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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