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 also accept donations of pre-1927 images to be reunited. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Clues In the Card: Mr. Babcock, 1890s

When you begin to collect photographic images, you start to note the changes in fashion through the years.  Women's fashions provide all sorts of clues for dating old photographs. Men's fashions, not so much.  I thought perhaps there might be a clue in the style of our subject's facial hair, but alas, men could wear a variety of moustache and hair styles throughout the later part of the 19th century.    In this example, the hints come mostly from the photograph itself.

Cabinet card photographs, such as this one, were most popular from the 1870s and on through to the late 1890s.  Scalloped edges became a popular feature of cabinet cards around 1890.  The addition of ornamental features such as the scroll and flowers you see on this photograph also developed in the 1890s.  Beyond that, I'm not able to guess the date of this photo with any accuracy.

Silvester Babcock, or someone wanting to identify it, graciously inscribed this decorative cabinet card for us.  It was taken at the J. Jennings studio in Scandia, Kansas.  Unfortunately, the fact that Mr. Babcock had a photograph taken in Scandia, KS doesn't mean that he lived in or near the place.  It just means that he was there long enough to sit for a photograph.  A search of the census shows numerous Silvester/Sylvester Babcocks in Kansas and nearby states.  We might get lucky and find a Babcock researcher with a photograph to compare this with, but I'm afraid this is one of my "long-shot" photographs.


  1. Hello,
    I came across this photo/page while web searching for anything I may find on the Babcock family. I have a picture of Sylvester pictured here wearing the same outfit just more of a face shot. I (and my mother ) would love to have this photo. Sylvester is my mother's great grandfather. If you would like to see the photo we have for comparison let me know.


    D. Palmer

  2. Hi Debrah, please email me at the contact email I've provided in my profile and I can send the info re: Sylvester. At one time I had two other Babcock images in addition to a second copy of Sylvester's picture, but a researcher claimed those several years ago, so I just have one Sylvester picture available.