ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a young Union soldier, possibly a woman, in uniform and tassled hat]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a young Union soldier, possibly a woman, in uniform and tassled hat]

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [ tintype portrait of a smirking Union infantryman in an open frock coat with a hand-gilt watch and chain at his chest]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [ tintype portrait of a smirking Union infantryman in an open frock coat with a hand-gilt watch and chain at his chest]

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [albumen portrait of a staff grade Union cavalry officer seated on a saddle mounted on a barrel]
via Cowan’s Auction

ca. 1860’s, [albumen portrait of a staff grade Union cavalry officer seated on a saddle mounted on a barrel]

via Cowan’s Auction

ca. 1860-1880’s, [tintype portrait of a smokey, wooded campsite, possibly a Union or Confederate encampment]
via Ebay

ca. 1860-1880’s, [tintype portrait of a smokey, wooded campsite, possibly a Union or Confederate encampment]

via Ebay

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a Union infantryman with regulation uniform]
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [tintype portrait of a Union infantryman with regulation uniform]

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite portrait of Union solider in uniform]
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite portrait of Union solider in uniform]

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [post mortem ambrotype portait of a Union officer in his coffin]
via Cowan’s Auction
It was not until the Civil War when embalming became commonplace in America. With soldiers fighting and dying sometimes hundreds of miles from home, the sanitary and aesthetic issues arising from transporting a body over several days, sometimes weeks on trains, was quickly resolved through a mortician’s hand and embalming procedures.

ca. 1860’s, [post mortem ambrotype portait of a Union officer in his coffin]

via Cowan’s Auction

It was not until the Civil War when embalming became commonplace in America. With soldiers fighting and dying sometimes hundreds of miles from home, the sanitary and aesthetic issues arising from transporting a body over several days, sometimes weeks on trains, was quickly resolved through a mortician’s hand and embalming procedures.

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite portrait of Capt. Irving F. Wilcox, 1st Michigan and Veteran Reserve Corps, post injury], Matthew Brady 

Flowing ink inscription on verso reads, “Yours Truly/I F Wilcox/14th Regt. VRC.” Wilcox enlisted in the 1st Michigan as Company A. First Sergeant in July 1861 and was present at Gaines Mill where he was wounded. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant Wilcox fought at 2nd Bull Run where he lost his left eye. The young officer convalesced and became Adjutant of the 1st Michigan before joining the Veteran Reserve Corps in September 1863 rising to the rank of Captain when this photograph was taken. Notice the scars from the August 1862 wound as well as the replacement glass eye.

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite portrait of Capt. Irving F. Wilcox, 1st Michigan and Veteran Reserve Corps, post injury], Matthew Brady

Flowing ink inscription on verso reads, “Yours Truly/I F Wilcox/14th Regt. VRC.” Wilcox enlisted in the 1st Michigan as Company A. First Sergeant in July 1861 and was present at Gaines Mill where he was wounded. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant Wilcox fought at 2nd Bull Run where he lost his left eye. The young officer convalesced and became Adjutant of the 1st Michigan before joining the Veteran Reserve Corps in September 1863 rising to the rank of Captain when this photograph was taken. Notice the scars from the August 1862 wound as well as the replacement glass eye.

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1861-65, [tintype portrait of a well-armed Union soldier with three Remington revolvers, two Bowie knives, and a Springfield rifle musket] 
via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

ca. 1861-65, [tintype portrait of a well-armed Union soldier with three Remington revolvers, two Bowie knives, and a Springfield rifle musket]

via the Library of Congress, Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs

"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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