Sunday, June 10, 2018

1864-1866 CDV: Civil War Photograph Tax

I've been wanting to add a civil war revenue stamped carte de visite to my collection, and this photograph kept speaking to me. I just love the unique pattern on her dress sleeves.

In 1864, Congress enacted a revenue tax on photographs to raise money for the civil war. Any photographs from that brief period (1864-1866) will usually have a revenue stamp on the back of the photograph, sometimes canceled with a handwritten date or a scribble in ink. 


Her hair is styled with a snood, which was in fashion at the time. It's very similar to a hair net.

I'm not sure what is written on the back of this CDV, if you have any ideas, please leave them below in the comments. It's most likely a name. I sort of see 'Paris', so that's what I've decided to call the girl in the photograph. Unfortunately someone put tape on the photograph at some point in it's 150+ year history.


The pattern on her sleeves intrigues me the most. The cross hatch, slash, almost hash tag pattern. I've seen similar styles on other civil war dresses. My friend Maryann thinks this sort of design was probably only worn by union states, which makes sense, as the photograph was taken in New York. 
Similar examples:
Source: Pinterest
Source @civilwarmonitor
If any civil war buffs out there know if this design means anything in particular I would love to hear from you.

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Thursday, May 10, 2018

Sid, Sall, & Salt Water Taffy- 1914 postcard (Atlantic City NJ)

Atlantic City, New Jersey. The beach, the shore. In 1914, a little girl named, Sid (possibly Sidney) wrote this postcard to her friend Sally in Minneapolis.

The wicker rolling chair that she is posing in, is still a popular boardwalk pastime in Atlantic City to this day, and real photo postcards made a popular souvenir in the early Twentieth century. We can only guess who is pictured with Sidney. Her Mother?, Aunt?, Sister?, or the Betty mentioned in the postcard? With no last name it's almost impossible to trace them.

April 1914: Dear Sall, I got a box of salt water taffy and a Campbell kid like yours, only with a blue dress and Betty and I had a Easter hunt. I'm going to get some grape juice now. Lots of love, Sid.

The Campbell Kid mentioned in the postcard is of course, a Campbell Soup Kid! Campbells was founded in New Jersey back in 1869. Their Campbell Kid advertisements became incredibly popular in the early 1900's, & all sorts of merchandise, (including dolls) were sold.

I also love the mention of salt water taffy! Growing up in Philadelphia, my family always went down the shore every summer. (We frequented Ocean City, NJ). I always loved stopping at Shrivers and buying a box of their amazing salt water taffy, (or pistachio fudge!) You can even order it online. My husband and I ordered a box for Valentine's Day this year. 

To see more posts like this check out my HistoricalSeries category. 

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Little Miss Priss- 1860's CDV (Ottawa Illinois)

Even in early photography, there were times children didn't want to cooperate, as this little girls face reveals. She looks to be on the verge of a tantrum. It could sometimes take up to a minute for the exposure to take, so it was probably hard for her to hold her pose. I love her expression, it's priceless! It's rare to find such an expressive photograph from the early 19th century. I nicknamed her 'Little Miss Priss'. She looks to be around three to four years old. This carte de visite photograph is circa 1860-1870. It was taken in Ottawa, Illinois. 
I just had to make her into a meme, lol! ;) Feel free to share! 
I recently acquired this antique CDV photo album. The front cover is inscribed 1865. I'll share a post about it soon, see the video below! (Click here to view if embedded video isn't showing
A post shared by Sarah Lynn (@bordenpears33) on
To see more posts like this check out my HistoricalSeries category. 
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Monday, February 19, 2018

Historical Series (#10) CDV 'Carte de Visite' photographs 1870-1890's

Carte de visite photographs were popular around 1859-1890. They were eventually replaced in popularity by the larger style, Cabinet Card

Carte de visite literally means "Visiting Card". CDV photgraphs are no larger than a modern business card and were meant to be traded between friends. They are made out of a heavy card stock, with the photo mounted on the front. The photographers studio is usually printed on the back of the CDV card.
A little boy and his 19th century hoop, 
used for hoop rolling.
An extremely interesting (or slightly disturbing) taxidermy rabbit pull toy.
Dressed in Sunday's finest.
Her cheeks have been tinted on the photograph.

Their small size makes them quite collectible. CDV albums of friends & family were popular in the 19th century. I've recently started my own CDV photo collection.
Historical Series:
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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Historical Series (#9) Mourning Brooch, Samuel & Lydia Cutler- drowned in shipwreck June 28 1832

I'm back after a bit of a hiatus. I'm still collecting vintage and antique items. I have so many stories I want to share about some of the objects I've collected. Today is an antique mourning brooch.

I've wanted to own a piece of Victorian mourning jewelry ever since I discovered they existed. I used to check out the 'Art of Mourningwebsite, admiring the jewelry and the stories behind them. Mourning and hairwork jewelry goes back to middle ages, though during the 19th century it seemed to flourish. (source) Most mourning pieces use a lock of the deceased's hair in the jewelry. Some pieces are very elaborate while others are more simple, using a braided lock of hair. 

When I saw this mourning brooch, I didn't want to pass it up once I saw the back was engraved with initials and a date of death! I did a little digging on Ancestry and Google and came up with quite a bit of information. The backstory to this mourning brooch is absolutely fascinating, yet tragic. 

Samuel Cutler (79) and his wife Lydia (63) were on board the 'Rob Roy' schooner, June 28th of 1832 (source). They were headed to Portland Maine from Newburyport in Massachusetts where they lived. A storm squall came up, capsizing the ship. (sourceFive passengers were trapped in the cabin and drowned. Samuel & his wife Lydia were among the victims, the bodies were recovered and laid to rest. I imagine one of their family members had this mourning brooch made after theirs deaths to remember them by. (Some documents on Ancestry mention they had 7 children. Lydia was Samuels 2nd wife). 

It appears there's two different colors of hair braided in the middle of the brooch, so I'm assuming it is from locks of both Samuel and Lydia's hair. The brooch is incredibly tiny, it was probably worn at the throat pinned to a dress. There are jet beads, though one is missing and a few have cracks, and tiny seed pearls, though some are discolored with age.


My favorite part of this brooch is the engraving on the back: 'S & LC of June 28 1832'
The braid of hair in the center of the brooch,
The grave of Samuel & Lydia Cutler. (source)
This document was found on Ancestry. It mentions both Samuel and Lydia. (source)
An obituary for Samuel & Lydia's daughter. They are both mentioned in the notice. (source)
Samuel Cutler was a clerk and merchant during his life. There is a book that comes up on Google with a journal he kept on board a prison ship. (source)
I hope you found the story of this mourning brooch as interesting as I have. 
Historical Series:

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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christalena ♥


This is the hardest post I have ever had to write. How do you even sit down and begin to write about someone that was so close to you? Not just cousins, but sisters. My cousin Chrissy lost her battle with cancer December 3rd, 2017. She was only 33 years old.
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