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.
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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. 
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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.

Historical Series (#8) 1858-1860's Ambrotype - Early Photography

I've finally completed my early photography collection, with this 1858-1860's ambrotype. The ambrotype came after the daguerreotype, (the earliest form of successful photography). 

Her dress is from the late 1850's. This silk and satin dress is a very good example of an 1858 dress. The wide flowing sleeves, (almost medieval looking), and the very full skirt with hoops. Our lady appears to be around 40-50 years old. She's holding a book. Did she like to read? Was she scholarly? A teacher? It could also be a prayer book. I've decided to call her Jane. After Jane Eyre, one of my favorite classics.

Ambrotypes were often hand tinted. You can see our lady had her cheeks tinted. They were also sometimes gilded for embellishment. It's faded, but her brooch, the front of her dress, and cuff show remnants of shiny gold gild.

The case is wood with leather embossing. Inside is embossed red velvet, and a fancy frame. There is also faded gold paint, which made a pretty vine design around the inside of the case.

The metal latch is intact, and there's spiral, sort of sun burst design engraved on the metal.

While the daguerreotype image was produced on a shiny silver plate, the ambrotype was exposed onto a small piece of glass. Ambrotypes were produced between 1850 into the late 1860's, until the tintype replaced it.

If you remove an ambrotype from its case and hold it up to a light background you can see how the image appears as a negative. Earlier ambrotypes were produced with two panes of glass, the image sandwiched. Later ones like mine were made on a single sheet of glass. The single sheets are more delicate, because the image is directly exposed on the back of the glass; making it impossible to clean without damaging the photograph irreparably.

To view the ambrotype photograph properly, a dark background was needed. Dark paper or cloth was usually used in the back of the union case. Later on some ambrotypes had a dark lacquer applied to the back of the image.

Collection complete! The daguerreotype, ambrotype, and tintype were the earliest forms of successful photography.

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Historical Series (#7) Antique Cabinet Card 1880-1890

Cabinet Cards were introduced in the 1860's. The photograph was usually applied onto heavy cardstock, which came in all sorts of colors. Darker colors of cardstock were usually more expensive to purchase. My Cabinet Card is circa 1880-1890, of a brother and sister around three to six years old. (Little boys often wore dresses back then until they were breeched). It was taken by a photography studio in Piqua Ohio. 
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Historical Series: (#6) Victorian Advertising 1800's - Wanamakers Philadelphia

Wanamaker's was Philadelphia's first department store. John Wanamaker founded his first store, a mens clothing store with his brother-in-law in the 1860's. Which was called Wanamaker & Brown. The advertising card above has a copyright date of 1876.

In 1876 Wanamaker opened his larger scale department store at 13th & Market Streets in Philadelphia. The advertising card below for Alexandre Kid Gloves is circa 1876-1880's.

An 1895 map of Wanamaker's. Source: philageohistory.org
Rumford Yeast Powder antique trade card. Circa: 1860-1880. Baking powder used to be called yeast powder back in the day. The back of the card has a grocery store location for 21st & Market Street in Philadelphia.
A New York Industrial Insurance advertising card, circa 1880's. I love the price rates for the life insurance back then (10 cents a week!)

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