ca. 1880, [carte de visite portrait of a gentleman directing a skeleton],  Alphonse Bernoud
via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Catalog no. 37

ca. 1880, [carte de visite portrait of a gentleman directing a skeleton],  Alphonse Bernoud

via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Catalog no. 37

ca. 1860s, [carte de visite portrait of four blind musicians]
via KaufmaNelson Vintage Photographs

ca. 1860s, [carte de visite portrait of four blind musicians]

via KaufmaNelson Vintage Photographs

ca. 1880s-1900s, [cabinet card, portrait of a bespectacled, possibly blind gentleman with no hands, posed with his young partner and a new invention called the ‘Peerless Steam Cooker.’ ]

 According to Kovel’s, “Charles E. Swartzbaugh founded Peerless Cooker Co. in Buffalo, New York, in 1884. He invented both a steam cooker and a ‘fireless cooker.’ By the early 1900s, the company moved to Toledo, Ohio, and was renamed the Toledo Cooker Co.”   This is most likely a salesman’s sample of this pristine model.  The young man holds a small piece of the equipment…[and] a manual for the steamer in his other hand.  On the floor in a black salesman pack is another flyer and a book with a partially title visible which starts with word “Money”; quite possibly a self-help book on sales and success.

via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards

ca. 1880s-1900s, [cabinet card, portrait of a bespectacled, possibly blind gentleman with no hands, posed with his young partner and a new invention called the ‘Peerless Steam Cooker.’ ]

 According to Kovel’s, “Charles E. Swartzbaugh founded Peerless Cooker Co. in Buffalo, New York, in 1884. He invented both a steam cooker and a ‘fireless cooker.’ By the early 1900s, the company moved to Toledo, Ohio, and was renamed the Toledo Cooker Co.”   This is most likely a salesman’s sample of this pristine model.  The young man holds a small piece of the equipment…[and] a manual for the steamer in his other hand.  On the floor in a black salesman pack is another flyer and a book with a partially title visible which starts with word “Money”; quite possibly a self-help book on sales and success.

via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards

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. 1860-80’s, [carte de visite portrait of a wounded Civil War veteran], Anson
via Carl Mautz Vintage Photography & Publishing, Carte de visites

ca. 1860-80’s, [carte de visite portrait of a wounded Civil War veteran], Anson

via Carl Mautz Vintage Photography & Publishing, Carte de visites

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite portrait of a large man posed with a smaller gent looking on], John Pitcher Spooner
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 large man posed with a smaller gent looking on], John Pitcher Spooner

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

ca. 1870-90’s, [tintype portrait of a pharmacist with his large mortar and pestle]
via Jeffery Kraus Antique Photographics, Occupational Tintypes

ca. 1870-90’s, [tintype portrait of a pharmacist with his large mortar and pestle]

via Jeffery Kraus Antique Photographics, Occupational Tintypes

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of a girl with an elaborate hairstyle and a crossed eye]
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 a girl with an elaborate hairstyle and a crossed eye]

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

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

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman, with severe scar or deep line on right cheek, and a lady]
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 a gentleman, with severe scar or deep line on right cheek, and a lady]

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

ca. 1850’s, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman, presumably blind, wearing darkened glasses]
via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography Collection

ca. 1850’s, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman, presumably blind, wearing darkened glasses]

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photography Collection

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman wearing top hat and patch over left eye]
via Harvard University’s Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphic Arts, Harrison D. Horblit Collection of Early Photography

ca. 1840-60, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman wearing top hat and patch over left eye]

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

ca. 1890-1900’s, [cabinet card, portrait of "Major N.G.W. Winner, Age 26 yrs., Height 36 in., Weight, 42 lbs., With Ringling Bros.’ Circus ‘90, ‘91, ‘94, ‘95"]
via Syracuse University Library, Special Collections Research Center, Ronald G. Becker Collection of Charles Eisenmann Photographs

ca. 1890-1900’s, [cabinet card, portrait of "Major N.G.W. Winner, Age 26 yrs., Height 36 in., Weight, 42 lbs., With Ringling Bros.’ Circus ‘90, ‘91, ‘94, ‘95"]

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

ca. 1870’s, [carte de visite portrait of a bearded lady and a gentleman], D.J. Wilkes
via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1870’s, [carte de visite portrait of a bearded lady and a gentleman], D.J. Wilkes

via Cowan’s Auctions

ca. 1850, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman, possibly a medical student or anthropologist, among a collection of skulls]
via the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

ca. 1850, [daguerreotype portrait of a gentleman, possibly a medical student or anthropologist, among a collection of skulls]

via the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

"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.

About - Archive - Affiliates - F.A.Q. - Inquiries - Content Sourcing - Photo Guide

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

Popular Tags: Black history, Medicine, Emotive, Post Mortem, Occupational, Civil War, The Original Hipsters, Spirit photography, Circus, Sideshow

Additional Tags: Children, Pets, Dogs, Painted backdrop, Photo-manipulation, Cross-dressing, Hidden mother, Couples, Women, Advertising, Hand-tinted, Erotic, Studio, Firemen, Science, Facial hair, Eyes, Religion, Beard, Fashion, Music, Trick photography, Photographic History, Guns, Weapons, Beer, Wine, Instruments, Lookout Mountain, Ulysses S. Grant

Affiliates: Haitian History

My Other Blogs & Websites: Heck Yes, Americana - Fuck Yeah, American Art - Architectural Indulgences - Decorative Indulgences - Etsy