ca. 1860-80’s, [carte de visite portrait of Paul Boyton, the “Fearless Frogman”], A. Lesage
via Stereographica, Antique Photographica
Paul Boyton was a showman and water adventurer most known for his open water swimming exploits in a modified rubber suit and his trained sea lion shows. He also created and toured an aquatic circus around the United States in the late 19th century, then opened two amusement parks, one in Chicago and one on Coney Island. "Paul Boyton’s Water Chutes” opened in 1894 and “Sea Lion Park” in 1895, respectively. By the turn of the century, “Sea Lion Park” became "Coney Island Amusement Park" and was then sold, redesigned and renamed "Luna Park". "Paul Boyton’s Water Chutes" was closed in 1908 facing the fierce amusement park competition that exploded after World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

ca. 1860-80’s, [carte de visite portrait of Paul Boyton, the “Fearless Frogman”], A. Lesage

via Stereographica, Antique Photographica

Paul Boyton was a showman and water adventurer most known for his open water swimming exploits in a modified rubber suit and his trained sea lion shows. He also created and toured an aquatic circus around the United States in the late 19th century, then opened two amusement parks, one in Chicago and one on Coney Island. "Paul Boyton’s Water Chutes” opened in 1894 and “Sea Lion Park” in 1895, respectively. By the turn of the century, “Sea Lion Park” became "Coney Island Amusement Park" and was then sold, redesigned and renamed "Luna Park". "Paul Boyton’s Water Chutes" was closed in 1908 facing the fierce amusement park competition that exploded after World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

drtuesdaygjohnson:


I have three essays to write today. I am very thrilled and not exceedingly tired at all. My hands are certainly not arthritic in this weather and carpal tunnel doesn’t ever come at the least opportune moment in my scholastic career.
Also because I’m incompetent and can’t properly prepare chestnuts without destroying fingers, typing will be even more laborious and spiteful.
But at least I have an awesome latte.
Also yes masking tape + toilet paper is sturdier than your average band-aid.


Hey all, I’m probably going to be MIA for the next week or so as I finish out the semester. Especially with my historiography and countless lesser essays to attend to, getting onto Tumblr is a privilege I won’t be able to indulge at the moment. That being said, questions will be answered by the end of the month; meanwhile you could expect maybe ~1 post/day via my queue.

drtuesdaygjohnson:

I have three essays to write today. I am very thrilled and not exceedingly tired at all. My hands are certainly not arthritic in this weather and carpal tunnel doesn’t ever come at the least opportune moment in my scholastic career.

Also because I’m incompetent and can’t properly prepare chestnuts without destroying fingers, typing will be even more laborious and spiteful.

But at least I have an awesome latte.

Also yes masking tape + toilet paper is sturdier than your average band-aid.

Hey all, I’m probably going to be MIA for the next week or so as I finish out the semester. Especially with my historiography and countless lesser essays to attend to, getting onto Tumblr is a privilege I won’t be able to indulge at the moment. That being said, questions will be answered by the end of the month; meanwhile you could expect maybe ~1 post/day via my queue.

ca. 1850, [daguerreotype portrait of an artist posed holding stylus with a framed painting or drawing of a domed building, possibly a state capital]
via the Daguerreian Society, Julian Wolff Collection

ca. 1850, [daguerreotype portrait of an artist posed holding stylus with a framed painting or drawing of a domed building, possibly a state capital]

via the Daguerreian Society, Julian Wolff Collection

ca. 1860’s, [ambrotype portrait of a costumed couple, each with feathered headdress and robe, he holds a spiked ax while she appears to be holding a whaling harpoon]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [ambrotype portrait of a costumed couple, each with feathered headdress and robe, he holds a spiked ax while she appears to be holding a whaling harpoon]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1875, [tintype portrait of a woman dressed, possibly as Columbia, in a tiara with the Union shield]
via the International Center of Photography

ca. 1875, [tintype portrait of a woman dressed, possibly as Columbia, in a tiara with the Union shield]

via the International Center of Photography

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman in uniform, wearing hat that reads “DELUGE 6”]
via the Library of Congress, Daguerreotype Collection

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman in uniform, wearing hat that reads “DELUGE 6”]

via the Library of Congress, Daguerreotype Collection

ca. 1900, [cabinet card, portrait of Henrietta “Lilla” Kenney seated with a stereograph viewer], Halifax Photographic Company
via Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute

ca. 1900, [cabinet card, portrait of Henrietta “Lilla” Kenney seated with a stereograph viewer], Halifax Photographic Company

via Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a baby standing kissing his reflection], Hector William Vaughn
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a baby standing kissing his reflection], Hector William Vaughn

via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

I felt obligated to respond to a reply on a recent post mostly because there’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to the Victorians and the prevalence of post mortem images.
Firstly, seated post mortem portraits would not typically include another person who was showing off a skill. Hell, seated death portraits in tintypes are rare in general. More likely, you’d see a coffin-side portrait or a whole family gathered around one person in a relatively well-produced image.
Though post mortem tintypes are certainly not uncommon, they are sort of late in post mortem photography history and changed their appearance and accoutrements; taking a picture of your dead loved one is sort of falling out of fashion by the tintype for a whole lot of social, economic and cultural reasons (I wrote a thesis on it last year—message me and we can chat about it some time).
The daguerreotype and ambrotype were sort of the hay day of the death portrait, and the few traditional post mortem poses that would maybe render this image one is quickly replaced by the graveside or coffin snapshot tintype, which is ultimately superseded by the memorial cdv or cabinet card.
The eyes and the awkward hands are likely the result of mediocre photographic skill in regards to directing the sitters and overexposing the image.
This was a fun, cheap, picture for the couple.
And about headrests and stands: though a commonplace item to have in a studio for the infirm or fidgety, they became antiquated and useless almost immediately after they were created. When you’re producing dags and some ambros, it’s true that the exposure times did initially warrant these assistants, but by the 1870’s, when this image was probably made—they’re sort of useless as the exposure time has dropped to less than 30 seconds in most tintypes.
Overall, while there’s a .1% theoretical chance this is a post mortem, it’s highly unlikely based on what I’ve seen over the last five years of looking at these images.
I wrote up a handy photo guide for reference if you want to check it out. Also, some more veritable post mortem photos for your viewing pleasure.

I felt obligated to respond to a reply on a recent post mostly because there’s a lot of misinformation out there, especially when it comes to the Victorians and the prevalence of post mortem images.

Firstly, seated post mortem portraits would not typically include another person who was showing off a skill. Hell, seated death portraits in tintypes are rare in general. More likely, you’d see a coffin-side portrait or a whole family gathered around one person in a relatively well-produced image.

Though post mortem tintypes are certainly not uncommon, they are sort of late in post mortem photography history and changed their appearance and accoutrements; taking a picture of your dead loved one is sort of falling out of fashion by the tintype for a whole lot of social, economic and cultural reasons (I wrote a thesis on it last year—message me and we can chat about it some time).

The daguerreotype and ambrotype were sort of the hay day of the death portrait, and the few traditional post mortem poses that would maybe render this image one is quickly replaced by the graveside or coffin snapshot tintype, which is ultimately superseded by the memorial cdv or cabinet card.

The eyes and the awkward hands are likely the result of mediocre photographic skill in regards to directing the sitters and overexposing the image.

This was a fun, cheap, picture for the couple.

And about headrests and stands: though a commonplace item to have in a studio for the infirm or fidgety, they became antiquated and useless almost immediately after they were created. When you’re producing dags and some ambros, it’s true that the exposure times did initially warrant these assistants, but by the 1870’s, when this image was probably made—they’re sort of useless as the exposure time has dropped to less than 30 seconds in most tintypes.

Overall, while there’s a .1% theoretical chance this is a post mortem, it’s highly unlikely based on what I’ve seen over the last five years of looking at these images.

I wrote up a handy photo guide for reference if you want to check it out. Also, some more veritable post mortem photos for your viewing pleasure.

ca. 1865-72, [tintype portrait of a couple, the gentleman with an accordion, the lady, a flower]
via Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas photography collection

ca. 1865-72, [tintype portrait of a couple, the gentleman with an accordion, the lady, a flower]

via Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, DeGolyer Library, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas photography collection

ca. 1850-60’s, [ambrotype portrait of a stern looking gentleman]
via Ebay

ca. 1850-60’s, [ambrotype portrait of a stern looking gentleman]

via Ebay

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of two gentlemen, one with a saw, the other, a hammer]
via Harvard University’s Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphic Art, Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of two gentlemen, one with a saw, the other, a hammer]

via Harvard University’s Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphic Art, Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography

ca. 1880-90’s, [tintype portrait of a gentleman with his stereoview camera]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1880-90’s, [tintype portrait of a gentleman with his stereoview camera]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1855, [post mortem daguerreotype portrait of a child]
via the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Cased Photographs Collection

ca. 1855, [post mortem daguerreotype portrait of a child]

via the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, Cased Photographs Collection

ca. 1860-1900, [spirited hand-colored tintype portrait of a gentleman, possibly a sailor]
via Ebay

ca. 1860-1900, [spirited hand-colored tintype portrait of a gentleman, possibly a sailor]

via Ebay

"Until the handkerchief of history covers us with its Times New Roman black and white post script..."

This blog is a collection of vernacular photography and ephemera focused mainly within the curious and often misunderstood realm of 19th century America. I have a soft spot for all things silly, antiquated, macabre, and grotesque. The content is from a variety of collections; public, academic, and private. In addition, there's an occasional emphasis on Ulysses S Grant and the Civil War, as well.

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