In 1896 Edwin D. Miner organized the Miner Lithography Company in Manhattan, a business devoted to generating publicity images for the vaudeville empire created by his father, H.C. Miner. The company released theatrical posters for the Miner circuit of vaudeville theaters, and by 1898, for theatrical releases generally. Since photographs served as the basis for a substantial portion of the poster imagery, it did not require much of a conceptual leap for the Miner company to release and sell performer portraits of persons appearing on their circuit. Whenever a performer played the flagship theater of the chain, the Imperial Music Hall in New York, the performer would appear at the office studio of Miner at 342 14th Street for a sitting. The quality control on the photographic print was of the highest order and only Burr McInotosh's cabinet cards maintained an equal measure of fidelity and astute design.
As a matter of principle, the various poster artists, photographers, and lithographic printers who worked for Miner Lithography were not given name credit. Edwin Miner did not wish the brand recognition of the company diluted. Consequently, the talented chief photographer for Miner has not been identified. David S. Shields/ALS