About the Saginaw-based photo studio of Krupp & Dolmage, with information about the life of artist / photographer Benjamin S. Krupp
Pictured here is a fine, antique cabinet card portrait made by the photography studio of Krupp & Dolmage, which was based in Saginaw, Michigan.
I was able to learn almost nothing about this photography studio, and found only a few extant samples of their work online. There is a little more information available about artist and photographer Benjamin S. Krupp.
Benjamin Krupp’s 1892 biography — reproduced in its entirety below — described him primarily as a portrait painter and airbrush artist, yet also called his business a “photographic and portrait studio.” That biography also said that he employed other artists. This makes me wonder if he used the Krupp & Dolmage name to delineate his photographic work.
The cabinet card portrait shown below is a beautiful example of the craft, most likely an albumen print made in 1890. Read below how I arrived at that specific date. Handwritten across the bottom of the card in red ballpoint ink are the words “The Newman children.”
The ballpoint pen was invented in 1888, but wasn’t perfected until the twentieth century, so I wonder if the handwriting was from a later date.
Studio location and dating the photograph
This card lists Krupp’s photo studio location at 121 N. Cass Street in East Saginaw. The 1892 biography located his studio at 123 North Baum Street in East Saginaw since 1887. This could help us to infer that the date of this cabinet card falls after 1892.
However, a 2013 book, called Directory of Early Michigan Photographers, contains two listings for Benjamin S. Krupp. The first listing for Benjamin S. Krupp gives the dates 1890-1913, and a second separate listing for Krupp & Dolmage, dates 1890-1890. It seems the partnership with Dolmage was a short term arrangement lasting less than a year.
Biography of Saginaw photographer Benjamin S. Krupp, published 1892
The following biographical sketch was published in a huge 1,000-plus page volume called Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Together with Biographies of All the Governors of the State, and of the Presidents of the United States
Scroll down for the plain text version of the historical article.
Plain text version of Benjamin S. Krupp’s 1892 biography
“BENJAMIN S. KRUPP. The highest art is that which preserves a true representation of the human face that highest work of the Creator. One who can delineate with brush or pencil those indications of character and disposition, which tell the tale of thought and purpose, so that a perfect face stands out before one, possesses more than dainty touch or faultless coloring and must be a true artist. To know that Mr. Krupp, of Saginaw, is such a man one needs but to study the beautiful works of his studio, comparing his artistic portraits with the faces thus delineated. An artist by nature, Mr. Krupp has from childhood devoted his energies to the study and portrayal of human beauty, and his reward has largely been in the satisfaction of his artistic ideal. While the business of a photographic and portrait studio must to a certain extent meet the popular demand it has been Mr Krupp’s endeavor to educate the public to a just appreciation of a finer style of facial reproduction.
The free-hand crayons of this artist are models of beauty and faithful resemblance and his India ink portraits are unsurpassed in delicacy of tone and accuracy of shade, and have a finish and strength found only in true works of art. His studio is located at 123 North Baum Street, East Saginaw, where he established himself in his present business in 1887. In his India ink portraits he uses that recent invention which is known as the “air brush” and which is extolled by many famous artists. He usually employs four artists in addition to doing much of the best work himself, and his is considered superior to all other houses in the Saginaw Valley.
Our subject was born August 6, 1861, in Hamilton, Ontario, and his father, the Rev. Samuel Krupp, a minister of the Evangelical Association was located at Tavistock, Ontario. His mother’s maiden name was Magdelene Wegenast. Samuel Krupp was a native of Pennsylvania and at one time preached in Buffalo, N.Y., and his family was one of those who settled in Pennsylvania at a very early day.
Benjamin Krupp took up the work of his life at the age of fifteen at Toronto, and when eighteen years old went to Chicago, with the intention of studying the fine arts and spent one season in Philadelphia with an artist cousin. Upon his return to Philadelphia, he devoted one season to lessons in oil painting and returned to Canada and began work. His first studio for general work he opened at Stratford, Canada, in 1882 and there he remained for five years giving his attention to the best portrait work, and after that he spent six months in traveling through the South, but finally located at Saginaw and began building up his business here.
The marriage of our subject took place, November 11, 1883 and he was then united with Miss Charlotte Crosson, of Stratford. To them has been granted two children, Lillie and Gerald. Mrs. Krupp is a devoted and active member of the Baptist Church. For some years past our subject has been a member of the Order of Odd Fellows at Saginaw and the Free and Accepted Masons. Their beautiful and well furnished home is situated on Howard Street and the house was erected under the personal supervision of Mr. Krupp.”
Begins on Page 272, Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan:
Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Together with Biographies of All the Governors of the State, and of the Presidents of the United States, published 1892.
When photographers were artists and chemists
The listing below, found in the 1905 edition of Journal of the American Chemical Society, illustrates the importance of a knowledge of chemistry in the practice of photography in its early days.
More information about Benjamin S. Krupp and his family
Benjamin S. Krupp was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on August 6, 1861. He died January 27, 1947 (age 85) in Dayton, Ohio. He is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw, Michigan. His burial plot is Section 8, Lot 292, Space 2nd NE (courtesy Find a Grave).
He married Charlotte L. Crosson on November 11, 1883. Charlotte was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on February 12, 1864. She died February 24, 1934 (age 70), in Waukegan, Illinois, and she is buried with her husband at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Saginaw.
Their children were Lillian Mae Krupp Taber (1885–1979), and Gerald (Jerold) Ezra Krupp (1887–1906).
Directory of Early Michigan Photographers. David V. Tinder. Edited by Clayton A. Lewis. 2013. Page 87.
Portrait and Biographical Record of Saginaw and Bay Counties, Michigan: Containing Biographical Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens, Together with Biographies of All the Governors of the State, and of the Presidents of the United States. Biographical Publishing Co, Chicago. 1892. Page 272. Accessed via Google Books.