Tag Archives: 1870s-1880s

Student posing with book

Young man with book. Tintype. Private Collection.

Young man with book. Tintype. Private Collection.

This bright eyed assured young man is posing with a book in hands. He made sure the title shows, unfortunately it is unreadable! The book looks to be too thin to be a bible. I think he was a student or perhaps even, an author? I believe this tintype is from around the 1870s-80s. I got this one for a little above a measly dollar, a great find!


The fire’s still burning bright in this old man

Old smiling man. CDV. Private Collection.

1870’s old smiling man from Algona, Iowa. Burlingame. CDV. Private Collection.

The oldest sitter in my collection!  He must have been in his 70’s or 80’s at the time of this picture, always a feat at a time when the average lifespan was much shorter. I find it fascinating to think this man was born in or around 1800. I cannot begin to imagine what his life was like, the changes he witnessed, what he had seen and experienced, good or bad, and after all that for him to smile like this. So unusual too for a carte de visite of the period.

He looks like someone who led a very fulfilling life. There is fire and a zest for life in his piercing eyes old age did not manage to dim. And to complement the effect he still had a headful of thick, snowy white hair.

There is a different kind of true beauty that transcends age and is deeper than the fleeting skin-deep one of youth; this content looking, dignified old man is proof. (I bet though, that he was quite the gentleman in his younger days too!)

I love his generous neck scarf too, the way he tied it in a nice bow.

CDV back

CDV back

Photographer: D.W. Burlingame’s. Fine Art Gallery, Algona. Iowa.

The city father and his two dapper sons

1880s tintype. Private Collection.

1880s tintype. Private Collection.

This one made me laugh some. The father in top hat looks quite stiff looking straight to the side, while his two sons didn’t miss the camera, each posing with confidence.

The one in the middle who appears to be the oldest of the two looks casual of demeanor, relaxed even with a smirk on his face. The youngest -I wouldn’t put past 16- is taking this occasion seriously, strutting his stuff in fine evening wear with the nice white tie. What a dandy!

The dad’s gloves are so tight fitting they look painted on.

Doe eyed William B. Edgar from Fall River

William B. Edgar. CDV. Private Collection.

William B. Edgar circa 1880. CDV. Private Collection.

The signature was digitally added onto the photograph from a part of the sleeve that came with the CDV.

This gentleman from Fall River was born October 14, 1856 in Maine, of William Edgar and Marion E. Hanlon Buffinton. His father passed on February 3rd, 1858, leaving his mother to care for him alone. William Jr wasn’t even 2.

Not just a pretty face, he enlisted and went on to have a long military career, serving during two conflicts; the Spanish War and WWI, first as an ensign aboard the U.S.S Catskill and later on in life as the high ranked Lieutenant Commander of the U.S. Naval Training Camp in Hingham, Massachusetts. From 1918 to 1921 he was the Captain of the United States Naval Reserve Force.

He settled in his hometown where he also ran a firm, ‘Edgar & Buffinton’, selling electrical supplies like gramophones with his partner and family member, Elisha Wilbur Buffinton from his mother’s side, maybe a cousin.

William married Eliza Lord and had two children: William L Edgar in 1889 who unfortunately didn’t survive his first year, and a daughter in 1895, Marion L Edgar, who went on to live until 1956. His own wife tragically passed in 1889 at the age of 35, leaving him to mirror his own mother and raise his 3 year old daughter as a single parent.

He passed on November 17, 1938 having lived a full life to the age of 82.


Photographer: Gay’s Gallery of Art. Cor. Main & Borden St. Fall River, Mass.

His memorial at Find A Grave.

Three Quarter Portrait and a Bowler

Personal Collection

2″ x 1.5″ tintype. Private Collection


Click for larger image

Gem size three-quarter portrait tintype of a nice looking gentleman with a light-colored bowler (derby) and the sack suit buttoned at the collar to let the waistcoat (vest) peek through. It’s a bit dark on the scan so I lightened it up a bit for the blog. It does look fine when you look at it with your own eyes.

Gem tintypes were the cheapest to produce due to their tiny size, and naturally very popular from the 1860s to around1890. This one is between a 1/9th plate and the typical gem which is usually 1.5″ x 1.5″.

Teen boy with cigar and doll


A very unusual and humorous tintype I wish I had in my collection. This teen is holding a doll in his arm with a cigar in the mouth, and is smiling with mirth while doing so. The cheeks were tinted by the studio artist. This was usually done in watercolors or oils.

A little fun fact: tintypes are mirror images of their subjects, so you’re looking at the reverse image of him as he was holding the doll with his left arm.

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