Civil War era CDV: family from Milwaukee

What it is:

Carte de Visite (CDV), 2.5 x 4 inches, with U.S. revenue stamp affixed to the back (George Washington, blue, “Proprietary”, 2 cents)
What I know about it:

Photographer is Hugo Broich of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Otherwise undated and unidentified.  But the revenue stamp means it is from 1864-1866, and had a retail value of up to 25 cents.



I have a 19th Century photo album designed to fit CDVs.  It is mostly full of CDVs and a few similarly-sized tintypes.  It is slightly fragile, so I haven’t yanked all the photos out to examine the backs, but I have so far found no identification or date.  Nobody bothered to fill in the album’s index either.  They seem like a rather random assortment of people, but most of them seem to be from the Wisconsin and Michigan area, so it’s not unreasonable to assume that they are an extended family (and not, say, an assortment assembled by a previous collector or dealer).   Most of the ones I’ve pulled out have revenue stamps, dating the album generally to the 1860s.   I’ll post a bunch of them over time, but here is an example.   I have to say that one of the pleasures of this project is scanning my photos and blowing up the small ones into sizes where I can really see the details.

2 comments on “Civil War era CDV: family from Milwaukee”

  1. Interesting photo. The younger woman and the man seem to be dressed in reasonably stylish clothing for 1864-ish, but the older woman is definitely wearing an older dress re-made to be slightly more stylish. The horizontal and diagonal lines on her bodice indicate that she’s wearing a fan-front bodice, which was fashionable more than 10 years before this photo was taken. The early 1850s fan-front bodice would have come to a deep point at the center of the waistline in the front, which looks like it’s been cut off to make the bodice have a straight waistline for the 1860s. She’s also not wearing a hoop, even though hoops became fashionable in 1855 because her skirt is laying in deep soft folds instead of standing out at the hem like the younger woman’s. Very interesting look at thrifty re-styling of older clothes that are still wearable!

    • Thank you for your comment. I don’t pretend to be any sort of an expert on vintage fashions, so all the detailed information you’ve provided is fascinating and appreciated. And yes, it’s fascinating how resourceful people could be prior to today’s society of disposable goods.

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