Monday, May 20, 2013


This week's Toloff selection is another photograph of a private individual, but unlike last week's entry, we know who the subject of this week's photo is.  Her name is Martha Elisabeth Pape, and she lived in Evanston, Illinois.  She decided to have a formal photo taken - perhaps for a beau? - so she went for a sitting with the premier photographer of the North Shore, J.D. Toloff.  The person who provided these photos said that they were taken around 1916, so Toloff would have been in his studio at 1623 Orrington Avenue.

Toloff often advertised that he would take photos "On your grounds" but it is obvious that these photos were taken in his studio in front of an artificial backdrop - looks like a tapestry.  So, here are the two photos of Martha by J.D. Toloff:

These photos are just as crisp and beautiful as new, although they were taken almost one hundred years ago.

Martha must have liked the results because she used Toloff again as a photographer - this time for her wedding.  However, we'll save those photos for another time.

Special thanks to Amanda Pape and Bill Parker for allowing me to use the photos of Martha Elisabeth Pape for this article.  Amanda has a fascinating blog about her family that is a must-read for anyone interested in Evanston history.  You can find it at:

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for featuring Great Aunt Martha in your blog, Jim - and for the shout-out for my blog.

    Martha Pape was 26 when these photos were taken. She was quite a singer in her younger days, I found an article in the May 22, 1912, Lake Shore News, in "What People Are Doing in Evanston" (page 15, column 2), which says that for the eighth birthday of the Pentalpha Chapter, No. 53, O. F. S, "Miss Martha Pape opened the program with a number of vocal selections, rendered in a most pleasing and charming manner." My dad (age 84, and also born in Evanston) told me a tonsillectomy damaged her vocal cords and ruined a potential career.