Saturday, June 22, 2013

Willard D. Tripp, Former Union Officer in 29th Massachusetts Infantry, circa 1870s.

At first glance this is just a run of the mill Cabinet Photo - a man with mutton chops & a mustache, photographed by Woodward & Son in Taunton, Mass.  And not only that, it's pretty faded.

On back, however, written in barely legible hard to read pencil and competing with other random scribbles for your attention is the following: "Capt. Willard D. Tripp", and "State House".  I have no idea who may have written this,  and I hope someone wasn't using the back of this photo just to jot down a note.  My assumption is that the person in the photo is Willard Tripp, and he just became a little less anonymous.   I suppose he'd be surprised that 82 years after his death, anybody noticed.

Willard Dean Tripp was born in 1838 & died in 1931, (92 years old) and is buried in Woburn, Massachusetts. (Find-a-grave has him buried in Mayflower Cemetery, Taunton, Mass). He served most of the civil war years as an  officer in the 29th Massachusetts Infantry.   A regimental history (from 1908) has his rank as Lt. Colonel, other documents refer to his rank as Captain.   The 29th Mass was involved in several campaigns during the civil war, and apparently Captain Tripp rose in rank.

I can't find too much about his life after the war, but he was involved in state government.   He was employed by the Massachusetts State Board of Lunacy and Charity in the late 1890s, then in the early 1900s, by the Division of Adult Poor, both happy sounding agencies.  I'm not sure what positions he held, or what his responsibilities were.

This photo is probably from the 1870s-1880s.

Update:  Sold!

Saturday, June 15, 2013


I've been getting a ton o' spam lately.  I suppose I should be flattered, except I suspect it's just some guy sitting in an internet cafe somewhere in Asia.  Or maybe Paris, tucked away in a garret corner in an apartment building on Rue Simon-Bolivar, gulping down cups of strong black coffee and chain smoking unfiltered Turkish cigarettes, I don't know.  This person really, really wants me to look at their website.  And of course I am extremely hesitant to do that.  You can understand.

I hate to do this, but I have to moderate all the comments, at least for a while.  I had been moderating them on posts over 2 weeks old, but now I have to do it for all of them.

I'll check comments often, so if anybody has anything to say, please do.  As long as you're not trying to sell me something, I'll post it & respond.

CDV of a Woman from Aurora, Illinois 1880s-1890s

This is a CDV of a woman, taken by D. C. Pratt of Aurora, Illinois, probably in the late 1880s or 1890s.  There is no other identifying information on the CDV.

This woman looks like she may be Native American (Indian), or perhaps Asian, or maybe neither, it is hard to tell - at least for me.  It is sort of Sepia toned, no special background or props, and the clothing she's wearing looks pretty mainstream for the period.

She has a bit an exotic look to her, and that is enough to make this an interesting photo.  At least to me.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Cabinet Photo of a young Woman wearing a tall Hat & a tight Jacket

Usually I post photos or postcards here that are active listings for sale on my eBay site.  I post them because I think they're interesting for some reason, I think it gets them a lot more looks and it may help with sales.  I'm not a collector (for the moment), I buy these photos at various venues and I try to sell them for a profit.  I'm not emotionally attached to any of them, though I do like them.  I must enjoy buying and selling these photos, because, believe me,  there has to be a way to make more money than this.  (Like have a real job maybe?  Well I had those for a long time, this is much more fun.)  Anyway, this photo has already sold - it sold today and is off to the great state of Arkansas, which makes it an unusual post for me.  I have nothing to gain by posting this (sales wise anyway), I just like it.

This is a detail of a cabinet photo.  Its a young woman wearing a tallish, fairly elaborately decorated hat, a tight knitted jacket/sweater with a high collar, lots of buttons and a sprig of flowers.  She's also wearing a ring of some sort - looks more like a class ring than a wedding ring.  It is from the 1870s-1880s era, most likely.  There is no photographer information or writing, so no clues as to who this was or where it was made.

The photos I post here usually don't do the real item justice, and that is very true in this case.  The actual cabinet photo shows the details of the jacket much more sharply.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

1850s-1860s era Ambrotype

This is an ambrotype photograph of some lost to history fellow.  I can find no easy (or rather succinct) way to describe the "ambrotype" process, so if you want detailed information on how these photos were created, you can find it online, easily.

Essentially, an ambrotype is a photograph developed directly on glass.  If I understand correctly it is sort of a reverse negative, so it looks like a positive, if that makes sense.  Lots of chemicals & precise timing were involved, and I have no idea what kind of camera was used to create this kind of photo.

Ambrotypes were popular in the 1850s & 1860s, and there is a decent chance that this particular one pre-dates the civil war, making it one of the oldest photographs we have.

It is not in particularly good shape - there are a lot of surface scratches. And its just a formal portrait of a person's head, so its a pretty typical subject.  But it is the only ambrotype I have, and it IS a photograph on glass made over 150 years ago, so that's pretty cool.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Photograph of a Wedding Party, circa 1920s-30s, probably German

This is a photograph of a wedding party, taken outside.  I counted 39 people in all.  It's a large photo, just over 7 inches tall and almost 10 inches wide.

There is no photographer's information or any other writing to give a clue as to where this is or who these people are. So we examined it closely and drew our own conclusions.

First there is its physical appearance - thin photographic paper mounted on thin cardboard.  We saw no silvering on the photo, but that's not hard and fast proof that it's an albumen as opposed to a gelatin silver print.  The overall physical look is of a photo produced in the earlier part of the 20th century - certainly before WWII.

Second, and most obvious, are the clothing & hair styles, especially for the younger women. From the bridal gown to the children sitting in front, it screams 1920s-30s fashions.

And third - the only clue we could find as to where this might be - there is a young man in a military uniform  in the row behind the bride, about to the left. We believe that is a German uniform.

So, this photo was probably taken somewhere in Germany, in the late 1920s to early 1930s.

If we're right, those people's lives were in for a massive amount of upheaval in the relatively near future.   By now, everyone in this photo is dead. They lived their life, dealt with whatever their times threw at them, accomplished whatever it was they accomplished, and by the 1980s or 1990s, most, if not all of them had died.  It is possible some of the children are still living, but they'd be very old - in their 90s, most likely.