I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Two CDVs from Philly

Civil war-era cartes de visites are fairly easy to date.  They are usually printed on very thin card stock and the portraits are often in head-shot, vignette style, with quite a bit of white space left around the subject.  The 1860's photographer's imprint is more subdued than in later years and seldom cover the entire back of the photograph.  Of course, a date cinches it, which is the case with the first of today's found photos.

Mrs. E. L. CLARK was photographed in October of 1863 at H. Manger's Photograph Gallery, on Chestnut Street in Philadelpha. It also has the mysterious phrase, "rats & mice" scribbled on the back of the photo.

Update:  the notation "rats & mice" may refer to Mrs. Clark's hairstyle.  Margaret Mitchell offers up a description of a hairstyle called "Cats, Rats, and Mice":  "The hair was parted in the middle and arranged in three rolls of graduating size on each side of the head, the largest, nearest the part, being the 'cat.'" (Gone with the Wind, Chapter XIII)

Our second photo, taken at Groom's Carte de Visite and Photograph Gallery, on Second Street, Philadelphia doesn't include a date, but provides this inscription, "Master D. F. DICKSON.  Sab. School Scholar. 1st R. P. Ch, Pa."

Both hairstyles in these photos hint at a 1860s time frame, as does Mrs. Clark's subtly pink-tinted cheeks. As you can see, there's always a few clues hiding in cartes de visites.


  1. Welcome to the GeneaBloggers family. Hope you find the association fruitful; I sure do. I have found it most stimulating, especially some of the Daily Themes.

    May you keep sharing your ancestor stories!

    Dr. Bill ;-)
    Author of "13 Ways to Tell Your Ancestor Stories" and family saga novels:
    "Back to the Homeplace" and "The Homeplace Revisited"

  2. Bill, Thanks so much for the welcome! So many great blogs over at GeneaBloggers...I've been reading and learning so much there.