Older man from Dresden, Germany

Click here to see it larger.

Click here to see the back.

What it is:

Carte de visite (CDV) measuring 2.5 x 4 inches.

What I know about it:

Photographer is F. W. Schroeder (painter and photographer) of Dresden.  There is some handwriting in German that I can’t quite read.  Click here to see it if you’d like to try to decipher it.


This picture is a bit faded, but I love it anyway.  It comes from what I call my Wisconsin Album, an antique photo album of CDVs and tintypes mostly from the north-central United States around Wisconsin.  I’ve been operating under the assumption that the photos are original to the album, and that they are of an extended family.  So who is this man from Dresden?  A patriarch who stayed behind in the Old Country as the family migrated?  Does this suggest that most of the other adults in the album are recent immigrants?  Or perhaps he’s from a distant branch, and the core of the family in the album has been in the U.S. for generations?  It’s hard to say.  Regarding the German handwriting, I can make out a few words.  The last two words on the first line, for instance, are alten Mann, meaning “old man”.  Was he writing something tongue-in-cheek about himself, or was somebody writing about him?  It’s hard to say how old he is, but if this photo is from around the 1860s, as are many of the others in this album, and if the man is at least in his 60s, then it’s possible this is a photo of a man born in the 1700s.  That sort of thing always astonishes me when I think about it.  By the way, I referred to the location as Dresden, Germany in the title, but Germany as we know it didn’t really exist until 1871, when a bunch of smaller kingdoms and principalities were unified into one empire.  So it’s likely that this photo was actually taken in the Kingdom of Saxony.

10 comments on “Older man from Dresden, Germany”

  1. Great pic. Great musings, Matt.

  2. I love it when you let us get into your head! A photo taken in Saxony…that would be a gem of a find to any collector!

  3. Such a stern expression. I wonder what he was thinking!

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