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by Maureen A. Taylor

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# Sunday, 14 May 2017
Seeing Double: 5 Clues in an Old Stereograph Photo
Posted by Diane

I love the Library of Congress. I can lose myself for hours in its online historical photos collection doing random searches. Sometimes I even tackle one of their photo mysteries for fun.

If there's one thing that gets my attention, it's when I see a photo with a partial caption. Like this photo, for instance: It's obviously posed for dramatic effect, but why? What's the real story here?

When I see an interesting image, it's important to step back and study the clues. Remember, not all the details are in the image itself. Picture evidence is only one part of the process. 



Library of Congress, stereo 1s05258

Five clues stand out in this stereograph image of a well-dressed family seated on a porch:
  1. It's unusual to see a "family photo" stereograph. This format was popular for scenes and themed collections, like the Civil War. Stereos consist of two nearly identical images mounted next to each other. When viewed using a stereopticon viewer, the image appears 3-dimensional. The blur on the right side of this card on the seated man's face) may interfere with seeing it clearly.

  2. The Library of Congress has this dated to circa 1860 to 1864.

  3. The first stereo cards were published in 1854. Generally, yellow card stock wasn't available until the early 1860s. There were ivory cards, and it's possible the color of this paper has changed over the years.
     
  4. The catalog record suggests that the image was taken by George Stacy, who operated a studio from 1854 to 1861 in New York.   

  5. The record identifies the men in the image, but not the woman and children.
Let's push the research envelope and see what else I can discover about the people in this picture. It should be possible to identify everyone in it.

Do you have any stereo views in your family photo collection? They indicate a pastime enjoyed by an ancestor. Tell me about them in the comments below. 

Stay tuned for next week.


Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • Save
    1860s photos | children | stereographs | women
    Sunday, 14 May 2017 21:56:36 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [3]
    Tuesday, 16 May 2017 12:46:51 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
    My husband's g-grandfather was an avid diarist, and in one of his diaries he notes that he had spent a 'long week' organizing and cataloging his 'stereo' collection. Since this was in 1870, I know it wasn't a vinyl record collection <lol>.

    He noted the collection consisted of 2000 cards! Yikes. Unfortunately his list has long since been lost, and it's unknown where the cards disappeared to, although I suspect cousins tossed them when cleaning out his granddaughter's home in the late 1980s <smh>.
    Terri
    Thursday, 18 May 2017 15:39:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
    When you love to spend time in library you must be a good student. It is really important to look for this random books which is old but gold. You need to take assignment writing service for your perfect submission of tasks.
    Alexander
    Thursday, 25 May 2017 15:16:08 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)
    This is an informative post review. I am so pleased to get this post article and nice information. I was looking forward to get such a post which is very helpful to us. A big thank for posting this article in this website Spanish language
    ( Colombia )
    Lorna
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