Thursday, March 29, 2012

More Cabinet Cards!

Once again, my dear readers and fellow Ephemeraologists, I have to give my post over to one of you - I have the most wonderful friends and family in the world!

Maybe my enthusiasm for ephemera shows so transparently that people want to be a part of it.  Or maybe someone cleaned their attic and found treasures that they thought I might like.  Here's another scenario - some of you were saving stuff because you thought it was super awesome, but there were other folks in your house who implored you to please just get rid of this!  I mean, WHAT are you keeping it for?  And, more importantly, WHY?                                                                                                                           

(Some of us are Ephemeraologists and some of us aren't.  And that's okay!)

Thanks to the non-Ephemeraologists and generous souls in my life, I reap rewards that I never imagined when I started this blog.  Case in point:

YESSS!!  A beautiful stack of cabinet cards resplendent with vintagey goodness!

My friend Lori gave these to me a few weeks back - she knew I'd love them (surprise!  She was right!).  She had picked them up at a rummage sale for - I can't believe this - a BUCK.  Amazing!  She just enjoyed looking at them, and her favorite part is the studio names at the bottom of the cards (I love those too!).  When she gave them to me we had a great convo about what a huge deal it was a century ago to have your photo taken.  Indeed!  It must've been anticipated and I'm sure folks went to great lengths to prepare for the session.

And those CLOTHES!  When I think about my closet full of clothes it's hard to imagine someone dressing their family in their Sunday best, quite proud of that one outfit each family member saved for special occasions.  I bet they appreciated their clothes far more than we do today.  Unfortunately, these clothes make this family look like the Supreme Court (minus the woman, of course!).

There are quite a few wedding portraits in the mix and WOWIE!  How different the bridal clothes were back then!  These photos were taken long before the whole bride-wearing-white trend that began in the early 20th century; in fact, some brides whose families were not so well-off just wore their best dress on their wedding day.  But they all had a veil to mark the occasion!

This photo cracks me up - and I don't get it.  Was it the wealthy family's idea to have a photo taken of the help?  Or were these two maids sisters who were proud to have their jobs?  Can you even imagine someone taking this photo today?!  (Correction:  my fellow Ephemeraologist Lola Clark let me know that these wonderful women were actually nurses.  OOPSY!  This makes FAR more sense, though!  Thanks Lola!)

This next photo is, to me, the quintessential formal portrait of its time.  Here we have a very Teddy Roosevelt-looking chap, staidly posing for the occasion.  His mustache is formidable, no?  And back then, it wasn't even worn ironically (thanks for bringing it back, hipsters!).  :D

Okay, back to the studio stamp on the bottom - if all of these photos were taken roughly around the same time period, then Oshkosh, Wisconsin was The Photography Studio Captial of the World.  Check out the addresses of these places - No. 49 Main St., 59 Main St., 115 Main St., 158 Main Street, 199 Main Street...were there any other businesses housed downtown?  I wonder if all of these studios were lucrative!

This was a mere smattering of the stash of photos I received.  I am going to have some fun with these!  Lori, thank you again - you are awesome.  :D


  1. Great finds! You might like this There's also a great big book that you can probably get via interlibrary loan called "Dressed for the Photographer" by Joan Severa. :D

    1. Thanks for the info, Carolyn! I knew I could count on you for some literary suggestions! :D

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks so much! It was quite a boon! :D

  3. Aren't you a lucky one! This are so fantastic. Someone sold them all for a buck!!! Makes you wonder how many FANTASTIC, WONDERFUL things are thrown in the trash. How sad. Enjoy your booty!

  4. These are so great! I have a weakness for them, too! My most cherished one is of my great-grandparents on their wedding day.