 1892 notations in pencil on verso. On verso of the child’s card is a decorative printed advertisement “Harry Shepherd, 418 & 420 Wabasha St. St. Paul. Large Work a Specialty. Negatives Preserved.” At the bottom edge the woman’s card is printed the same address but with two printed seals that read “Minn State Agtl Society, To Harry Shepherd 1891. Gold Medal” (this is the Minnesota State Fair). Each approximately 4.25” x 6.5”. A bit of staining to versos and light toning.
Harry Shepherd was a pioneering black photographer from Minnesota celebrated as the first African American studio owner in Minnesota (by 1890, he owned three photography studios). His work was also included in an exhibit of African American achievement since Emancipation at the 1900 Paris Exposition. Shepherd was involved in early civil rights organizations in St. Paul at the turn of the century, photographing white and black Twin Cities residents alike and, perhaps most famously, photographing Booker T. Washington on at least two occasions (https://www.pbs.org/video/harry-shepherd-photographer-7590/). According to Michael Bieze in his Booker T. Washington and the Art of Self-Representation, Shepherd and Washington corresponded with one another throughout the 1890s, with Shepherd even floating an idea to Washington to start a photography school for blacks (p. 59). Item #653