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, [cabinet card, portrait of a man in a wonderful paisley costume]
via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards & CDVs

ca. 1870-90s, [cabinet card, portrait of a man in a wonderful paisley costume]

via Capitol Gallery, Cabinet Cards & CDVs

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. 1880-1900s, [cabinet card portrait of strong man performer Herbert Bosworth and an admirer]
via Harvard University’s Houghton Library, Harvard Theater Collection

ca. 1880-1900s, [cabinet card portrait of strong man performer Herbert Bosworth and an admirer]

via Harvard University’s Houghton Library, Harvard Theater Collection

ca. 1860-70s, [hand tinted ambrotype  portrait of a women with her nine-string bango]
via Yale University’s Collection of American Literature, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American collection
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. 1888, [cabinet card, portrait of vaudeville performer “Blanca”], J.C. Schaarwächter 
via Luminous Lint, LL/14252, from the Private collection of T. Max Hochstetler

ca. 1888, [cabinet card, portrait of vaudeville performer “Blanca”], J.C. Schaarwächter

via Luminous Lint, LL/14252, from the Private collection of T. Max Hochstetler

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. 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. 1887, “Dramatis Personae…Fancy dress party,” [cabinet card, group portrait of four men; two dressed in formal attire, the others wear dresses hats, wigs, and stockings], Thomas D. Bowring
via the Wisconsin Historical Society

ca. 1887, “Dramatis Personae…Fancy dress party,” [cabinet card, group portrait of four men; two dressed in formal attire, the others wear dresses hats, wigs, and stockings], Thomas D. Bowring

via the Wisconsin Historical Society

ca. 1870s-1900s, [cabinet card portrait of ballet dancer Isolina Torri], Tomlinson
via the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Treasures of the American Performing Arts 1875-1923 
ca. 1870-1900s, [cabinet card, portrait of Eva Slater wearing an Egyptian inspired stage costume], Webster & Albee.
via the New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Treasures of the American Performing Arts 1875-1923

ca. 1870-1900s, [cabinet card, portrait of Eva Slater wearing an Egyptian inspired stage costume], Webster & Albee.

via the New York Public Library, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, Treasures of the American Performing Arts 1875-1923

ca. 1870s, [carte de visite, portrait of a magician with linking ring, other props and tricks, including a black top hat],  F. Weisbrod
via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Skylight Gallery: 36

ca. 1870s, [carte de visite, portrait of a magician with linking ring, other props and tricks, including a black top hat],  F. Weisbrod

via Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs, Skylight Gallery: 36

ca. 1860-80s, [carte de visite portrait of Naomi Sutherland of the famous Sutherland sisters]
via Jeffery Kraus, Antique Photographics

ca. 1860-80s, [carte de visite portrait of Naomi Sutherland of the famous Sutherland sisters]

via Jeffery Kraus, Antique Photographics

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

"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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