Saturday, January 2, 2016

L.K. Showman

The double mystery of L.K. Showman — (a) what his given name was, and (b) when he ceased to photograph in Hobart — has been partially solved by this obituary, apparently reprinted from a newspaper in the town where he died.

2016-1-2. L.K. Showman obit
(Click on image to enlarge)
Hobart Gazette 12 Dec. 1902.

So the "L.K." stood for Lorenzo Kyle. With that to go on, I can find him in Michigan in the 1860 Census, and in Tennessee in the 1900 Census. The intervening years he spent hiding from census-takers.

Still we are left with some conflicting information, since the Tennessee paper has him arriving in that state in 1897, but the Gazette Souvenir Edition, printed in May 1898 (and full of his photographs), speaks of him as a resident and businessman of Hobart. Which is more likely — that someone in Tennessee failed to recall, several years after the fact, exactly when Lorenzo arrived there; or that the Gazette, having received Lorenzo's payment for his inclusion in the Souvenir Edition (if that's how those things were arranged), went ahead and printed his biographical sketch as if he were present, when he was already just a memory? Either is plausible. I suppose for the moment we can't give a more precise end date for L.K. Showman's career as a Hobart photographer than "1897 or 1898." I have revised my notes on local photographers accordingly.

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