Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This is a group of CdVs found in the big bunch off ebay, and they are certainly a family. All the backs are marked as on the last image. According to Photo Tree, the absence of a border on these CdVs suggests they are from 1860-1862. The woman’s dress is certainly a lovely representation of a Civil War era dress, with lots of embellishment across the chest and down the sleeves to give the rounded look that was so popular at that time.

UPDATE: As I was studying the image of the two boys together, I wondered about the feet of some sort of table behind each boy, and then I realized they are positioning stands! Since the exposure time was long and a person had to remain still, body positioning stands were sometimes used for the best quality photo with no blur of movement. I’m excited to see evidence of these positioning stands. I believe there is also one in use in the photo of the man and the boy – look between the boy’s feet.

Here in America, today is Thanksgiving, a day we spend with family and celebrating all that we are thankful for. I hope that if you find yourself on Who Were They? today, you will know that I am incredibly thankful for your patronage and interest in this project, and hope to see you again soon!

4 thoughts on “Family

  1. IntneseGuy says:

    Mr. Holyland took over from Mr. Young in 1865.

    All you would care to know about Mr. Holyland (and more):

    Born in New Jersey to English parents, engineer, engraver, and businessman Charles John and Harriet Holyland, John Holyland originally trained as a civil engineer. He learned photography in Baltimore under the tutelage of John H. Young. Holyland’s father purchased a photographic studio in Washington, DC, in the early 1860s, at 250 Pennsylvania Avenue, and put John in charge of it. In 1865, John Holyland took over Young’s studio at 231 W. Baltimore Street.

    His mother also worked as a photographer after she was widowed in 1863.

    According to Kelbaugh’s “Directory of Maryland Photographers, 1839-1900,” Holyland had establishments at 231 W. Baltimore Street, 229 W. Baltimore (3 W. Baltimore after re-numbering), and at 7 W. Lexington. Several of his cartes de visite are in the holdings of the Library of Congress.

    Holyland was a very active member of the Fulton Avenue Baptist Church, for which he served as a deacon and a Sunday school teacher. The distinctive mark on the back of his card photographs was a sun-like circle emitting rays of light, with his address and initials in the center, surmounted by a Christian cross.

    He and his wife, Rebekah Hart Holyland, had one child, a daughter, Nellie Holyland. Rebecca Holyland died in 1910, but John Holyland lived to age 91. He spent his latter years in a home for the aged, of which his aunt, Mary Ann Child, was for many years the matron.


  2. IntneseGuy says:

    Happy Thanksgiving!! (I think WordPress cut my long comment a little short!) :)


  3. They did a change of clothing from short pants into long pants! I have been keeping an eye out for photos with the positioning stands..I have not found one yet. These are great photos! Her gown is lovely..I was curious what she was wearing around her neck..but I couldn’t figure it out:)


    1. mrsmarvel says:

      Actually there are four boys! And I looked at her neck and I think she has a necklace that lies right on her collar altho the photo quality prevents too much detail. Good eye tho catching that there is something there.


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