Much about these beautiful cabinet cards is mysterious. For example, who took the photos? Where and how were the cabinets distributed? Jones, Keyser & Arras was a printer and photograph distributor in Manhattan that never issued any other baseball cards. Their imprint has been found on the back of on holiday greeting cards and, more interestingly, on several postcards by the famed photographer Thaddeus Wilkerson. The set was never catalogued by Burdick and it received wider attention in the hobby only after a big group was sold by Mastro in the mid-90’s. More cards have appeared since then, but it’s likely there are no more than five per player; Wagner currently has the most known copies at four.
It’s often assumed that the set contains 50 players due to the number etched on the bottom of each photographic plate that runs between 301 and 350. However, there are gaps in the checklist (available at the bottom of this page) and only 41 cards have been confirmed; my suspicion is that this list is complete. Lew Lipset profiled this set in issue #50 of The Old Judge newsletter in January 1994 where he put the checklist at 37 cards (up from just 15 ten years earlier) but noted that it was “very incomplete”.
There are no players from the Boston AL, Cleveland, Philadelphia NL or St. Louis AL teams. The three New York teams have 21 players; the two Chicago teams have 11. That leaves only 9 players from other teams.
Three cards are known with info written or stamped on the back. Two of the cards belonged to the same Chicago owner and the other has the name of a Chicago cigar store, so I’d presume that the cabinets were given away there (and maybe the cabinet card owner got his two at that same store). You can see pictures on the JKA gallery page.
|301||Ford||New York American|
|303||Warhop||New York American|
|304||William Dahlen, Mgr.||Brooklyn National|
|307||Bridwell||New York National|
|308||Murray||New York National|
|310||Snodgrass||New York National|
|311||Ames||New York National|
|312||Merkle||New York National|
|313||Devlin||New York National|
|314||Wiltse||New York National|
|315||Devore||New York National|
|325||Fred Clarke, Mgr.||Pittsburg National|
|326||Clark Griffith, Mgr.||Cincinnati National|
|327||Roger Bresnahan||St. Louis National|
|340||Chase||New York American|
|341||Doyle||New York National|
|342||Meyers||New York National|
|343||Mathewson||New York National|
|344||Raymond||New York National|
|345||John J. McGraw, Mgr.||New York National|