Pre-Civil War Photograph of Young African American Girl-Photographer Unidentified 1855

Many portraits like these were taken in a studio. The subjects were often formally posed and items were placed in the scene to communicate information about the sitter. The Sitters name has been lost to time.

The Eastman House collection has a number of photographs of African Americans taken in the 1850s and 1860s with the early daguerreotype and ambrotype photographic processes. It would appear from these photographs, by the style of dress, etc., that the “sitters” were free African Americans, most likely from the North and, probably, from the middle class, since photographers’ fees, though minimal by today’s standards, were not inexpensive in their time.

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    I love this photo, she’s soo beautiful and I love the hint of smile on her face
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