Chicago: 1878. A whimsically illustrated invitation for a party hosted by the photographer and founder of the Lydian Art Gallery, Lydia Cadwell, to the Owl Club, a Chicago men's club.
The etched illustration by George Verbeck, art club member, depicts an over sized artist's easel with the invited owls in evening attire perching on its arms, as Lydia Cadwell welcomes the guests below.
Cadwell is the only woman known to have photographed Frederick Douglass, who probably sat for his portrait in January 1875 when he lectured at Farwell Hall, close to Cadwell's photography studio. Cadwell opened her studio on State Street in 1872, and added the Lydian Art Gallery in 1874, where they remained for the next decade. Cadwell was also an inventor, securing many patents for food preservation.
A period newspaper account (The Inter Ocean, Chicago, December 18, 1878) records the reception held at the Lydian Art Club for the Owl Club, and credits George Verbeck as the artist responsible for the etching on the invitations. The Owl Club was a men's club for journalists, where Mark Twain once visited, and located above McVicker's Theater.
4 1/2 x 7" Very good condition. Item #24729