A book which still reverberates

I found this cabinet card portrait for sale on eBay in England (Northamptonshire) in January of this year.  Books are common props in 19th-century studio portraits, but titles are usually too blurry to read, even after scanning them at high resolution.  In this case, the book is large enough that the title is easily readable... Continue Reading →

Woman with vase

The unidentified young woman in this photograph is wearing a drop-waist dress and a Marcel Wave hairstyle, hallmarks of the flapper era of the 1920s.  The photograph is about the size of a postcard, but it was printed on plain photo paper, rather than postcard stock.  It came to me from a dealer in Pennsylvania who often... Continue Reading →

Russian family at their dacha

This photo postcard likely dates to the final years of Imperial Russia (1910-1917).  It came to me from modern-day St. Petersburg.  The back has some standard lettering but no personal information:   I'm guessing that this family is at their dacha, or summer house in the country, because of the trees in the background.  Their... Continue Reading →

A brush for your thoughts

This small tintype portrays an unusual subject for early photography: a standing woman appears poised to brush the hair of a seated woman, who has a comb and other items in her lap.  The standing woman is looking down and is slightly out of focus, while the seated woman is looking in the general direction... Continue Reading →

A comforting presence

This cabinet card photograph came to me from Herefordshire, England, but could have originated elsewhere.  It has nothing written or printed on it. Update (March 21): Readers quickly informed me that the man in the photo was a postman.  His hat has the letters GPO on it, for General Post Office.  (Thank you to Val,... Continue Reading →

Women outside a factory

March is Women's History Month in the United States.  (International Women's Day isn't widely observed here, although that may be changing.)  For the past two years, I've tried to pick out a photograph in March which I thought was especially relevant to the theme of women's history.  In 2018 the focus was on education (Caliopians). ... Continue Reading →

Longshaw Post Office, Wigan, England

At the top of this cabinet card photograph is a painted sign: John Rigby, Boot & Clog Maker.  Under that is another sign: Longshaw Post Office. Wikipedia describes Longshaw as "a small residential and agricultural area within Billinge Higher End at the western boundary of the Metropolitan Borough of Wigan, in Greater Manchester, England."  Historically,... Continue Reading →

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