ca. 1860’s, [red and blue hand tinted ambrotype portrait of a young soldier wearing a patriotic cockade and an embroidered shirt worked with numerous Masonic symbols]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [red and blue hand tinted ambrotype portrait of a young soldier wearing a patriotic cockade and an embroidered shirt worked with numerous Masonic symbols]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1855, [ambrotype portrait of a gentleman and his dog]
via Charles Schwartz Photography

ca. 1855, [ambrotype portrait of a gentleman and his dog]

via Charles Schwartz Photography

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite self-portrait of Issac Halsey and a camera], Issac Halsey
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite self-portrait of Issac Halsey and a camera], Issac Halsey

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 woman holding a framed picture], Joseph P. Lowe
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 woman holding a framed picture], Joseph P. Lowe

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

ca. 1860’s, [ambrotype portrait of a gentleman, propped up with pillows on a bed, holding a large book]
via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Skylight Gallery

ca. 1860’s, [ambrotype portrait of a gentleman, propped up with pillows on a bed, holding a large book]

via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Skylight Gallery

ca. 1855, [ambrotype portrait of three tourists at Niagara Falls], Platt Babbitt
via Charles Schwartz Photography

ca. 1855, [ambrotype portrait of three tourists at Niagara Falls], Platt Babbitt

via Charles Schwartz Photography

ca. 1900, [trick portrait of Cornelius C. Kenney playing chess with his double], Kenney Bros.
via Harvard University’s Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute

ca. 1900, [trick portrait of Cornelius C. Kenney playing chess with his double], Kenney Bros.

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

ca. 1870-90’s, [tintype portrait of two gentlemen atop a fake mule, posed in front of a painted San Francisco Cliff House backdrop]
via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Skylight Gallery

ca. 1870-90’s, [tintype portrait of two gentlemen atop a fake mule, posed in front of a painted San Francisco Cliff House backdrop]

via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Skylight Gallery

ca. 1850’s, [daguerreotype group portrait of plasterers wearing hats, caps, holding palettes, hod, trowels]
via the Daguerreian Society, Matthew R. Isenburg Collection

ca. 1850’s, [daguerreotype group portrait of plasterers wearing hats, caps, holding palettes, hod, trowels]

via the Daguerreian Society, Matthew R. Isenburg Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of “Baby Belmont” in costume with opera glasses], Thomas Houseworth
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of “Baby Belmont” in costume with opera glasses], Thomas Houseworth

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

ca. 1860’s, [ambrotype portrait of an elderly gentleman with a cane]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [ambrotype portrait of an elderly gentleman with a cane]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a gentlemen tentatively identified as Emperor Norton I of California], Jacob Shew
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection
Joshua Norton was a local, San Francisco eccentric who infamously anointed himself “Emperor of the United States” in 1859. Surprisingly, most embraced his title, which came to include “Protector of Mexico”, as well. 
For twenty-one years his emperor-ship was unchallenged.  A currency was even issued in his name, printed and honored at his frequented establishments. He was also an early, outspoken advocate for a bridge to be built across the San Francisco Bay.

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a gentlemen tentatively identified as Emperor Norton I of California], Jacob Shew

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

Joshua Norton was a local, San Francisco eccentric who infamously anointed himself “Emperor of the United States” in 1859. Surprisingly, most embraced his title, which came to include “Protector of Mexico”, as well.

For twenty-one years his emperor-ship was unchallenged.  A currency was even issued in his name, printed and honored at his frequented establishments. He was also an early, outspoken advocate for a bridge to be built across the San Francisco Bay.

ca. 1860-80’s, [ambrotype portrait of a smiling gentleman]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860-80’s, [ambrotype portrait of a smiling gentleman]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860-80’s, [cabinet card, portrait of a gentleman, identified in pen verso as John Renner, posed with his Star safety bicycle], Lewis Most
via Be-hold, Fine Photographs

ca. 1860-80’s, [cabinet card, portrait of a gentleman, identified in pen verso as John Renner, posed with his Star safety bicycle], Lewis Most

via Be-hold, Fine Photographs

ca. 1860’s, [Tintype portrait of two young men; one with a wide brimmed hat and large handkerchief, the other playing a five string banjo]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [Tintype portrait of two young men; one with a wide brimmed hat and large handkerchief, the other playing a five string banjo]

via Heritage Auctions

"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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Browse by Photograph Type: Tintypes, Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Carte de visites, Albumen prints, Cabinet cards, Silver prints

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Affiliates: Haitian History

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