W. Frances Grubb
Ladies's Group
W. F. Grubb, circa 1890.

Philadelphia area photographer W. Frances Grubb appears to have been quite active in 1880s suburban Philadelphia, operating from his studio in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Cabinet photographs bearing his imprint frequently turn up at antique shows in the Philadelphia-Baltimore-Washington area. By surveying examples of his work, Grubb is known to have stayed active in his 25 N. High Street studio from 1886 to 1898. He was born in 1864 and died in 1938.

Grubb would have drawn his customers mainly from middle class ladies and gentlemen migrating to new town home communities on the fringes of the city. Upwardly mobile families moved to avoid the congestion, noise and dirt of the city. This portrait of a ladies' social group. Nineteenth-century women were active in a number of religious, educational, community or even political organizations. Literary social groups where women gathered to read and discuss books were popular during this time and I've seen similar group photos. The photo is typical of the kind of images local photographers like Grubb made. The bread and butter of his trade would have been portraits of individual sitters, but an occasional group portrait would have been a welcome addition. Photographers sought out the business of societies and associations, which meant each member could be expected to purchase a copy.

Active
West Chester, Pennsylvania 1886 to 1898
Bio
Born 1864 (please fill in)
Died 1938 (please fill in)

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