Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tidbits of Information about Historical Photos

I love my job!  I get to go to work nearly every day and meet interesting people from all over who collect and treasure a variety of different items, giving me the opportunity to learn about new and intriguing things every single day.

Today for instance.... we had a customer looking through old photo albums.  My mom likes the albums themselves but to this particular customer the albums meant nothing without the photographs. You see, she's a professional genealogist and as a hobby collects old photos where names have been written, researches the family and gets the photographs back into their hands. What a great hobby!

While talking to her I got a short history lesson as well.  Very inspiring, makes me want to do a little research and learn a little more about photography in those days.  Here's a peek at the interior of the album:

This is the back of the above picture, this is called a "cabinet card" (didn't know that) and is how the photographers in those days advertised.  This particular photographer was out of St. Louis.  Many of the pictures in this album are local to the area (Hillsboro and Litchfield to name a few).

The photo on the left is a tin-type, that usually ages it older than the photo on the right.  One of the interesting things I learned today was that even though a tin-type is technically older, if you're from the country, where technology usually plays catch-up to the big cities, it could actually be later (amazing how nothing really ever changes isn't it?).  Tin-types were still in use until nearly 1920 in the country settings.

Another interesting tidbit, the oval shape of the photograph on the right dates it somewhere in the 1860's-70's.  That's when I asked her how she knew all this and learned she was a professional genealogist.  Favorite part of this job, so many interesting people chock full of information and if you're willing to listen you can learn an awful lot.

Litchfield, Ills.  That's just a hop, skip and a jump from here.  Tried to find out when Illinois was abbreviated Ills. but couldn't find anything.  As early as 1831 Illinois was abbreviated Il.  (You can find information on the History of State Abbreviations here:
This is just one great example of how much information can be gleaned from spending a little time listening about the many things customers collect. 

Another of my favorites was a gentleman who collects "figural lightbulbs".  I had no idea what the heck he was talking about and then he showed me pictures and educated me a little, fascinating stuff!

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