Children from Milwaukee

What it is:

Two CDVs (carte de visite photos), each measuring approx. 2.5 x 4 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer for both is C. M. Hasse of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Both are undated and unidentified, but they are from a photo album containing some photos I have already posted.


I was going to just post the adorable photo of the little boy with the big chair, but I decided to go ahead and post two photos because I get the feeling this is the same little boy in each (albeit at slightly different ages).  I assume the other two children are his siblings, but who knows.  So this is interesting:  note the boy’s eyes.  In an early example of photo retouching, tiny dots of ink have been added to the finished product to make them stand out more.  (For some reason this was not done for the girl and the baby.)  This is done expertly enough that I didn’t notice it at normal size with the naked eye.  But when I blew up the scan, it stood out in the photo on the right, making him look a little possessed.  Then, using a magnifying glass, I held both photos under a light at an angle just so, and I could see it was done to the photo on the left, too.  It makes me wonder if anything else was done, such as cheek tinting, that has faded with time.  And it makes me wonder what other little enhancements I have missed in other photos because I wasn’t looking for them.  P.S.  This is my 100th post!  Thank you to everyone who has checked in and browsed around and “liked” and commented and helped make my little project worthwhile (at least to me).  It’s a work in progress, so feel free to let me know if you have any suggestions or requests for the future.  🙂

7 comments on “Children from Milwaukee”

  1. I took special note of the flooring in the left hand photo. The recent flooding here left a friend in need of remodeling and when the floor came up we found the same thing pictured here. It is like linoleum colored yellow/tan with the patterns outlined in black, patterns are filled with a bold deep red and a darker yellow.
    The house is well in excess of 100 years old and has seen commercial and residential use. Sorry I can’t pin the date pin down the date a little better.

    • Hey Nathan! Isn’t it great to make discoveries like that when you dig a little? I did notice the flooring in this picture. I looked up linoleum after reading your comment, and I think it was invented slightly later than this photo, but it’s a much older product than I realized. Also, it was originally a brand name that has become a common word, like xerox or kleenex or q-tip. So now you’ve got me wondering about this floor. I originally assumed it was carpeting, but maybe it’s something else? And, as always, I wish I could see it in color.

  2. Yes, since moving to PA I’m finding such a wealth of old historic craftsmanship it almost (emphasis added) makes me want to go back to construction.

    As to the flooring it is just remotely similar to linoleum, I can’t really explain it much better other than to say the surface is like the old square plastic-like floor tiling that used to be in schools and commercial buildings. I go back there on Tuesday, I’ll see if there are any scraps left for a color picture.

  3. Hi there,

    I can’t help but say that I’ve spent the last couple of days exploring your blog full of fantastic photos. What an extraordinary collection! I’ve enjoyed every image, as well as your comments on each. Very interesting and fun to read. Keep this up! I love your blog. 🙂

    • Wow, thank you! I started this blog so that other people could enjoy the photos, and it means a lot to me to hear that people are doing so. Thank you for letting me know!

  4. Nathan, there were similar products that were available from the 1840s, before linoleum was invented. Oilcloth was one popular flooring material, that was around at least since the 1850s, because I work at a historic house in California that was built in 1855, and had a painted oilcloth covering the wood floor in the entry. A piece of it was found when the house was restored. It’s a coarsely-woven canvas-like heavy cloth, soaked with linseed oil and then painted. The pattern painted on our oilcloth is a tile-like checkerboard pattern of 3-inch squares in alternating green and white. If painted floorcloths were available in California so soon after we became a state, then they were definitely available for quite a while before then, in the eastern U.S. where the factories were.

    I’d say the first picture was taken in the mid 1860s and the second one in the late 1860s/early 1870s, due to the clothing and hair styles of the children. I’d agree that the second photo is of the boy and his siblings, a baby brother (you can barely see a side part in the baby’s hair; girls were always given a middle part, or their hair was combed straight back with no part at all) and an older sister. I’d say the sister is around age 12 because of the length of her skirt; her legs would never have been shown in a photo like that if she was an adult or within a few years of age 18.

    • Thanks for all this great information! It must be rewarding to work in a historic home. I have read about the side part vs. middle part in determining the gender of children from that time. It could come in handy, because it can be hard to tell otherwise.

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