Born in Beallsville (Washington County), Pennsylvania in October 1853, Albert Long Rogers was the son of James Robinet and Sarah McLean Rogers. At the age of 16, he went to Waynesburg to apprentice at his brother Samuel's photography business. His other brothers also became photographers, with John H. Rogers owning a studio in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania; Thomas W. Rogers operating a studio in Greene County, Pennsylvania; and half-brother Jessie A. Rogers running a studio for a short time in Greensburg, Indiana. Mr. Rogers quickly mastered the delicate art of retouching, and received an offer to join photographer George W. Robinson at his studio in Wheeling, West Virginia. After a few years with Mr. Robinson, he joined the prestigious Baltimore firm of Kuhn & Cummins, where for two years he served as its retouching specialist. In 1878, Mr. Rogers married Baltimore native, photographer Elizabeth Eugenia Jonas, and the following year he worked for Richard Walzl's Palace of Photography.
In 1880, Mr. Rogers started his own business in Baltimore, and within two years was operating a studio at 68 Lexington Street. His trade cards, fashionably designed with elegant script, are believed to be one of the earliest known business cards. His award-winning cabinet photographs cemented his reputation as Baltimore's most successful photographer of the time. To accommodate his ever-growing customer base, Mr. Rogers also operated a studio in Hagerstown, Maryland, and in 1891, he purchased Norval Busey's famed studio at 112 North Charles Street, the hub of downtown Baltimore. During a brief partnership with Harry J. Jeffres, he focused his attentions and his glass-plate cameras on life outside studio confines, taking some of the earliest extant photographs of the Baltimore Orioles. His financial prosperity enabled him to purchase a fruit farm in Washington County, Maryland, to which Mr. Rogers retreated when he began experiencing health problems. He became an accomplished gentleman farmer, growing plentiful peaches, pears, and apples.
Despite his thriving business interests in Maryland, Mr. Rogers and his wife decided to relocate to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where he opened another successful gallery at 49 South Main Street. He and his wife Elizabeth often collaborated on portraits that were known for their style and detailed substance in the evocative uses of lighting and shadow. On December 31, 1916, Mr. Rogers retired from the photography business, and sold his Chambersburg operation to his assistant, M. B. Mumper. After the death of his wife Elizabeth in 1917, Mr. Rogers married the much younger Louise McCann, with whom he would have two daughters. Albert L. Rogers died in 1934, and is buried in Chambersburg's Norland Cemetery.
1998 Baseball in Baltimore: The First Hundred Years by James H. Bready (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press), p. 85.
1905 Biographical Annals of Franklin County, Pennsylvania, Vol. I (Chicago: The Genealogical Society), pp. 413-414.
2012 Boonsboro by Tim Doyle and Doug Bast (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing), p. 48.
1916 Bulletin of Photography, Vol. XVIII (Philadelphia: Frank V. Chambers), p. 58.
2012 Photo Album of Miss Carrie Colgin Jones (URL: http://www.wesleypippenger.com/CCJonesAlbum006.jpg).
2010 Photographicus Baltimorensis: A. L. Rogers Trade Card (URL: http://19thcenturybaltimore.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/a-l-rogers-trade-card).
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