This carte de visite (cdv) is out of what I’ve dubbed the Waukesha album because of where I found it, in Waukesha, Wisconsin. The few photos with names written on them are children that appear to have been born about the same time as this sitter, who I’ve identified as Louise Ernst. Is it just me, or does she look like she’s thinking “Let’s get this over with!” I will be featuring all of these identified children in future blog posts.
I easily found the Ernst family of Milwaukee, where this photograph was taken by H.G. White. At first glance, I was sure the initial was an L, however, once I saw the entry for the family in the 1870 census, I realized it could be an I.
Christian Ernst was a butcher and had two daughters, Louise and Ida. Louise was born in January 1860. Her mother, Louisa, died about 1861. Christian took a second wife, Elizabeth (nee Seifert), and Ida was born about 1863.
According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, the photographer, Horatio G. White, operated his studio in Milwaukee from 1870-1873, after which he relocated to Monroe, Wisconsin. The latest newspaper advertisement I found for White’s Milwaukee photography studio ran in September 1872.
This means the sitter couldn’t be Ida, as she was ten in 1873. The girl in this cdv looks to be 13 to 15 years old, which fits Louise’s age and makes her the most likely match.
At 23, Louise married George Seifert, a liquor dealer. They remained in Milwaukee, and Louise lived to be 89 years old, passing on October 22, 1949.
Find a Grave
Wisconsin Historical Society – Wisconsin Photographers