Category Archives: Cabinet Cards

Fashionably Victorian in Adrian, Michigan


W.T. Barnum, Adrian Michigan cabinet card of young man with cross tie tack.

This handsome teen’s hair was a mess of waves in the front. He didn’t fight it with pomade, instead choosing to let it do its thing! He wears a distinguished white tie with a cross tie tack the focal point. A nice piece of jewelry with the chain hanging by the side. The cross itself appears to have horseshoes and bell symbols, and is this a saint in the middle? I’d like to find out what the cross represents, aside from being what I suspect is a luck charm. Could it be a military cross, a type of iron cross? It looks like the American sharpshooter one, except that one has a target in the center.


This card is of the 1870s-90s when flat and fat ties were extremely popular (and yet -random thought- I never see them in period films!). The fabric looks beautifully regal too. This portrait reminds me of this other cabinet card of the same era, with the similar type of tie and collar combination (and pose).

Update: this young man was a university student, member of the  Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. The local chapter -Alpha Mu- in Adrian, Michigan was founded in 1881, and is still active today. This cabinet card is most likely from the 1880s! It would not be impossible to find out who he was. 

Thank you, Val, for your research!

The Weeping Ghost was my friend

The Weeping Ghost. 1890's-1900's cabinet card. Private Collection.

The Weeping Ghost. 1890’s-1900’s cabinet card. Private Collection. (Click for larger image)

I’m in love with this cabinet card. On the left, a young man is weeping, holding a handkerchief to his face as he fades into the backdrop and chair, while the other one is engaged, solid, to lend an ear at his disembodied friend. Those Victorian sensibilities!

I am not 100% certain the ghostly effect was meant to happen, but I would not be surprised if it was intended because it all feels perfect as is. The light, airy lace curtains on the sides help give this photograph an ethereal effect. I could write a story inspired by this beautiful photograph.


Close-up. Click to enlarge.

On the close-up you can better see the expression of concern. And here’s the whole card as is:


This Victorian Cupid


Cabinet card. Portland. Private Collection.

There are some pictures that attract me like a moth to a flame, and this is one of them.

This young man’s face and expression remind me of cherubs in classical paintings of the same period. He also reminds me of a very young Robert Frost.


Logo on back of card.

Photographer: Conanb. Artistic Photographer. 478 1/2 Congress St. Portland. Maine.

A gorgeous portrait

Cabinet card. 1890s. Private Collection.

Cabinet card. 1890s. Private Collection.

I love everything about this cabinet card; the pose, the handsome subject in his flawless attire, and the set-up with the vase and curtain taking half the space in the background. This young gentleman doesn’t look a day over twenty- if he even was- but he was married already. His swept hairstyle adds to the youthfulness.

Photographer: Atelier Muller. Barenstein Weipert. Germany.

Four cards: The memory road back to Walter Henry Camp

Walter Henry Camp circa 1881. Cabinet card. Private Collection.

Walter Henry Camp circa 1881. Cabinet card. Private Collection.

I’ve mentioned before I enjoy the idea of finding photographs of the same person throughout life, and I rarely have the opportunity to come across a lot of the same person that fits my theme. And I’ve also wanted to find another memorial card, only having one other in my collection. I satisfied both wants with Walter.

Walter was born of Ellen Eliza Glazebrook (born October 6, 1842) and Sterling Teague Camp on June the 2nd 1871. When the photograph above was taken, Walter was a sweet looking boy of about 10-12 living in the Midwest of the early 1880s. This cabinet card along with two others of him were found in near pristine condition, safely tucked away in a keepsake box. They had been stacked together for so long one of the cards has the shadow of another’s grooves on the back.

With the three cabinet cards was a funeral card.

Here is Walter in his teens and still looking like something between a boy and a grown man.

Walter Henry Camp in the late 1880s or early 1890s. Cabinet card. Private Collection.

Walter Henry Camp in the late 1880s. Cabinet card. Private Collection.

But unfortunately, Walter never made it much past his 24th birthday. He passed away a summer day of 1894. He had never married and was without children. This silver and black memorial card’s message is sad yet remains hopeful.

Walter Henry Camp's memorial card.

Walter Henry Camp’s memorial card #1.

The message carried by the bird:

“Let us be patient! These
severe afflictions
not from the ground arise,
but often times celestial
assume this dark disguise”

His heartbroken younger brother, Frank Bartley Camp (born July 12 1875), was 21 when he printed a beautiful memorial cabinet card in Walter’s honor a year after his death, on August 6, 1896. On here Walter looks all grown up. The card is in excellent condition, as if printed last year.

Walter Henry Camp. Memorial card. Private Collection.

Walter Henry Camp. Memorial card #2. Private Collection.


Printed by F.B. Camp. August 18, 1896

Printed by F.B. Camp. August 18, 1896


Researching this family, I was reminded just how common untimely deaths were back in the Victorian era. The father, who passed in 1915, had survived all three of his children by at least a decade. A family genealogy page reveals that by 1905 all three siblings- Frank, Walter and their older sister Minnie G.(born April 11, 1870)- had all already passed away. Their mother too had died early, at 39 in 1883 when the siblings were in their early teens and younger. Sterling, the father, remarried a lady named Sarah Jane Johnson and remained with her until his death. Sarah then passed away 3 years later in 1918.

All three siblings are buried at “old Pace home”, at least that’s what the family cemetery was called back in 1905. I could not confirm if it is in Illinois or not. And I don’t know anything more of Walter’s life, or why he passed so young.

In this digital age maybe we’re just never truly forgotten anymore. Walter was gone from hearts and minds for decades, yet here he is now on this blog because all this time someone lovingly kept his cabinet cards tucked away in a box.


Genealogy of the Clark and Pace Families.

Walter Henry Camp @ Ancestry




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