Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This is a cabinet card that has a distinctly 1850s feel to it, even though it was made post 1870s. The couple is posed in a very sterile manner, side by side on chairs. The backdrop is very plain to non-existent. Of interest is the dog they have between them. Although the dog moved, as is common with animals, it is still interesting that they decided to have their dog photographed with them in the first place. S/he must have been very important to them!

UPDATE: I realized I forgot to add the photographer information! This photo was made by W. A. Gourley, who was a Landscape & Portrait photographer from Freehold, PA. It’s tricky when a photographer hasn’t listed their first name, especially when their initials are “WA” and there is a Washington county in Pennsylvania. Sigh…

9 thoughts on “Hold still, doggy!

  1. I love the old photos that show some personality and are out of the ordinary..this is a great photo:)


  2. IntenseGuy says:

    The doggie seems to be the most relaxed. Is the guy’s face painted? It looks like he is wearing blush or something.

    And sad to say, there is no way to track down any living offspring of the dog, if there were any.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      It’s an illusion. I thought it was painted as well but nope.


  3. I’ve seen that look in a dog before. It’s about to leap at the photographer in exuberance, which would explain the look of anxiety of the woman. It has the feel of a wedding photo, but why no coat for the man?


  4. What a great picture, I love the expression on their faces, especially the wife!


  5. whiteladyinthehood says:

    I stumbled on here today – and am glad I did. These pic’s are amazing. My grandmother was born in 1911 and she had pictures that were printed on tin. She had old ‘trunk’ full of photos – I used to sit with her for hours on end – looking at them and her explaining who they were etc. Love your blog.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      Yes, those types of photographs were called tin types, not so much because they were printed on tin (which they weren’t), but because tin snips were used to cut them from the larger sheet of iron plates. So glad you found the site and I look forward to your comments!


  6. M says:

    It looks like this lady has 6 fingers on her right hand. Perhaps they are circus related? Tent in the background? I thought maybe it was part of her left hand, but I can’t reproduce what the photo looks like with 2 normal hands.


    1. Mrs Marvel says:

      i see what you mean, but I think it’s an illusion. Her left hand appears to be a bit twisted so her palm faces her body and the right hand is palm down over that. The first finger of her left hand is laying next to the pinky of her right hand. It definitely looks weird! :-)


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