Big Bird

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We don’t suppose there has ever been such a thing as a “Best Chicken Photograph” contest—although in a country as dedicatedly contest-minded as these United States it would not come as much of a surprise. In any case, there is little doubt in our minds that the picture above would win such a competition with little or no difficulty. Ulrich Bourgeois was the photographer, obviously a master of his craft, a man to make all other chicken photographers cringe with envy.

 
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We don’t suppose there has ever been such a thing as a “Best Chicken Photograph” contest—although in a country as dedicatedly contest-minded as these United States it would not come as much of a surprise. In any case, there is little doubt in our minds that the picture above would win such a competition with little or no difficulty. Ulrich Bourgeois was the photographer, obviously a master of his craft, a man to make all other chicken photographers cringe with envy. The picture was taken in Manchester, New Hampshire, in 1901, and was but one of many that Bourgeois produced for the postcard division of the John D. Varick Company of Boston. The pudgy rascal in the wagon, apparently getting ready to goad the rooster into mobility, is little John Cartier, a member of one of the many French-Canadian familes that had settled in Manchester. About the rooster himself we know next to nothing—except that he was a really big bird, obviously a pet, and the pride, so we are told, of the Cartier family. Well, why not? Perhaps they couldn’t afford a goat.

This picture was sent to us by Martin Sandler of Newtonville, Massachusetts, and we continue to invite our readers to submit unusual, dramatic, or “what’s going on here?” photographs that they might own. Such photographs should be at least thirty years old, sharp and clear, and have some interesting story connected with them. They should be sent to Geoffrey C. Ward, American Heritage Publishing Co., 10 Rockefeller Plaza, N.Y., N.Y. 10020. As we cannot be responsible for original material, we request that a copy be sent first. Under no circumstances should glass negatives be mailed. Pictures can be returned only if accompanied by a stamped, self-addressed envelope. AMERICAN HERITAGE will pay $50.00 for each one used.