This Anne Lang portrait is the basis for the most difficult Mystery Monday post in HHR history, and it's got a little story to go with it. This glass negative was in our collection along with a database entry identifying the image as "woman in a garden". Before you laugh, remember it's not easy to read negatives. With tens of thousands of artifacts in our museum, many have had only a cursory inspection on acquisition, especially those that date back to the early days when collecting was haphazard and databases were nonexistent. There's a good reason every year we hear a story about a mislabeled da Vinci or copy of the Magna Carta being discovered by a researcher deep in some institutional archive.
But back to our "woman in a garden". I was convinced he was a famous person (I let you fill in the name) and I had discovered an important lost portrait. I spent quite some time trying to match known photos of this famous person (who has two museums dedicated to him) at the age when he made documented visits to Portland and the Dalles with details of this image. The hair matched, the clothes were very similar. But it all came down to the ear lobe. It was just wrong, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't make it match. So much for my "discovery".
A few weeks later I was researching another image in the Oregonian newspaper archives, and there on the facing page is this man in a very similar pose, advertising local performances. Photos show a clear view of his ear lobe, and it was a perfect match. It turns out he really is a well known person, though not quite as well-known as his doppelganger.
So with that warning, I challenge you to identify this man and prove yourself either a phenomenal or very lucky researcher. If no one gets it, I'll fill in the rest of the story this evening, so check back tomorrow to learn more about this interesting man's life.
I assume he is a Buffalo Bill look alike...
Rawhyde on 28th October 2013 @ 7:21am
Dumb guess, but Gifford Pinchot.............but no doubt an actor, but well before my time....
charlott on 28th October 2013 @ 7:21am
Wild Bill Hickok!!
Except he died in 1876 so probably too early for Anne Lang.
l.e. on 28th October 2013 @ 7:23am
I believe Cody quit touring before 1890, so I think Rawhyde is getting close.
Buzz on 28th October 2013 @ 7:41am
I bet Rawhyde is right.
I bet Arthur was trying to make this be Buffalo Bill since he visited Oregon and Washington numerous times and The Dalles on August 25, 1902.
Arthur, I don't have time this morning for investigating, but I bet you spent lots of hours at it.
l.e. on 28th October 2013 @ 7:50am
OrMtnMaid on 28th October 2013 @ 7:57am
Looks like Captain Jack Crawford, the Poet Scout.
rwf on 28th October 2013 @ 9:18am
l.e. is correct that this is *not* Buffalo Bill, but he did visit the Dalles and Portland. When he visited the Dalles in 1902, Anne and Bess Lang appeared in the society pages visiting the coast (Astoria, I think it was) so she missed the chance to see him then. Even back then people left a trail behind them.
Sam Elliott would be an excellent choice to play this man in a biopic.
Arthur on 28th October 2013 @ 9:23am
Bing bing bing! rwf is correct. This is Captain Jack Crawford. His bio is well worth reading. It is layered with all the drama and tragedy of the "old west". I wish we had more of a record of his meeting with Anne Lang, but it looks like she met him and shot this portrait in her backyard.
Arthur on 28th October 2013 @ 9:32am
And here's an image that will let you compare ears to confirm the match:
Arthur on 28th October 2013 @ 9:39am
Good Job rwf!!!
Not often do Arthur's mysteries get solved so fast.
Never heard of Captain Jack Crawford.
l.e. on 28th October 2013 @ 9:50am
And what is the vine that is making such a lovely background?
nels on 28th October 2013 @ 10:58am