Mystery Photo: Little Rufus Milne in 1894

This cabinet card photo is marked “Rec’d May 5, 1894.” It’s not entirely clear what received might specifically refer to here, but with some confidence we can say this photo is at least 130 years old and someone received it precisely 130 years ago.

The photographer, according to information on the Minnesota Historical Society’s Directory of Minnesota Photographers, is likely Albert A. Stensby, who is listed as working out of the Reppe & Company studio at 2005 W. Superior St. in that era. (There is also an August Stensby who was a photographer in Duluth at the same time.)

A note on the back indicates the subject of the photo is Rufus Harold Milne.



about 2 weeks ago

Rufus Harold Milne was born on Nov. 15, 1890 in Crookston. His dad worked in a feed mill. He went to college at the University of Minnesota Engineering School.

By the time World War I rolled around he lived in St. Paul and enlisted in the army, first working at Fort Snelling as an "attendant" at the military camp. He was a provisional second lieutenant in the 69th Infantry, but never got overseas. (For this reason, he was at one point denied a bonus bond, and this discrimination was discussed in a newspaper article in Seattle.)

He married a woman named Ruth he met during the war (she worked in the medical corps), who was from Missouri and taught music. They had one daughter named Margaret (who was a woman accepted for volunteer emergency service in World War II). He was a Christian Scientist.

By WWII he lived in Seattle and stayed in the Northwest until his death. He mostly seemed to work as a salesman and at one point owned a hardware store and building supply.

He died on Jan. 29, 1967.

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