ca. 1870, [carte de visite portrait of albino performer Aggie Zolidra in a flower headband], J. Wood
via the Ronald G. Becker Collection of Charles Eisenmann Photographs, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

ca. 1870, [carte de visite portrait of albino performer Aggie Zolidra in a flower headband], J. Wood

via the Ronald G. Becker Collection of Charles Eisenmann Photographs, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library

ca. 1870-90s, [carte de visite portrait of two acrobat musicians with violin and horn]
via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs

ca. 1870-90s, [carte de visite portrait of two acrobat musicians with violin and horn]

via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs

ca. 1880s, [gilded tintype portrait of a lounging gymnast or circus artist]
via Be-Hold, from Invaluable Auctions

ca. 1880s, [gilded tintype portrait of a lounging gymnast or circus artist]

via Be-Hold, from Invaluable Auctions

ca. 1870-90s, [cabinet card, portrait of two performing dogs]
via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards & CDVs

ca. 1870-90s, [cabinet card, portrait of two performing dogs]

via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards & CDVs

ca. 1870-90s, [carte de visite portrait of two circus performers]
via Yale University, Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Carl Mautz Collection
ca. 1860s, [carte de visite portrait of three young circus performers in costume]
via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards

ca. 1860s, [carte de visite portrait of three young circus performers in costume]

via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards

ca. 1880, [carte de viste portrait of Zumigo, side show performer, in fancy dress], Chas. Eisenmann
via Yale University’s Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American collection

ca. 1880, [carte de viste portrait of Zumigo, side show performer, in fancy dress], Chas. Eisenmann

via Yale University’s Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American collection

ca. 1860s, [two men, possibly performers, with face and body hair], D.J. Wilkes of Baltimore.
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860s, [two men, possibly performers, with face and body hair], D.J. Wilkes of Baltimore.

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1893-94, [cabinet card, portrait of ‘Unzie the Albino’], Frank Wendt
via the International Center of Photography

ca. 1893-94, [cabinet card, portrait of ‘Unzie the Albino’], Frank Wendt

via the International Center of Photography

ca. 1885, [Carte-de-visite portrait of ‘Major Tot’ standing on a prop column and wall next to a man of average height in front of a painted backdrop], J. R. Babcock

 Major Tot’s actual name was Pierre Albert Poitras, born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1869. He was hired by P.T. Barnum and billed as “The world’s smallest perfectly developed man.” He eventually grew to a height of 3.5 feet, weighed ninety pounds and wore a child’s size 5 shoe. His father is said to have transported him to engagements in a 14” satchel. Text on the back reads, “Big Success Everywhere! Of Major Tot, The Wonderful Human Midget! Age 16 Yrs, Weight Only 10.5 Lbs.”

via the Wisconsin Historical Society

ca. 1885, [Carte-de-visite portrait of ‘Major Tot’ standing on a prop column and wall next to a man of average height in front of a painted backdrop], J. R. Babcock

Major Tot’s actual name was Pierre Albert Poitras, born in Fitchburg, Massachusetts in 1869. He was hired by P.T. Barnum and billed as “The world’s smallest perfectly developed man.” He eventually grew to a height of 3.5 feet, weighed ninety pounds and wore a child’s size 5 shoe. His father is said to have transported him to engagements in a 14” satchel. Text on the back reads, “Big Success Everywhere! Of Major Tot, The Wonderful Human Midget! Age 16 Yrs, Weight Only 10.5 Lbs.”

via the Wisconsin Historical Society

ca. 1863, [carte de visite portrait of Gen. Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton) and his wife Lavinia Warren, on their wedding day]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1863, [carte de visite portrait of Gen. Tom Thumb (Charles Sherwood Stratton) and his wife Lavinia Warren, on their wedding day]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860s, [carte de visite portrait of a young woman, possibly a performer, with a whip, a stuffed tiger, and lion; inked on recto “La Belle Louise”]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860s, [carte de visite portrait of a young woman, possibly a performer, with a whip, a stuffed tiger, and lion; inked on recto “La Belle Louise”]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1870-1900, [carte de visite portrait of circus performer in an unusual costume]
via Jeffrey Kraus, Antique Photographics

ca. 1870-1900, [carte de visite portrait of circus performer in an unusual costume]

via Jeffrey Kraus, Antique Photographics

ca. 1855, [daguerreotype portrait of a tightrope walker]
via the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Photography Collection

ca. 1855, [daguerreotype portrait of a tightrope walker]

via the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Photography Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a circus performer], I. W. Taber & Company
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 circus performer], I. W. Taber & Company

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

"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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