Vonsen, Kit 1978-80-33

John Quincy Reed’s Portrait Photograph of George & Kit Vonsen, c. 1880-1884


Photographer: John Quincy Reed (b. 1842, Massachusetts, d. 1902)

Active in Petaluma: 1874-1898

Biographical Note: Reed worked from several different studios during his time in Petaluma.  In 1874 his studio was in the “American Hall, Main Street,” thereafter it was “Over Wells, Fargo & Co’s. Ex. Office, Main St” and finally it was “Brick Block, opposite McGuire’s Drug Store, Main Street.”  According to Palmquist, Reed was charged with arson for setting fire to property in Petaluma at the corner of Cleveland and College Avenues.

Bibliography: Palmquist, pgs. 452-53; Mautz, pg. 134. 


Name(s): George & Kit Vonsen

Description: Cabinet card of a toddler, Kit Vonsen and her brother George. Vonsen is standing, with his arm resting on a simple studio chair. He is wearing a simple button up jacket with shorts and high socks. Kit sits in the chair wearing a dress with black stripes around the hemline and sleeves with a white collar. She has on a black beret. The lack of studio props, and photographer’s name at the bottom of the card date the photo to the early 1880s.

Biographical Note: Possible relation to M. Vonsen, a Petaluma merchant, though the extent is unknown. The Vonsen family has a grain and feed store on 1st and D street that was created in the early 1900s.

Family Affiliation:

Bibliography: add, augment


Format / Size: cabinet card, approximately 10.75 x 16.5 cm

Medium: albumen photographic print mounted on cardstock

Description, Obverse: (identify group or individual, gender(s); identify pose, furniture & props; describe composition, background, added color…)

Description, Reverse: George and Kit Vonsen

Date: c. 1880-1884

Condition: (note tears, foxing, fading)

Owner:  Petaluma Historical Library & Museum, 1978-80-33

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