Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Historical Series (#5) 1850's Daguerreotype of a Little Girl

I've always been interested in photography. After I got an antique tintype, I wanted to try and collect all the early photography types. I've wanted a daguerreotype, because it was the first successful photographic process. Invented in the late 1830's it was named after the inventor Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre

Daguerreotype photographs are made by exposing the image on a highly reflective piece of silver plated copper. If you view a "dag" straight on it looks like a mirror and the photograph appears as a negative. The photo is best viewed at angles. (Back in the day you would have to sit still for over a minute while getting your photograph taken, which explains why a lot of people didn't smile for photos back then!) 

My daguerreotype is not in the greatest condition. It's over 160 years old. The glass is scratched, it's missing the front of the union case, the leather is peeling. There's also a lot of oxidation on the metal frame and the photograph itself. But you can still see the image of the little girl quite clearly. This would have been taken around the 1850's and the little girl appears to be around 4-6 years old. There's no identifying information, so we don't know her name or where she was from.

The union case is made of wood and covered in leather, though it's peeling now. What's interesting is the image of the urn in the middle. Which makes me think this was a mourning piece and the little girl may have passed away. Postmortem photographs were not uncommon back then, but her eyes seem too vibrant to me in the photograph for her to be deceased. I could be wrong though. Let me know what you think in the comments below. 


There's another interesting little detail on the metal latch. What looks to be a Star of David? So our little girl's family was possibly Jewish. 

Daguerreotypes are highly reflective, they have a mirror like quality. You can usually only view the photograph from an angle. Below you can see the reflection of the antique key I was holding. Notice how her image appears as a ghostly negative.



Postmortem photograph or not? Her eyes seem too vibrant to me... what do you think?

Historical Series:
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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Historical Series: (#4) Photograph Postcards from the early 1900's

In the early 1900's photograph postcards were extremely popular. Think of them, as the selfies of the day. A lot of them were never mailed or postmarked. Most ended up in scrapbooks. I prefer collecting the postmarked cards, as it gives a more accurate time period, but sometimes a photograph is just too pretty to pass up. The postcard below is of a lady from the mid 1900's. It was never mailed, so there's no information about who she was, but her outfit and hat are gorgeous!

Ladies kept their hats on their head with hat pins. They could be up to 12 inches long! Check out this article from the Smithsonian: “The Hatpin Peril” Terrorized Men Who Couldn’t Handle the 20th-Century Woman.

This was another photograph postcard I picked up of two ladies, possibly sisters (or mother and daughter?). It was sent by Harriet in 1907 from Ladysmith Wisconsin to her friend Arthur. I'm not sure which girl is Harriet, but I like to think it's the right girl. There wasn't enough information on this card to find out exactly who Harriet was. But I believe I found her friend Mr. Albert Pierce of Foster City, Michigan.


The postcard says: Hello Albert! How is old Foster? I wish we were going to run up and visit you this summer as we used to. Remember me to everybody. Your old friend, Harriet.


I picked up this small 4x6 photo album on Amazon recently. It's faux leather, but it's got a vintage feel to it.  It's perfect for storing all of my antique postcards. 


Historical Series:
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Friday, November 10, 2017

Historical Series: (#3) 1912 Postcard Mary E Pike - Ida Grove Iowa

I hope you're enjoying this series as much as I am. I've always been interested in history. I'm constantly reading, researching different subjects. Lately my newest hobby has been collecting old postcards, letters, photographs, etc. Mainly from the mid 1800's to mid 1900's.

This postcard from 1912 was the very first in my collection. I was instantly drawn to her photograph. Her hat, her dress. She's so striking and pretty. Her outfit reminds me of something you would have seen on the Titanic.

In the early 1900's photograph postcards were incredibly popular. Think of them, as the selfies of the day! A lot of them were never mailed or postmarked. I prefer collecting the postmarked cards, as it gives a more accurate time period and more information of the sender and addressee.


This postcard was sent by Mary E. Pike of Ida Grove, Iowa in 1912 to her friend Mrs. Harvey in New Hampshire. Mary's handwriting is gorgeous.


The postcard says: Dear Mrs. Harvey, How are you all? Well, I hope. Am having a vacation now. Am at Galva Iowa, but shall go back to work soon. Think of you all real often. Best regards to Jimmy & Bob. Are they in New York yet? I like this country fine, am having a dandy time. This is a poor (world illegible- picture?), but I thought I would send one any-way. Wish I might hear from you sometime. Tell Mr. H hello for me. Love & best wishes, Mary E. Pike, Ida Grove, Iowa.



I decided to do some sleuthing with the information I had. A combination of Google, findagrave.com, etc. I was able to locate Mary E. Pike, who became Mrs. Mary Ellen Schrader in 1915. She sadly passed away due to an illness in 1969 at the age of 76. I was able to locate newspaper clippings of her obituaries here & here.

Mary Ellen Pike was born in 1892 in New Hampshire. Her mother passed away when she was 8 years old, and she was sent to live with family in Iowa, though she later lived with an aunt & uncle and attended school in New Hampshire. She later moved back to Iowa and married. I can only guess that the Mrs. Harvey she was sending the postcard to would have been family or a friend in New Hampshire.


If anyone has any more information about Mary E. Pike (Schrader), would love to hear from you below in the comments!

Historical Series:
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

Historical Series: (#2) Antique Tintype in Union Case- Circa 1865-1870's


This was one of my favorite finds recently. An antique tintype photograph dated around 1865-1870's.

Some facts: A tintype, is a photograph made by creating a direct positive on a thin sheet of metal coated with a dark lacquer or enamel. There is no actual "tin" in a tintype photograph. It's a blackened iron sheet. They can be identified using a magnet. (My husband and I tried this, it works! The magnet will stick to the glass due to the metal in the photograph. Pretty neat!) 




Unfortunately we will never her know her name or where she lived, as there's no identifying information on the photograph. She looks quite young to me, possibly 15-20 years old. I'm guessing she is young, because of the giant ribbon in the back of her hair.

My guess for the year is sometime around late 1860's to mid 1870's because of the dress style she is wearing. It appears to be a two piece button dress, but it doesn't seem to have a bustle in the back. The skirt/sleeves seem too narrow to be from the early 1860's civil war era. My guess is somewhere around mid 1870's. (This style dress seems similar). Her dress could be mourning style.

I'm curious about the pin she is wearing. It appears to be a ribbon with a dangling chain. It could be something known as a cockade, which was wore worn around that period. If anyone has experience on 19th century fashion, please feel free to comment below! I would appreciate it!




You can see below how the photograph is chipping off of the metal plate underneath due to age. There is no actual "tin" in a tintype photograph. It's actually a blackened iron sheet underneath.


The case is called a 'union case'. It's made out of thermoplastic, an early plastic. Thermoplastic is quite fragile. The hinges and part of the frame are broken on mine, but the design is still pretty. Early tintype photographs were housed in these union cases, while later they were housed in paper sleeves. It's entirely possible the case isn't original to the photograph, but we'll never know.



I'm on the hunt to add an an early daguerreotype and ambrotype to my collection next.

Historical Series:
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Monday, November 6, 2017

Historical Series: (#1) Vintage Postcards- Philadelphia 1910

Hello! I know it's been quite awhile since I last posted. I wanted to start a historical series here on the blog. I've always loved history, and one of my newest hobbies has been collecting vintage and historical items. Photos, Postcards, Vintage Advertising, Coins, Tins, Clocks, Books, etc.

The vintage postcards are fascinating, because if there's enough information you can actually research and locate the person. I prefer collecting postcards with visible postmarks of their age, mostly from the early 1900's.

I've started looking for early Philadelphia items lately, (being my hometown). The thing that caught my eye on this postcard was who it was addressed to.... F.B. If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you'll know my husband's name is F.B. (which is his father's initials, but his legal name is F.B.) so I couldn't pass up getting this postcard addressed to a Dr. F.B. Davison, postmarked 1910 sent from a friend named Natalie who was visiting Philadelphia.


With a little research, I was able to find Dr. F.B. Davisons grave on the findagrave.com website. Dr. Francis Barker Davison would have been around 83 years old when he received this postcard in 1910, and he passed away 6 years later. He had a wife named Nancy who passed away in 1904, and one daughter. He was a surgeon and civil war veteran. Absolutely fascinating that 107 years later this postcard still exists!

I also think it's interesting how there's no street address or zipcode on the postcard. According to Wikipedia the census in 1910 said there was approximately 759 people living in Factoryville, PA.

If anyone has more information on Dr. F.B. Davison, would love to hear from you below in the comments.
My little historical nook here at home, with other items that I will be sharing stories about soon:

Historical Series:
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Sunday, July 2, 2017

Tieks, Tieks, & More Tieks!

*This is not a sponsored post. My own personal opinions. 

 Note: you cannot buy Tieks in a store. Only online.

My Tieks ballet flat obsession began back in April 2015, when I purchased my first pair of Metallic Pewter Tieks. Fast forward two years and my obsession is still growing strong. I recently purchased my 4th pair. 

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