November 25, 2024

My how you've grown

My friend Glen sent me these two photos from a large collection of antique Civi War-era portraits. They've been sitting on my desktop for a while. Remarkably, they are of the same young man.


older version

If you look closely you can see. Around the eyes and around the mouth. There's no context to these and no story.

My great-grandfather was born near the end of the Civil War. I never knew him because I was over a hundred years later.

Posted by jason at November 25, 2024 07:45 AM

I actually discovered these separately and made the connection, and a professional photographer has agreed that it's the same young man about 4 years apart. I had to acquire them.

They're daguerreotypes, the earliest form of photography. One was probably taken in the late 1840s, the other the early 1850s. They both come within the first dozen years of photography, the first time you could preserve yourself this way and send your image, if not your name, down through the years.

Who he was we'll never know now. The two photos came from separate sources and neither had identification. He was born around 1832. He was probably from a small city. His clothes are sharp but not quite in the highest fashion. It may be the same coat in both photos. He liked stripes. He's wearing a Stanhope (you'll have to look it up, like I did). You can tell by his hands that he knew what it was to work. He's got great confidence. He knew he was good looking (see that torso? with his shirt off he would've looked like a Calvin model) and he figured he had a great future. Maybe he did.

Alas, he future is behind him now, If he survived the Civil War, he probably died early in the 20th century. Memento mori.

Posted by: glen at November 25, 2024 09:46 AM
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