Source "Horse Thief Kelley and His Camera" and the Bertha Masterson estate.
This photo is from the book "Horse Thief Kelly and His Camera", which was published several years ago by Joan Lane and Martha Landry. "Horse Thief' Kelley was one of the early photographers here in Aspen and made his living by trading photographs and by horse-trading hence the name "Horse Thief." When his daughter, Bertha Kelley Masterson, was moved to a nursing home several years ago numerous photos and glass negatives were found in her house. The book was compiled and sold to help pay her expenses.
As "Horse Thief' did almost all of his photography outdoors this photo was probably taken by his associate, Dunkel, who preferred the studio. Dunkel died in 1903 and most of his 'photos date from the 1880's and early 1890's. It's safe to assume that this was taken around 1890 or before.
The mail in the photo was an Aspen gambler named Jack Black no one seems to know the dog's name. In any case he must have been a great favorite to have been included in a posed photograph. Also no explanations as to the injured leg, probably a result of a tipped over buggy or a brawl.
I did some research of the Aspen Historical Society last year and found several items mentioning Newfoundlands in the issues of the Aspen Times in 1888. When the miners came here in the 1880's they evidently brought their favorite dogs along. The silver mining boom lasted until the turn of the century, then Aspen became a quiet farming town until the skiing boom started. (reprinted from NewfTide 1976)
Carte de Visite
Carte de Visite photographs--small albumen prints mounted on cards 2-1/2 by 4 inches--were wildly popular and made for decades in countries around the world. The format was an international standard; for the first time, relatives and friends could exchange portraits, knowing they would find a place in the recipient's family album--whether that album was located in Brooklyn, Berlin or Brazil. In addition, unlike earlier photographs made with such processes as the daguerreotype and ambrotype, cartes de visite could be sent through the mail without the need for a bulky case and fragile cover-glass. Their small size also made them relatively inexpensive, and they became so widespread that by 1863 Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes would write, "Card portraits, as everybody knows, have become the social currency, the 'green-backs' of civilization." Read More at the American Museum of Photography