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

Monday, June 18, 2012

Mystery Monday: Who Is the Young Girl in Mr. Immke's CDV?

While we don't know the name of this young girl, there is some hope that her identity might be discovered.  As I was searching for information about the photographer, H.W. Immke of Princeton, Illinois, I was thrilled to find that the Bureau County Museum in Princeton, has an extensive collection of Immke's photographs.  You will find some wonderful photographs of the man and his family on their website, as well a short biography and details about the archive. I do hope there are plans to digitize the collection in the future.   I've written to the museum to see if they have any ideas about identifying or dating this image. 
While we're waiting to hear back, I thought I would take a stab at narrowing down the date of the cdv.  The BCM website says that H.W. Immke worked as a photographer in Princeton from 1866 to 1923.

The imprint is distinctive, but I couldn't find an exact match to it in any of Immke's dated photographs I found online.  So, let's look at the image.  There are several things that make me think this was taken in the 1870s. The fringed chair was popular with photographers in the late 1860s up until the late 1870s.  I found a photograph, taken in 1868 by Immke, with the same chair, or at the very least, the same style of chair.  Prior to the mid-1870s, backgrounds were also often fairly basic, and, in our photograph, the backdrop is plain.  The cardstock is of medium thickness, again hinting at a post-civil war date.

As I was going through Darrah's Cartes De Visite in Nineteenth Century Photography with this photograph in mind, I found a reference to the National Photographic Association's logo that Immke has included on the imprint.  According to Darrah, this logo was used on imprints between 1871 and 1875, but was most widely applied during the years 1872 and 1873.   I would tentatively date this image between 1871 and 1875.

Any guesses as to what the little girl is holding in her hand?  A cookie?


  1. What an angel! No idea what she is holding, that's a terribly large cookie! I just wanted to let you know I have enjoyed your blog and your research on this cdv is impressive. I've added you to my blog roll.

    Teresa Wilson Rogers

  2. Thanks Teresa, I've been over to your wonderful blog, too! I loved your post on Edna Loftus--what a beauty, and what a life. Sad in so many ways. Will add you as well. Hope you stop by again!

  3. After 1871 the corners are usually rounded on a CdV. Colors..in this case pastel cards were used from 1873 and on to 1910.
    I have seen that same style chair used throughout the early years..there must have been a salesman that sold them to photographers.
    I think you are very close with your date of 1871 to 1875. She is a real cutie:)