Thursday, March 10, 2011
A Carte de Visite Album 1
This is one of the first big pieces in the old photo collection, given as a present by a relative, even though she agreed with the rest of my family that it was very weird that I was obsessed with collecting stuff. I'm not yet sure how I'm going to space this one out. There aren't that many photos left in the album. Many of the pictures have been torn out, the pages and album spine are very delicate, and I'm somewhat concerned that I might damage it when I put it on the scanner. It's hard to see, but there is a price of $15 on the first full page of the album. A bargain by today's standards.
As I've written in some of my earlier carte de visite posts, the CDV and the larger cabinet card were early attempts to come up with standard format for photographs. Printed and then mounted on same size card stock, they could be carried in card cases, or mounted in blank albums. In this particular album there is a slot in each page that allows for two CDVs, per page, to be slid in, back to back. While the photos could have been taken out and scanned separately, I decided not to risk any more damage to the album pages and left them in for scanning. The results, as can be seen, are a bit crooked.
Because some of the CDVs have been removed, the backs of some of the cards have been exposed. The photographers mark on the back of the woman holding the baby reads, "GEO. B. CHASE PHOTOGRAPHER, Scranton, Pa." The first shot of the child in a dress, "FRANK JEWELL PHOTOGRAPHER, Chase's Gallery. SCRANTON, PA." It seems that George Chase either took a partner or was successful enough to hire employees. It looks like this family moved, since the photos of the final two children each have "J. HAMILTON, PHOTOGRAPHER, FOURTH STREET, SIOUX CITY-IOWA" stamped on the back.
There was a strange custom in the nineteenth century of raising young boys as girls for the first four or five years of their lives. Note that the two pictures of the child wearing a dress look to be the same child, and that child is male.