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cartes-de-visite (card photographs)
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Cartes-de-Visite photographs

  • Org. Lot 500
  • Collection
  • 1855 - 1905

Cartes- de- visite are a form of card photograph popular from around 1860 to the early 1900s, typically used for portraiture. The common construction of these cards consists of a thin albumen print mounted on a thicker card backing measuring 2.5 x 4 inches. André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri patented the process of creating these photo cards in Paris in 1854, streamlining the process of commercial portraiture. Cartes- de- visite were traded among friends and visitors and they were popularly displayed in albums. In the United States, cartes- de- visite were a staple of commercial photographers during the Civil War as a means of selling inexpensive portraits of soldiers and their loved ones. Photographs of celebrities, military, and political figures were also popular for collecting and trading. Cartes- de- visite were superseded by Cabinet cards, a similar, larger format of roughly 4.5 x 6.5 inches, in the 1870s, but they remained popular into the 20th century.

This artificial collection was accumulated from accessions containing cartes- de- visite photographs acquired prior to 2010 by the Oregon Historical Society Research Library. The cartes- de- visite were originally part of a topical photograph collection and were separated into their own collection to address preservation concerns. The numbering scheme for the collection reflects their original placement within the topical photograph collection. As a result, numbering in this collection is not sequential. The collection includes portraits taken from about 1855 through the early 1900s. Many of the portraits have attached biographical information. Portraits by many well-known Oregon photography studios are represented in this collection, including Joseph Buchtel, Andrew B. Paxton, Isaac G. Davidson, Peter Britt, and F. A. Smith. The collection also contains images of locomotives, ships, buildings, and landscapes in the Pacific Northwest.

Also included is the Photographer Study Collection, which contains sample work from several studios in Oregon, California, and Washington. The portraits in this series are unidentified with the exception of a small selection of portraits that were identified after the collection was assembled.

In addition to Oregon-related materials, the collection includes cartes- de- visite of notable military, political, and celebrity figures from the late 19th century. The most common subjects are American Civil War portraits, a series of illustrations of George and Martha Washington, European notables cards, and advertisements.

Steel, George A.

Transcription from back: “George A. Steel. Married in 1869 to Miss Eva Pope, a pioneer of 1851. Accountant, postmaster Portland, State Treasurer. He and brother [William Gladstone Steel] established Electric Ry. In Portland 1890. Train off bridge in Portland Nov. 1, 1893. Worst accident in Portland.”

Unidentified man with top hat

A young man or boy sitting with a top hat on his knee and holding a cane. The image is identified on the back of as Major Enoch Steen, but is likely misidentified.

Spooner's Photograph Parlors (Stockton, Calif.)

Stephens, James B.

Transcription from back: “James B. Stephens, pioneer of 1844. Rec’d Sept. 21, 1928, from Mrs. Sarah D. Eastman Hollister [undecipherable], a neighbor of Mr. Stephens in 1869-79.”

Buchtel, Joseph, 1830-1916

Stephenson, Ann Maria

Transcription from back: “Ann Maria Stephenson, wife of Robert E. Stephenson. Born: Jeffersonville, Indiana March 31, 1826. Died: Portland, Oregon. Ca, 1885. Acc. No. 983D009.”

Davies Studio (Portland, Or.)

Stevens, Major General Isaac Ingalls

Transcription from back: “Major General Isaac Ingalls Stevens. Pioneer of 1853 to Washington Territory from Washington, D. C. Surveyor and Statesman. Used in Bugles in the Valley, H. Dean Guie, p.3 2nd ed.”

E. & H.T. Anthony (Firm)

Stevens, Major General Isaac Ingalls

Transcription from back: “Oct. 31, 1903, Maj. Gen. Isaac Ingalls Stevens. Pioneer of 1853 from Washington, D. C. via the plains to W. T. [Washington Territory]. First governor of Washington Territory. For sketch see “History of Washington” page 348. Also see “Life of General Isaac I. Stevens” in Two volumes by his son, Gen. Hazard Stevens, published in 1900. Soldier, Surveyor, and Statesman.”

Stevenson, Sarah (Tait)

Transcription from back: “Mrs. Sarah Tait Stevenson, 1853, B. April 12, 1811. Pioneer of 1853. Mrs. John W. Stevenson. Photograph taken during the 1860s.”

Frank G. Abell Studio (Photographer)

Stinson, Ashby Logan

Transcription from biographical card: “Ashby Logan Stinson was born in Tennessee, June 29, 1831. Removed to Indiana, 1831. Learned the printing trade in Evansville, beginning 1847. To California in 1851. Worked in many cities...To Oregon in 1859, settling in Albany. Worked on the State’s Right’s Democrat, when Delazon Smith was editor, and was connected with a number of other papers. Installed the first cylinder press in Salem, 1872. Started the Willamette Farmer in 1869. Married Sarah Watts January 19, 1862. Was connected with the Odd Fellows many years, filling every station to Grand Master. Died in Salem, May 28, 1879, leaving one son, L. R. Stinson.”

Stinson, Sarah W. (Watts)

Transcription from back: “Mrs. A. L. Stinson. Mrs. Sarah W. (Watts) Stinson. Pioneer of 1847. Photograph probably taken April 22, 1912. From Springfield, Ill. Via the Plains. Wife of Ashby Logan Stinson, a pioneer of 1851 to California via the plains and 1859 to Oregon via the Pacific.” Note: Date of photograph listed on back likely not accurate.

Stoddard, Irene

Transcription from back: “Mrs. Irene Stoddard, an Illinois pioneer of 1835. Went to Illinois from Conn. In 1835. Never in Oregon Country. Friend of George H. Himes in his boyhood.”

J. W. Emery Studio (Photographer)

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