Above: Photographer Harry S. Sutter produced this self portrait while proudly wearing the uniform of a of corporal of the Light Horse Troop. 1st Wisconsin Cavalry in 1880. State
guard and militia units such as the Light Horse Troop set their won uniform standards which could vary considerably from regulations set down by the regular army. While he wears
a standard Model 1860 Light Cavalry Saber hanging from a sword belt closed with a 1851 pattern belt plate his helmet is another story. The white summer service helmet was first
officially adopted by the U.S. Army in 1880 and the date of the photograph shows that state units could indeed be up to the most current uniform standards even if following all of
those standards was not necessarily at the top of the to do list. Army regulations stated that the white helmet was to be worn without any metal accouterments what so ever this
photograph shows that state units did otherwise. Sutter's helmet sports a leather backed chin chain, side buttons, a state variation of the 1872 pattern eagle helmet plate and a top
spike with a probably yellow horse hair plume. It should be noted that many regular army officers also ignored the regulations and adorned their helmet to suit their own personal
tastes.


Cabinet Photograph (trimmed)
Harry S. Sutter - Photographer
128 Wisconsin Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States
1880


Arriving from Zürich, Switzerland when he was about five years old, Harry S. Sutter would go on to become one of Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s top photographers as well as a part time
soldier.

Born on 11 February, 1853 to John (Johannes) H. and Katherine (Catharina) Sutter, Harry S. Sutter (he also went by the name of Henry and seemingly during his childhood as
Heinrich) had learned the photographic arts at the firm of Green & White before purchasing the studio at 128 Wisconsin Street in Milwaukee sometime in 1873 from his former
employers. A good deal regarding his photographic establishment can be found in
Industrial History of Milwaukee: the Commercial, Manufacturing and Railway Metropolis of the
North-west
. (1886). His studio was described as “…by far the most complete and elegant in the city…” Also stated is the fact that as of 1886 he was taking in some $25,000 a year in
commissions which works out to well over $500,000 in today’s dollars. He was further described as “
…one of the really live, energetic and intelligent businessmen in the city.

Industrial History of Milwaukee briefly touches on Sutter’s part time military career mentioning that he was a founding member “light horse cavalry of Milwaukee.” This unit was in
fact the Light Horse Squadron, 1st Wisconsin Cavalry which was established in 1880. For many years the squadron was the only cavalry unit in the state’s military system. Given
Sutter’s social and financial standing in the city and the fact that he served as a junior non-commissioned officer one might assume the Light Horse Squadron was as much social
organization as it was military for the more affluent members of Milwaukee society. This was by no means out of the norm for volunteer and militia units at the time. One might
instructively compare to it to London’s 20th Middlesex (Artists') Rifle Volunteer Corps in which the very top of that city’s professional and artistic citizenry eagerly served even as
private riflemen. The unit survives today in the guise of the 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry, Wisconsin National Guard.

While not fulfilling his Light Horse duties, Sutter continued one with the highly successful photographic endeavors until his relatively early death on 2 June, 1889. Previously Harry
Sutter had married Miss Helen Lapman at Racine, Wisconsin on 4 October, 1879. I have found no record of the couple having any children. Form sometime after her husband’s death
Hellen Sutter continued on with his photographic business, partnering with Marie Uhlig, creating the firm of Sutter & Uhlig.
Above: The reverse side of Sutter's self portrait showing this photographer's back mark and the period ink identifying inscription.