Friday, September 7, 2012

Fashionable Friday - 1860's Woman Freelove Ann Holmes

This Carte de Visite of an 1860's young woman was taken by a famous New York photographer most likely between 1863 - 1864 using the twin borders on the edge of the card as a guide.           The young woman is demurely leaning on a chair wearing a white blouse, dark overshirt and what appears to be a taffeta hoop skirt.  Her hair was worn in the conservative fashion of the early 1860's, pulled back at the nape of the neck and I believe into a snood.

The subject is identified on the back as Freelove Ann Holmes B. 1838.  A Freelove Holmes, aged 12 is found on in the 1850 Hyde Park, Dutchess County, NY census living with her mother, also named Freelove and a brother George.  She is listed as a male which is clearly an error.  In the 1860 census in Pleasant Valley, also in Dutchess County, a Freelove Holmes of about the right age is found as a domestic servant in the home of Amos Irish. There are a number of family trees on that show Freelove Holmes as the daughter of Freelove Lattin and Joshua Holmes, listing George among her brothers and also a sister Irene who married Amos Irish. 

Abraham Bogardus (Wikipedia)
According to Wikipedia, the photographer is American Daguerreotypist and photographer Abraham Bogardus  (1822 - 1908).  He operated a very successful studio and gallery at 363 Broadway in New York City in 1846.  Bogardus has several other locations in the city over the course of his career including 229 Greenwich Street and 1153 Broadway which he opened in 1869.

That same year he was an important witness at the trial of William H. Mumler, a spirit photographer, who was accused of fraud by a number of people including P. T. Barnum (Wikipedia).  Bogardus was hired by Barnum to fabricate a photograph of him with the "ghost" of Abraham Lincoln which was entered into evidence at the trial to show the court how easy it was to produce fake images.


  1. "Freelove" sounds like a name a hippie would give a child. I've never seen that name before. And the fraud story is so interesting. I guess that was "early Photoshop." However, it is a bit confusing that Barnum accused the photographer of fraud when he hired him specifically to commit fraud.

  2. A super photo and an interesting history. Though I knew about spirit photographs, I'd never heard the story with Barnum and Bogardus, who looks like a fascinating character.

  3. According to Wikipedia Mr Bogardus made some 200,000 daguerreotypes during his career. That's an awesome lot...


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