Swami Vivekananda - Standing Potrait

Thomas Harrison1893-09

Vivekananda House

Vivekananda House
Chennai, India

(Harrison) This is the famous Chicago pose. The next seven photographs are part of what the Vedanta Society of Northern California calls the “Harrison series.” Swamiji has autographed five of these photos and inscribed them with English translations of Sanskrit sayings, some of which have the original Sanskrit written in Bengali characters. These photographs were taken by a photographer named Thomas Harrison, who was located in Chicago at that time at “Central Music Hall, Cor. State & Randolph Sts.” Most of the Harrison photographs in the Vedanta Society’s collection have this information at the bottom of the pictures. According to listings of photographers from 1847 to 1900 in the Chicago city directories, Thomas Harrison was in business from about 1873 through 1900. The Chicago Historical Society states: “He had several addresses [“Central Music Hall” is listed as his 1893 address] and probably went into business with D. R. Coover for a short time. We have many cabinet card portraits of Chicagoans taken at the Harrison studios, all with the same identification stamp.” The original photos of Swamiji taken at Harrison’s studio were actually cabinet card portraits, which were the predominant type of media that Harrison used. The cabinet card was a new style of portrait photography which came into vogue around 1867. It had several new features including various styles of posing, improved lighting, and the use of background scenery or props to add flair to the photograph. The various poses of Swamiji taken at Harrison’s studio show his successful use of these different techniques. ❊ ❊ ❊ I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal. (CW [1984] 1:4)


  • Title: Swami Vivekananda - Standing Potrait
  • Creator: Thomas Harrison
  • Date Created: 1893-09
  • Location: Chicago
  • Subject Keywords: Swami Vivekananda, Swami Vivekananda in Chicago, Harrison series
  • Type: Photograph
  • Publisher: Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math
  • Rights: Ramakrishna Math & Mission, Belur Math
  • Accession ID: Photograph 20

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