Dating 19th century photographs

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I’ll start off the list with something I learned while following the advice of a Flickr friend.

Perhaps you’ve seen them in an archival collection or museum, or seen modern reproductions at a Civil War reenactment. Wherever you may have encountered them, know that archivists in the MARAC region could not have a better guide to the fascinating world of 19 century portrait photographs than Gary Saretzky, archivist in the Monmouth County Clerk’s Office in Manalapan, New Jersey.

However, later into its popularity, other types of papers began to replace the albumen process.

Despite the similarity, the cabinet card format was initially used for landscape views before it was adopted for portraiture.

For example, during the Civil War in 1864, Congress instituted a tax on various goods in order to defray the government’s war debts.

The goods ranged from perfumes and cosmetics to cigar lights, wax tapers, playing cards and photographs, namely ambrotypes, cdvs, tintypes, and daguerreotypes.

Many images in our collection have come to us with only the barest of details attached.

Your knowledge, interest and enjoyment in identifying dates and locations is helping us to fill in some of the blanks and, in turn, provide better access to the State’s archives.

It is quite extraordinary that these images of illicit female affection still survive as many old photos of homosexual couples are believed to have been purposely destroyed by family members Forbidden love: Two women are pictured here caught in a passionate embrace, circa 1890. C.), and later the Air Force, rising to the rank of First Lieutenant Two women caught in an embrace, circa 1920s (left); and Mary Edmonia Lewis, an American sculptor who worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy, seen here circa 1874 and is rumoured to have been a lesbian (right)Some images in the extraordinary collection offer clues into the nature of the relationship between the women pictured (in this image, left, are two women labelled as Annabell and Gladys, circa 1900).

The cabinet card was large enough to be easily viewed from across the room when typically displayed on a cabinet, which is probably why they became known as such in the vernacular.

However, when the renowned Civil War photographer Mathew Brady first started offering them to his clientele towards the end of 1865, he used the trademark "Imperial Carte-de-Visite." Ironically, early into its introduction, the cabinet card ushered in the temporary demise of the photographic album which had come into existence commercially with the carte de visite.

Your amazing contributions to the Moments in Time photo series have really blown us away here Archives Outside.

In fact, it became our most successful series on the blog after just the second post!

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