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I.D. Waterman, seated, cross-legged, holding a carte de visite photograph. Photograph by C.W. Terpening, 1876.

Terpening, Clinton Willoughby.
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About this work


Israel Roberts Waterman, the author of 'Redemption and conversion of Israel Roberts Waterman: after 20 years of drunkenness and debauchery, written by himself at Emerson, Jefferson County, Ohio', Dillonvale, Ohio: News Printing Co., 1906, is also said to have been born in 1848, like the subject of this photograph. Could they be the same man?


[Creston, Iowa] : [C.W. Terpening], [1876]

Physical description

1 photograph : photoprint, albumen ; sheet 9.6 x 5.7 cm


History. I was brought to light Feb. 19th 1848 ...


Wellcome Library no. 2885100i

Lettering note

The lettering in verse by C.W. Terpening is printed on the verso of the mount: "History. I was brought to light Feb. 19th 1848, / Thank Heaven I didn't longer wait - / When I was eighteen months old / Medicine crippled me as you behold; / But in years, I'm now twenty-nine, / And weigh one hundred and twenty-five. / I measure round the full of my chest / Forty-two inches, at the best; / And round the muscle of my arm, / Just fifteen inches to a charm. / My health is not the best you see, / Though I'm always happy as I can be; / And if you have any desire to know / Who made the picture you now hold, / And wrote these poetical lines / Stop at Creston some of these times, / Call on C. W. Terpenning, by name / Who makes a picture you can't blame. / Now if you wish to prosper in the land, / Pay 25cts. for the history of this man; / And then you'll live the "Golden Rule" / If you were in his place he would do so by you / And I know he'll thank you for the same, / And I. D. Waterman is his name"

Creator/production credits

The photographer Terpening is recorded in Maple Street, Creston, Union County, Iowa in 1876 as a photographer, and in the Creston Directory of that year he is recorded as an 'artist'. In 1879 the Ames Intelligencer of 29 June announced "Mr C.W. Terpenning, better known as the 'Creston Poet' has been pronounced insane, and sent to the asylum at Mt. Pleasant". Apparently this was not a long term illness as by 1885, Terpening [spelling varies] was filing a patent for ploughs. The Ringling Brothers Route Book, entry for 21 September 1892, notes that at Bedford, Iowa, "Here many paused to admire the "Temple of Beauty", built by C. W. Terpening, a rather eccentric but highly artistic citizen. It is ornamented with 14,300 porcelain head upholsterer's tacks, 2,000 red, white and blue poker chips, 1,772 white porcelain shutter knobs, 350 harness rings, 210 coloured marbles, and so on up to 25,000 varicoloured pieces. It is crowned with a pagoda, and is exquisitely beautiful" On 17 November 1877 Terpening married Mary Emma Walker. In 1888, the obituary of Joel Walker records 'C. W. Terpening came over from Omaha, where he has been during the last two or three months, to attend the funeral of his father-in-law, Joel Walker. Mr. Terpening says he is getting good wages as a house joiner and is [rest of sentence unreadable].' Mary and Clinton divorced sometime before 1900 as she is recorded as marrying a Richard Sedgwick in that year. ("Mary Emma Walker, daughter of Joel Walker and Mary Gallagher, was born Feb. 5, 1858 at Bedford, Taylor Co., Iowa and died Mar. 31, 1934 at Iowa City, Johnson Co., Iowa. She married 1) Clinton Willoughby Terpening Nov. 17, 1877 in Bedford, Taylor Co., Iowa and 2) Richard Sedgwick in 1900.") In 1911 the catalogue of the Library of Congress Copyright records a publication "Terpening (C. W.), Bedford, I[ow]a; 'Random thoughts no. 11-30. Caught on the fly, in the devil's camp, called Bedford, Iowa', 21 l., 2 p, ports 4to $0.25", though a copy has not been traced. Terpening made a contribution to photography in an entry in the 1881 Philadelphia Photographer on 'How to empty a bath.' (Research by Pierre Spake)


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