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Carte de Visite album of 1870s notables


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The carte-de-visite (CDV) was a small card with a black-and-white photograph attached, often of a celebrity. Invented in 1854 by A.A.E. Disderi and made popular in the 1860s, CDV were often collected in Victorian portrait albums. The backs of the cards were normally printed with the photographer's name, address and insignia.


"Carte-de-Visite." Carte-de-visite - National Portrait Gallery. Accessed August 10, 2023.

The Carte de Visite album of 1870s notables contains 102 carte-de-visite photographs of American notables including: activists, politicians, authors, actors, musicians, Union and Confederate military leaders, and robber barons, representing a visual cross-section of American celebrity culture at the start of the Gilded Age. Likely assembled in the mid-to-late 1870s, some of the images may date earlier. Most photographs are identified and captioned in pencil. Several photographs feature notable women such as: Harriet Beecher Stowe, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Victoria Woodhull, Tennessee Claflin, Sara Jane Lippincott, Paulina Wright Davis, and Helen Josephine Fisk.

Other subjects included in the album are: Emerson, Longfellow, Thomas Huxley, Samuel Morse, Wendell Phillips, Boss Tweed, Oakley Hall, P.T. Barnum, Brigham Young, Thomas Nast, Horace Greenly, Jay Gould, Cornelius Vanderbilt, James Fisk, Admiral Farragut, General Sherman, Andrew Johnson, Charles Sumner, Grand Duke and Alexei Alexandrovitch.

Composers, singers, and musicians included: Jacques Offenbach, Ole Bull, Anna Bishop, Charles Santley, Theodor Wachtel, Europhrosyne Parepa-Rosa, Christina Nilsson, Adelina Patti, Clara Louse Kellogg, Anna Mehlig, Dame Emma Albani, Hans von Bulow, Ora Sankey, Anton Grigoyevich Rubenstein, Maurice Strakosch, and Emma Abbot.

Actors and performers included: Joseph Jefferson, Edwin Forrest, Charles Sherwood Stratton, Kate Field, Kate Santley, James William Wallack, Clara Rousby, Adelaide Ristori, Venie Clancy, Lawrence Barrett, Kate Claxton, and Olive Logan.

Sold by Lorne Bair Rare Books (Winchester, VA), 2022.

Accessioned as 2022.000182. Samantha Dodd processed, wrote and encoded the finding aid, 2023.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Samantha Dodd
Finding Aid Date
2023 August 10
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

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Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

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