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Dating

This is more likely to be the second or third one. Carte-de-visite were in use from about the mids 50's onwards. This looks to be the earliest, i.e., thinnest type, which makes this no later than about 1870. If you have a way to measure the thickness of the card, you can measure it this way:

.4mm the earliest ones, to about 1870, always square corners
.5mm c. 1870-75, with square or rounded corners

I'm not very good with early clothing, but here are some useful resources:
"American Victorian Costume in Early Photographs" by Priscilla Harris Dalrymple
"Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900" by Joan L. Severa

From what I do know, coat in the 1850s and into the early 60's were very loose. In the 1870s, coats started to have larger lapels. It's hard to date because his cravat and hairstyle are very old fashioned, but from the style of his coat this is mid-late 1860s.

Also, according to "Camera Clues" by Joe Nickell, this style of picture, half-length and filling the whole area, is from the 1870s. Usually, a head-and-shoulders picture from the 1860s would have the image smaller and faded out around the edges. This one doesn't quite fill the whole area, and is farther away than similar types from the 1870s, so I would guess it is a transitional picture from the late 1860s.

Thus, the first man would have been about 90 when this picture was taken, and the man here doesn't look that old.

Anna

Posted by Ranming on 9 March 2010 - 2:35pm

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