Boston and Brookline: William H. Partridge and Edward J. Patridge, circa 1900. Mounted sepia photograph, measuring 8 x 9.75 inches, labeled in gilt on the lower mount: “Partridge / Photographer / Boston and Brookline.” Lightest edgewear, trace of adhesive to top righthand corner.
Classroom photograph of schoolchildren studying butterfly specimens, produced by the Partridge photography studio in Boston. American interest in butterflies exploded in the late nineteenth century, in part as a response to the discovery of unknown species accelerated by the expanding railroad, and in part as the result of a new wave of popular field guides, many featuring photographs for the first time. This image of a Boston classroom, featuring a mixed group of students poring over tiger swallowtails, epitomizes the popular natural history of the period. See William Leach, Butterfly People (2013). A striking survival.