ca. 1865, [composite carte de visite portrait of Jefferson Davis in a dress, holding a bowie knife], P.T. Sherlock
via the International Center of Photography

ca. 1865, [composite carte de visite portrait of Jefferson Davis in a dress, holding a bowie knife], P.T. Sherlock

via the International Center of Photography

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. 1862-75, [carte de visite portrait of an unidentified man seated among three spirits], William Mumler

"In the early 1860s Mumler became the first producer and marketer of ‘spirit photographs,’ portraits in which hazy figures, presumed to be the spirits of the deceased, loom behind or alongside living sitters. He quickly garnered the support of the burgeoning Spiritualist movement, which held that the human spirit exists beyond the body and that the dead can—and do—communicate with the living. Mumler first discovered his calling while working as a jewelry engraver in Boston, but his career there was cut short when a ghost that had appeared in two of his photographs was discovered to be a local resident who was still very much alive. In 1868 he opened a studio in New York City but was arrested the following year on charges of fraud and larceny."

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1862-75, [carte de visite portrait of an unidentified man seated among three spirits], William Mumler

"In the early 1860s Mumler became the first producer and marketer of ‘spirit photographs,’ portraits in which hazy figures, presumed to be the spirits of the deceased, loom behind or alongside living sitters. He quickly garnered the support of the burgeoning Spiritualist movement, which held that the human spirit exists beyond the body and that the dead can—and do—communicate with the living. Mumler first discovered his calling while working as a jewelry engraver in Boston, but his career there was cut short when a ghost that had appeared in two of his photographs was discovered to be a local resident who was still very much alive. In 1868 he opened a studio in New York City but was arrested the following year on charges of fraud and larceny."

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1889, [cabinet card, montage portrait of J.H. Short and J. W. Shanklin, co-owners of “The Daily Republican”], Rifenburg & Dowe
via Luminous Lint, from a private collection, LL/39495 

ca. 1889, [cabinet card, montage portrait of J.H. Short and J. W. Shanklin, co-owners of “The Daily Republican”], Rifenburg & Dowe

via Luminous Lint, from a private collection, LL/39495 

ca. 1870-1900’s, [cabinet card collage, portrait of a gentleman with his head in his hand], Barnum
via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47889 

ca. 1870-1900’s, [cabinet card collage, portrait of a gentleman with his head in his hand], Barnum

via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47889 

ca. 1881, [carte de visite bust portrait of “James”]
via Luminous Lint, Private Collection, LL/38300 

ca. 1881, [carte de visite bust portrait of “James”]

via Luminous Lint, Private Collection, LL/38300 

ca. 1871, [carte de visite portrait of Moses A. Dow, Editor of Waverley Magazine, with the spirit of Mabel Warren], William H. Mumler
via the American Museum of Photography, William. B. Becker Collection

ca. 1871, [carte de visite portrait of Moses A. Dow, Editor of Waverley Magazine, with the spirit of Mabel Warren], William H. Mumler

via the American Museum of Photography, William. B. Becker Collection

ca. 1899, [silver print portrait of a gentleman inflating an enlarged duplicate of his own head, “Un Coup de Pompe, S.V.P.”]

“Around the turn of the twentieth century, decapitation was a hugely popular theme among photographers, stage magicians, and early filmmakers such as Georges Méliès. This photograph of a bearded gentleman tenderly inflating an enlarged duplicate of his own head with a bicycle pump graced the cover of the amateur photography magazine Photo Pêle-Mêle in 1903. Apparently, balloon heads were in the air in Belle Époque Paris. Two years earlier, Méliès had produced a short film, L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (The Man with the Rubber Head, 1901), in which a scientist inflates a replica of his own head with a bellows.”

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1899, [silver print portrait of a gentleman inflating an enlarged duplicate of his own head, “Un Coup de Pompe, S.V.P.”]

Around the turn of the twentieth century, decapitation was a hugely popular theme among photographers, stage magicians, and early filmmakers such as Georges Méliès. This photograph of a bearded gentleman tenderly inflating an enlarged duplicate of his own head with a bicycle pump graced the cover of the amateur photography magazine Photo Pêle-Mêle in 1903. Apparently, balloon heads were in the air in Belle Époque Paris. Two years earlier, Méliès had produced a short film, L’homme à la tête de caoutchouc (The Man with the Rubber Head, 1901), in which a scientist inflates a replica of his own head with a bellows.”

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1855, [manipulated daguerreotype portrait of a “two-headed” man]
via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1855, [manipulated daguerreotype portrait of a “two-headed” man]

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1860-80’s, [carte de visite portrait of “Annie Lord Chamberlain, Musical Medium, showing spirit hands, instruments, etc.”] William H. Mumler 
 via  Larry Gottheim’s BeHold Fine Photographics

ca. 1860-80’s, [carte de visite portrait of “Annie Lord Chamberlain, Musical Medium, showing spirit hands, instruments, etc.”] William H. Mumler 

via Larry Gottheim’s BeHold Fine Photographics

ca. 1865, [carte de visite collage portrait of Jefferson Davis “in disguise, as he appeared at the time of his capture”]
via the International Center of Photography, “President in Petticoats! Civil War Propaganda in Photographs” Exhibit

ca. 1865, [carte de visite collage portrait of Jefferson Davis “in disguise, as he appeared at the time of his capture”]

via the International Center of Photography, “President in Petticoats! Civil War Propaganda in Photographs” Exhibit

ca. 1860-90’s, [carte de visite collage of a man’s head superimposed on a baby’s body]
via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47897 

ca. 1860-90’s, [carte de visite collage of a man’s head superimposed on a baby’s body]

via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47897 

ca. 1870-75, [carte de visite portrait of Fanny Conant among spirit arms and hands showering her with flowers], William Mumler
via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1870-75, [carte de visite portrait of Fanny Conant among spirit arms and hands showering her with flowers], William Mumler

via the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

ca. 1860-90’s, [carte de visite collage of a gentleman’s head on a plate]
via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47899 

ca. 1860-90’s, [carte de visite collage of a gentleman’s head on a plate]

via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47899 

ca. 1860-1900’s, [cabinet card collage of a women scolding the held head of another woman], Carl v. Gedde  via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47892 

ca. 1860-1900’s, [cabinet card collage of a women scolding the held head of another woman], Carl v. Gedde 

via Luminous Lint, from the private collection of Laddy Kite, LL/47892 

"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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