Who Were They?

Lost and forgotten photos from the past

This is a beautiful portrait of a dapper gentleman from the Red Velvet Album. He looks to have been quite stylish, with a crisp white bowtie and starched shirt, carefully groomed mustache over full lips and softly wavy hair. Were I a young lady from 110 years ago I might have sighed over this image. Even though it is twice dated 1851, this photograph is not from year. His personal style is one more consistent with ’91, plus the print has the distinctly lavender-grey cast of a collodion print, dating it after 1892. He also does not appear to be old enough to have been born in 1851, so I can only assume the person who wrote that was confused or misinformed.

The photography studio was Gilbert & Bacon at 1030 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.  They were known to be in business in the 1880s into the early 20th century. Gilbert & Bacon were renowned photographers in their time. They made images from Sitting Bull to early baseball star Wilbert Robinson. In 2011 a lot of 10 of their proofs sold at auction for $16,000!

3 thoughts on “Not 1851

  1. IntenseGuy says:

    It’s clearly not a typo either. Maybe it was a “proof” or “negative” number that unfortunately looks like a date, and a date would be expected on a photo!

    Another great looking mustache!

    Like

  2. usermattw says:

    Since the notes on old photos sometimes seem to be more recent attempts at documenting genealogy, I sometimes wonder if the dates are birthdays rather than the dates of the photos. But in this case, I am inclined to agree with IntenseGuy that it’s probably some sort of serial number.

    Like

  3. Numbered perhaps for a exhibit of some sort.. strange isn’t it?? :)

    Like

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