Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing Fraley Rogers in a formal studio setting. Produced by the renowned Warren Studio of Boston. This is just the second example of this CDV we have seen. The other originated from the personal collection of his Boston Red Stockings teammate George Wright. (It should be noted that the offered CDV is the finer example, as the other had a clipped corner and oval toning to the image from its mounting process.) Fraley Rogers, who was the brother of Mort Rogers (best known for his real-photo scorecards from the era) was an accomplished amateur player in New York before joining the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association in 1872. He played two seasons with the club, helping the team win two league championships during his short tenure. Those were his only two seasons of professional baseball. Unfortunately, just eight years later, in 1881, he took his own life, thereby becoming the first Major League baseball player in history to commit suicide.
This CDV originates from an extraordinary unprecedented find of early baseball photographs recently discovered in a nineteenth-century photo album, all of which are offered in this auction. Included in the album were team-composite CDVs for seven of the nine founding members of the 1871 National Association, baseball's first professional league, plus individual portrait images of many of the game's earliest stars. Original baseball photos dating from the 1870s are exceedingly rare and for many of the players represented in this collection their offered CDV is not only the first such example we have handled, but in many cases, the only one we have ever seen.
All the CDVs in the collection have been slightly trimmed by the original owner so that they could fit properly within the predesigned album sleeves (a common practice at the time). However, for most, the trim affects the mount only and the photos remain in outstanding condition overall. While the history of the album is unknown (our consignor purchased it from an antique dealer), since nearly all the photos found in the album are of ball clubs or ballplayers from the early 1870s, it most likely belonged to a former player or perhaps a National Association team executive.
A "Warren's" credit stamp appears on the reverse that includes the studio's address ("289 Washington Street, Boston, Mass.") and the notice "Under the Supervision of Mr. S. B. Heald." Based upon that information, this CDV was produced between the years 1872 and 1874 (the studio moved to 289 Washington Street in 1872 and Heald left the company in 1874). As previously noted, the CDV (2.5x4 inches) has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.