Merrick Boyden Bower (3 Dec 1832 - 7 Nov 1913) was a photographer along with at least two of his sons at one time or another. Keep in mind also that this was a very large family. A brother Henry C. Bower was a photographer in Kansas City for a time and any of several cousins and grandchildren could also have been photographers. The best scenario however is that in the cabinet card era, Merrick Boyden Bower was the most likely candidate.
There is little doubt about the date of this photograph as 1887 is imprinted on the face of the card along with the name and city. Slater, MO, was only about 70 miles from Kansas City where M. D. Bower lived from 1870 on.
In case there are examples of photographs from Bower that are not imprinted with a date here is a timeline showing important events in his life and where he was at the time.
1832 Dec 03
born in Union City, PA 1850
living at Tazewell, IL age 18
1858 May 21
marriage to Virginia E. Thompson 1859 Sep 09
birth of son William Leslie in Kansas City, MO 1860 Jun 17
as farmer in Tazewell, IL 1863 Jul 01
as farmer in Malone, IL 1865 Jun 07
as farmer in Potosi, KS 1870 Jul 18
as photographer working with Williams Simmons at a Stereotype Gallery 1871 Feb 07
marries Rosanna Catherine Bird in Clay, MO 1874 - 1875
as photographer at own studio 1215 Grand; res 1314 Grand, Kansas City, MO; brother Henry C. Bower listed as photographer at same address 1876
as photographer at Bower Brothers studio 546 Main, Kansas City, MO with Henry C. Bower 1878
as photographer working at another studio; son Henry C. Bower has studio at 1222 Union av WK
as photographer working at another studio (probably J Ploetz, 618 Main) 1880 - 1881
as photographer for J Ploetz 618 Main Kansas City, MO 1889
as photographer working at unknown studio 1898
brother Henry C. Bower moves to Deer Creek, CO; he later lives in Colorado Springs, CO and Los Angeles, CA and seems never to return to Kansas City, MO 1900
as photographer at unknown studio 1910
as photographer living with son James O. Bower 1913
Nov 07 Bower dies of pneumonia at age 80
As you can see Merrick worked for another studio most of the time. He could, as many photographers of the time, take days off and work in rented rooms in neighboring towns for a week.
Not the one you were looking for? Here's the photographer's INDEX by name. Listed here are all the Cabinet Card photographers of the 19th century found in LOST GALLERY. This is a work in progress. For a look at the original postings go to LOST GALLERY.