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. 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. 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. 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. 1870’s, [double exposure, tintype portrait of a woman accompanied by a spirit]
via Luminous Lint, from the Andrew Daneman Collection of American Tintypes

ca. 1870’s, [double exposure, tintype portrait of a woman accompanied by a spirit]

via Luminous Lint, from the Andrew Daneman Collection of American Tintypes

ca. 1880, [tintype portrait of a gentleman with a spectral apparition]
via the Northern Light Gallery, Andrew Daneman Collection of American Tintypes

ca. 1880, [tintype portrait of a gentleman with a spectral apparition]

via the Northern Light Gallery, Andrew Daneman Collection of American Tintypes

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite spirit portrait of “Herbert Wilson and his intended”], Mains James Riley, Von Hasseln
via the Yale Collection of Western Americana, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Carl Mautz Collection

ca. 1855-95, [carte de visite spirit portrait of “Herbert Wilson and his intended”], Mains James Riley, Von Hasseln

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

ca. 1860-70’s, [carte de visite portrait John Nesbit being attended to by the apparition of his dead wife], William Mumler
via Heritage Auctions
Happy Halloween, everyone! Today, Historical Indulgences will feature a few tags from the blog in spirit of the season: spirit, post mortem, emotive or otherwise photo-manipulated antique images.

ca. 1860-70’s, [carte de visite portrait John Nesbit being attended to by the apparition of his dead wife], William Mumler

via Heritage Auctions

Happy Halloween, everyone! Today, Historical Indulgences will feature a few tags from the blog in spirit of the season: spirit, post mortem, emotive or otherwise photo-manipulated antique images.

ca. 1850-60, [portrait of a lady with a spirit and daisies]
via A Diamond Fell From the Sky, Flickr

ca. 1850-60, [portrait of a lady with a spirit and daisies]

via A Diamond Fell From the Sky, Flickr

ca. 1860-90, [spirit tintype, portrait of a woman reading a letter with a ghostly figure looming behind]
via Be-Hold Fine Photographs

ca. 1860-90, [spirit tintype, portrait of a woman reading a letter with a ghostly figure looming behind]

via Be-Hold Fine Photographs

ca. 1860-70’s. [carte de visite portrait of John Nisbit being attended to by the apparition of his dead wife], William H. Mumler
via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1860-70’s. [carte de visite portrait of John Nisbit being attended to by the apparition of his dead wife], William H. Mumler

via Heritage Auctions

ca. 1902, [Cabinet Card of Cabinet Card Surrounded by Spirits], Robert Boursnell
via Photo_History, Flickr

ca. 1902, [Cabinet Card of Cabinet Card Surrounded by Spirits], Robert Boursnell

via Photo_History, Flickr

ca. 1902, [Self-portrait of Robert Boursnell surrounded by spirits], Robert Boursnell
via Photo_History, Flickr

ca. 1902, [Self-portrait of Robert Boursnell surrounded by spirits], Robert Boursnell

via Photo_History, Flickr

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite spirit portrait with Harry Gordon, first American medium credited with levitation], William Mumler
via Photo_History, Flickr

ca. 1860’s, [carte de visite spirit portrait with Harry Gordon, first American medium credited with levitation], William Mumler

via Photo_History, Flickr

ca. 1861, “John J. Glover”, William Mumler 
via the J. Paul Getty Museum

ca. 1861, “John J. Glover”, William Mumler

via the J. Paul Getty Museum

"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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