Ordinary Individuals (The 1860s)

Figure 1.--This ambrotype (2 in. x 2.5 in.) shows a small boy dressed in light-colored suit. We are not sure about the color. The suit has a cut-away jacket matches the long-cut knee pants. The pants seem to button on the vest. The boy is seated in a small armchair next to a cloth-draped table. The jacket is trimmed with dark braid and buttons down the front and around the sleeve cuffs. Small brass buttons follow the line of the braid--a form of military styling. The boy’s left elbow rests on a table holding a child-sized drum with drumsticks resting on top. As with most cased-portrairs, we do not know who this was. The portrait is not dated, but the suit and format suggest the early 1860s to us.

We still see a few Daguerreotypes and Ambrotypes in the 1860s, especially the early 60s. The development of negative-based photography meant that these older formats were soon replaced by CDVs and later cabinent cards. CDVs were especially common in the 1860s and because they were less expensive, we see many more portraits in the 60s than eaelier decades. Younger boys commonly wore dresses. We see many boys wearing tunics, although it is often difficult to destingish between tunics and shirts. Boys also commonly wore suits with cut-away jackets. Many boys' outfits had military styling. The styling was highly variable, primarily because clothes were mostly sewn at home or bought from local millenary ot taylor shops. Ready-made clothes were not yet available. Collars were often small and white. Younger boys wore knee pants or bloomer knickers which were becoming increasingly popular aming the stylish set. Long pants continued to be the most common form of trousers. All older boys wore long pants. White socks seem very common.

Unidentified Teenager (Scotland, about 1860)

This uncased Ambrotype is difficult to assess. The portrait tyle and the clothing date it to about 1860, surely between 1855-65. This is the time range of most Ambrotypes. The cut-away jacket which the boy wears was a popular style in the 1860s, at least in America. We are less sure about the time line in Scotland. The pose seems more like the 1850s. The teenager seems a little older than most Americas noys we have found wearing cut-away jackets. Agaon, the conventins could be different in Scotland. While the portrait is not identiied, we think it is Scottish for twp reasons. One is the Balnoral cap or tam the boy wears. That would have been unusual in America. To is that the back of the portrait has what looks like newspaper from Bbitain. He has an Eton collar and elogated boe. He seems to be wearing some kind of leggings.

Unidentified Siblings (United States, about 1860)

Here is a double union case with portraits of two children. They surely are brother and sister, both of whom appear to be between 3-5 years of age. Neither photograph is externally identified. The girl's photograph, which I believe to be an ambrotype, has light traces of tinting on her cheeks and gilding of her necklace. The young lady also apparently has a ring on her right finger as well. The nlond boy's cheeks are also lightly tinted and he's clearly wearing a smart, quasi-military outfit, consisting of a dark (probably blue or black) trimmed jacket and checked trousers. The odds are that they were both raised in comfortable surroundings. Using this analysis, I would surmise these images date to anout 1855-1865. It is not possible to be more specific in images like these that are not dated. Unfortunately there is no provenance for these images other than they were acquired in Lafayette, Indiana. They apparently had connections with a family in Tennessee. They are fine, and haunting, images of two young children, probably brother and sister.

Lagai, Rudi (United States, early 1860s)

This is a CDV photo of a “Rudy Lagai, Esq.”. I am not sure what kind of name that is. It is not a common American name. The portrait was taken by F. Dessaur, New York City. I think it was probably taken in 1962 or 63, partly because there is no Federal Revenue stamp. It could, however, been taken after 1866. Rudy wears a light-colored two-piece suit. The sleeves of the jacket are cut full with a cuff to gather them at the wrist. It is a collar buttoning jacket. As common at the time there is a waist band covering the bottom of the jacket ad top of the pants which are done as knee pnts. Rudi also wears white stockings.

Russell, Charles and Harland (United States, early 1860s)

These two boys had a CDV portrait made in the 1860s, probably the early 60s. We think that the brothers are American, although there is no printing on the mount. The lack of printing suggests the portrait was taken in the early 60s. The boys look to be about 6-9 years old. They wear matching Zouave outfits. The jackets are done in the cut-away style with heavy embroidery. The embrouidery is repeated on a matching belt and at the side of the heavily blouced bloomer knickers. The small jackets and baggy pants were hallmarks of the Zouave style. Zouaves outfits were inspired by French North African soldiers. It was a poplar style in America during the Civil War (1861-65), although rarely were the blue and red colors adopted for boys' outfits. The color looks, however, to be a light-muted shade, not the bright red and blue Zouave colors. The puttees further confirm military styling.

Vail, Ollie (United States, 1860s)

This CDV portrait shows Ollie Vail in a cut-away jacket suit with long pants. Note the connecting tabs on the cut-away jacket, The trousers have a very full cut. The suit material is a rather loud check. I'm not sure about the color. He has a blouse with small collar which unusually hangs out over the jacket. Also notice how the blouce sleeves balloon out. This suggests to us that the portrait is a fairly early CDV, perhaps 1862-64. Ollie is a good example of how common long pants were in the 1860s. Even quite young boys wore them. Ollie looks to be about 7-8 years old. The portrait was taken at the Union Gallery in Danbury, Connecticut. It is not dated, but would have been taken in the 1860s. As there is no tax stamp it would have to be either before September 1, 1864 or after August 1, 1866. During this time a tax was charged and there is no revenue stamp on the back of this portrait..

Unknown Boy (United States, early 1860s)

This ambrotype (2 in. x 2.5 in.) shows a small boy dressed in light-colored suit (figure 1). We are not sure about the color. The suit has a cut-away jacket matches the long-cut knee pants. The pants seem to button on the vest. The boy is seated in a small armchair next to a cloth-draped table. The jacket is trimmed with dark braid and buttons down the front and around the sleeve cuffs. Small brass buttons follow the line of the braid--a form of military styling. The boy’s left elbow rests on a table holding a military drum and drumsticks resting on top. We are guessing this was a studio prop. As with most cased-portrairs, we do not know who this was. The portrait is not dated, but the suit and format suggest the early 1860s to us. The Civil War began in 1861 and we suspect this portrait was taken at the start of the War.

Bowles Family (United States, 1860s)

An unidentified painter did a beutufully detailed portrait of a young boy from the Bolles family of New London, Connecticut. The portrait is undated but looks to be from the the 1860s. He wears a grey suit with oversized wide sleeves and the kneepants that were beconming fashionable in the 1860s. Early kneepants like these temded to be quite long.

Maxwell, Ralph C. (United States, 1861)

We notice an ambrotype photographer in Boston who included some infoirmation about his studio in the cased ambros. The portrait was of Ralph W. Maxwell. The ambrotype, in gold color framing, after slowly removing picture, the white little letter and green advertisment were found, the white paper reads- (Roallph?) Ralph W. Maxwell August 19th 1861 aged 3 years 1 month". Ralph wears a dress abd has not yet been breeched. On the green piece looks like a small business card it reads- Ambrotype and Photograph Saloon! C. D. Healey, Artist, from Hale's Daguerreotype and Photograph Rooms, Boston. The studio had a sky and side light. Then goes on with more about Mr. Healey, where he would go out to you home to take photos of someone sick or deceased.

Larrer, Edward (England, 1861)

This CDV portrait shows Edward Larrer in a suit with a very long jacket. We suspect it was Edward's first adult-styled suit. Edward looks about 13 years old. Note his rounded straw hat. I don't think that this was an adult style. There is a pencil notation indicating the portrait was taken in August 1861. The portrait was taken by J. Huggins, Norwich, United Kingdom. It shows that CDVs werevbeing made in England in the early 60s. The date for America is commonly given as 1862, we are not yet sure of this.

Johnson, Henry (United States, about 1861-62)

The boy in this CDV portrait is identified as Henry Johnson on the reverse. Rhe studio is not identified or is it dated. The fact that there is on logo on the CDV and no reventue stamp suggests to us thst it was an early CDV. We believe it was taken in 1861 or 62. He holds an elongated kepi, but this does not appear to be a uniform. These collar buttoning jackets were a popular boy's style in the 1850s and early 60s. The dog looks like it is stuffed.

Raymond, John M. (United States, about 1862)

Here we seen a youth who has volunteered for the Confederate Army, probably in 1862. I'm not sure how old he was, probably about 17 years old I would guess. Note the lack of any badges or insignia. The portrait was taken in Nashville, Tennessee which is probably where he was from. Given his smart uniform, we would guess he was from a well to do Nashville family. We know nothing about his military service or his family at this time.

King, Alice and Charlie (United States, 1862)

We note matching CDV portraits of Alice and Charlie King. We are not sure that they are siblings, but they probably were. King is the name of the woman who redeemed and adopted them. Presumably they had the same slave birth mother, but we do not jnow this for certain. We do know that they were both slave boy redeemed by a Mrs. King of Lima, New York. She also adopted the children. Their portraits were taken at the same time which we can tell by the identical setting and outfits. The children wear matching dresses. The children seemed to have been redeemed about 1861, the year the Civil war broke out. We do not know when the CDV was taken, probanly in 1861 or 62. The later date was more likely as the CDV was just being introduced in the early 60s. They could not have been taken earlier as the CDV process was not introduced in the United States earlier. The Emancipation Proclamation was not issued until late in 1862 and did not become effective until 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation, however, did not abolish the institution of slavery. We do not know where the children were from or just how Mrs. King selected them to redeem. Presumably she had to buy their freedom. This CDV was reproduced commercially to raise funds. The CDV process based on a negative made it ppossible to reproduce the images in large quantities. We do not know how the funds from the sale of the CDVs were used. Notice the great Civil War era drum in Charli's portrait. We suspecy that was a studio prop.

Newcomb, Fred (United States, 1862)

Several CDVs from a album compiled by the Newcomb family from New London Connecticut include boys and youth. Some are Newcomb boys. Other are their friends. And there is a CDDV of a school class at the Hill Street School in New London that FredNewcomb attended. We are guessing the boys at the school exchnged portrait of each other--and indication that the family and their friends were affluent. Some of the portraits are dated 1862. We believe that all of them were taken about the same time. This was early in the Civil War. The boys' patriotic frvor is displayed in a unit they formed--Star Company. New London was an important port and there would have been a lot of naval activity there. We know nothing about the Newcomb family otther than they look affluent. Al we have to go on are the CDVs.

Martin, P.H. (United States, 1862)

This reprint photo shows a little boy, dressed as a Union drummer boy. He wears a cut-away jacket with button work to give a military look. It is not really based on the uniforms worj by Uniin drummer boys. Note the long knee pants and white stockings. White or light-colored stockings were quite common in the 1860s. The little boy is identified at P.H. Martin. He was photographed in 1862. I think it is from a CDV, but I am not sure. The original is in the Library of Congress collection. Drummer boys were begoing legend by 1862. It was of boys like P.H. here that became drummer boys. He must have come from a prosperous or at least comfortable family. Most drummer boys came from rural families, usually of very modest means.

Unidentified Brothers (United States, 1862)

These are two of the earliest Carte de Viste (CDV) portraits archived on HBC. Both are dated June 1862. This would suggest thsat they could have been taken to send to a father serving in the Federal army during the Civil War. They are an extrodinary matched set of hand tinted CDVs picturing two brothers or twins, each with a hoop. The boys wear almost idebtical white dresses. We have found quite a number of tinted dags, but tinting CDVs was less common. Unfortunately we do not know the boys' names. The portrait was taken at the house/studio of O. H. Willard in Philadelphia. It is an example of a daguerreotyper who had shifted to CDVs. Wjile we know nothing about the boys, quite a bit of information is available on Willard.

Mayer, Framz Xavier (Bavaria, 1862)

Franz Xaver Mayer was born in Ansbach, Bavaria in 1858. At the time Bavaria was an independent country, but would become pat of the new German Empire in 1871. His portrait here was tken about 1862. He looks to be about 4-5 years old. Unfortunately the portrait is very faded, but we can make out some details. Franz has short curly hair. He holds a brimmed-hat with a rounded crown. It seems to be decorated, but it is hard to make out the detail. There are no streamers. He wears a kneepants suit with a cut-away jacket. The sleeves come to just below the elbows and are cut and embroidered. His blouse has a ruffled collar and sleeves that blouse out. We hve no details on Franz's childhood or his family. His outdit suggests that the family was affluennt. Sadly Franz died at an early age in 1871 in Munich.

Wildgrass, Henry (Canada, 1863)

This is one of the thousands of the portraits taken at the Notman and Sons Studio in Montreal. The portrait here is Master Henry Wildgrass. The portrait was taken around June-August 1863. Henry wears what looks like a cut-away jacket and vest with knee pants and white three-quater socks, He has a lace collar and matching swrist cuffs. This might be called a Little Lord Fsuntleroy suit, but appeared two decades before Mrs. Burnett wrore her book. Henry also has ringlet curls with an unusual center part. Usually ringlet hsir styles has the centerv psrt broken by front bangs.

Bartley Family (United States, 1860s)

This CDV portrait shows an American boy wears a dress and long pantalettes. He is carrying a cap, but it is a little dificult to tell wht kind. The boy is unidentified, but the CDV was found in the Bartley family album from Seneca Falls, New York. He looks about 4 years old. The portrait is undated, but looks to have been taken in the 1860s.

Platt, David (United States, about 1865)

Here we have 2 1/6 Plate and 1/9 plate Ruby Ambrotypes of David Platt. He looks to be about 10 years old. In the 1/6 Plate image he is holding his dog, a great looking mutt. Notice how he is holding the dog tight. This was necessary to get the dog to sit still for the shot. Slow film speeds mean that any motion would have ruined the portrit. We are guessing that David insisted on having the pooch in the portrait, In the 1/9 Plate he is holding his hat for the photo, although we can not make out much of the hat. Both ambrotypes have a tax stamp on the back, dating them to the Civ War era. The 1/6 Plate image sits in a two-tone American Eagle case. In both images, the boy's cheeks are tinted. The boys wear a rather bloucey jacket with a small white collar and bow. He has stripped pants, probably long trousers.

L.D. Ross (Canada, 1865)

This Canadian boy, Master L.D. Ross was photographed at the Notman studio about March-June 1865. This was a Canada's nest known photographer. The boy kooks to be about 4 years old. He wears a plaid dress, in keeping with a Scootis nsme. He also wears pantalettes and holds a rounded croewn hat that seems to have a large bow.

Bryant Boy (United States, 1864-66)

Younger boys tended to have solid collored suits without patterns. This CDV portrait shows the son of Abe Bryant. The studio was Gates Bros. (negative 254) in Watkins, New York. We jnow te portrait was taken during 1864-66because of the tax stamp on the back. The boys jacket and pants do not match, but they are solid colored fabric.

Bittle, Joseph (United States, 1860s)

This CDV shows a boy named Joseph Bittle. The portrait is undated, but was clearly taken in the 1860s. The lack of a tax stamp suggests it was probably taken during or after 1866. Joseph wears a collar buttoning jacket suit with what looks like a stiff white collar and long pants. It looks rather like a light-collored suit. The suit is large for him. Presumably mother bouught a large size thatvhe could grow into. He is holding well used rounded crown hat. It looks too large for him. Joseph looks to be about 10 years old. The portrait was taken by Hoag & Quick in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Christie, Tom K. (United States, 1867)

This boy is identified as Tom K. Christie. - He had a CDV portrait taken in 1867. We do not know, however, where he lived. The studio is not identified on the CDV. The CDV has been colorized. Tom was born Secember 7, 1858. So he would have been 9 years old when the portrait was taken. The image is a little unclear, but Tom seems to be wearing a tunic suit with what looks like bloomer knickers and white stockings. Note the diaginal styling. That was popular in the late-1860s and 70s. Interestingly, the studio has colorized a potted plant and cloth throw, but not the boy's outfit, except for the blue hat band on his rounded-crown hat. Perhaps the tunic suit was grey or brown. It seems rather strange to color items like plants and not the boy's outfit.

Carjat, E'tiene (France, 1869)

This French boy, E'tiene Carjat, was photographed in 1869. He wears a stripped dress with extensive embroidery, including a flower device offset at the waistband. We know nothing about the boy, except that he looks to be about 4-5 years old. He wears patterned stockings with his dress.

Schwensusen, John (United States, 1860s)

This studio CDV portrait shows a boy about 8-9 years old wearing what looks like a bowtie. He is John Schwensusen. That was not a very common name. I'm guessing it is German. The studio was Smith's Gallery of Photography at the Motch's Building, Madison and Pike, Covington, Kentucky. There is no Federal tax stamp. This means that the portrait could have been taken in the early-1860s. Given the elaboate lettering om the back and the pose, we believe it was taken after the Civil War, probably in the late-1860s. John wears a cut-away jacket which doesn't match his trousers. His pants apparently button-on to his shirt. He has white stockings and hight-top shoes. Note his rounded-crown hat.

Unidentified Boy (United States, late 1860s)

This Afro-American boy had a tin-type portrait made, we think some time after the Civil War. Unfortunately the portrait is undated. We would guess he was photograohed in the late 1860s or perhaps the early 70s. We do not know if he was a freed slave or a freeman. He looks as if he comes from a prosperous family so we think he most likely came from the north. The great majority of blacks at the time lived in the south, but even after emancipation they were very poor. We are not sure how to date the boy's jacket, but the stock he is wearing was more popular in the 1860s than the 70s,

Detroit Brothers (United States, late 1860s)

This is a wonderful tin-type portrait of three Detroit brothers. The boys are standing straigt as arrows for the portrait. The children are clearly wearing hand-made clothes, mostly made of a checked material. The portrait is cased in an oval frame. The children's cheeks have been lightly tinted. The oval fram could be hung on the wall, but it is relatively small, 4" tall by 3.5". The oval frame suggests to us that the portrait was taken in the late 1860s or early 70s. The portrait could have been taken earlier, but early tin-types were often done in cases like those for Daguerreotypes or Ambrotypes.


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Created: 7:18 PM 12/27/2006
Last updated: 12:26 AM 10/24/2010