Thursday, February 28, 2013

Quartet of Civil War Era Women

Today I bring you four CDV "head and bust poses" of Civil War era women.  These small head poses were very popular in the early 1860's and the image area was quite small due to camera and lens technology at the time.¹

Unk Utica, NY Woman
W. C. North Photographer
 This first lady above (unidentified) had her photo taken by W. C. North Photographer, Devereux Block, Utica, N.Y.  This either William C. North (1814 – 1890) or his nephew Walter Crane North (1835 – 1891) who were both referred to as W. C. North.  According to Craig Cameras the Norths “present one of the most confusing of the ‘same name’ biographical studies in American photographic history.”    Both Norths moved their studios quite a bit and one of them opened the studio in the Devereux Block in 1861.  The border stripes on this photograph date this card between 1864 and 1869 so I will go with the earliest date, 1864.

Cornelia Walter, Philadelphia 1864-66
Rhoad's Art Gallery, Photographer
The second subject identified as Aunt Cornelia Natter or Walter was photographed between August 1864 and August 1866 as evidenced by the revenue stamp on the back.  I believe the last name is Walter, but I did not have any luck finding information on either name.  There are a number of Cornelia Walters on, but none seem to match the age range for this particular woman.  The photographer was Rhoad's New Photograph Gallery located at 1800 Frankford Road, Philadephia.  Rhoads was William H. Rhoads.

Helen Neely? May 1865 Wis
L. Vanderbie Photographer 
The third woman is identified (on the front in pencil) as Mrs. Robert Neely and was photographed in May of 1865 by L. Vanderbie, Photographer of Plattesville, Wis.  Vandervie appears to have initialed the revenue stamp on the back of the photo.  Does this woman appear to be 37 years old to you?  If so, this is probably Helen Neely born ca 1828 in New York, wife of Robert Neely and in the 1870 Plattesville, Grant County, Wisconsin census, the mother of 7 children ages 18 years to 1 year old.

Unk Ohio woman mid 1860s
Cadwallader & Tappen
Lastly, we have an unidentified woman who sat for Cadwallader & Tappen's, Gallery of Art, Front St. over the Bank in Marietta, O. most likely in the late 1860's.  She is quite young, possibly in her teens and note her hair is pulled back at the nape in a snood.  Cadwallader was John Dallas Cadwallader (1828 - 1905) born in Pennsylvania, ambrotypist and daguerreian in the 1850's in Ohio and Kentucky.  



  1. Such a lovely grouping. I wonder why the style apparently was to print a small image in a large empty space.

  2. A very useful display, Teresa. The way that the stamps are neatly affixed contrasts with other photos where they seem hurriedly applied. I'm not certain, but the size of the images may be due to efficiency and economy. I think only a portion of the full glass plate was exposed, leaving multiple negative images on the plate. It might also be due to the power of the light source used in transferring the negative to the paper. Just theories and I could have it all wrong.


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