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CDV of Post Mortem African American baby

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Photographs3502 of 4491Hand tinted CDV of Civil War soldier CDV of MN Civil War 1SG by Whitney
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Posted 6 years ago

(854 items)

This 1880s image depicts what was all too often the harsh reality of 19th century American Life-- high infant mortality.

The baby has been lovingly photographed, so the family would have a tangible way to remember their departed child.

This may have been the first photograph taken of the child.

A sad photograph.

Reproduction of this image in any form is not authorized.



  1. packrat-place packrat-place, 6 years ago
    yes, sad, life was tough.
  2. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking and commenting packrat.

  3. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    In this day of digital cameras and cell phone cameras, folks often forget that 125 years ago getting a photograph taken was an unusual event for most people.

    This CDV was probably a very cherished image and may have been the only likeness of the child that the family had.

  4. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks bellin.

  5. USACollect, 6 years ago
    Post-mortem photos were common in that era and can be frequently found on this websites as well as auction sites such as eBay. It is simply a piece of history.
  6. Mrj303 Mrj303, 6 years ago
    History should be embraced not discarded because it makes us uncomfortable. Many many things in history have the potential of being controversial but it doesn't mean we should not educate others about what really has taken place.

    Very nice example of history Scott.
  7. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    I have no intent to provoke or disturb folks. Thanks for the comments Hedge, USA and Mrj.

    I too believe the photograph tells an important part of history. The photograph was a cherished family possession and link to a family member who died as an infant.

    If the image bothers, you then simply don't look at it!

    Be nice.

  8. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 6 years ago
    Scott, sorry to have gotten off topic. This photo is tragic and profound. Imagine the emotions attached to this photo, a family tragedy. I am sure they spent food money having this photo taken, so that they would have a memory of their beautiful child. This photo is so PROFOUND, it evokes incredible emotion. As I mentioned earlier, the part that bothers me is that infant mortality of African American children is higher in the USA than in many, many poorer nations. How can we turn our backs? I think we are not told the statistics, out of sight, out of mind. This photo brings home the fact that little has changed in the odds of infant survival among African Americans between the year of this photo,1880 and now,2012. Very sad, Mich
  9. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    This is a rare image presented WITH its historical perspective.

    I'll leave it to CW to "make the call" on the posting, while I will delete certain comments that I don't want here.

  10. Hedgewalker Hedgewalker, 6 years ago
    scott I apologize for disrupting your post. Please feel free to delete any of my comments.
  11. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    I have no issue with your comments Hedgewalker-- I have already deleted what I want to.

    I think we can all find something on here that we don't like or care for. If I find something offensive, I tend to not visit that post or future posts by that person. Seems like an easy way to solve!

  12. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 6 years ago
    I may or may not agree with your opinion but I will defend your right to state it.

    The picture needs to stay....IN MY OPINION.

    I could care less who likes my opinion, I fought for the right to state it.
  13. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for commenting fhrjr.

    And thanks for your service!

  14. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking militarist.

  15. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks tlmbaran.

  16. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 6 years ago
    Say nothing of web sites, pick up your local paper and look at the obituary pages. All kinds of pictures of dead people of all ages. Look at the TV, is someone died or was murdered, there is a picture of them.

    It seems the only solution is to not die or not allow pictures to be taken.

    Black Americana items are one of the hottest collectibles on the market. This certainly qualifies.
  17. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    This particular image is done in a respectful and tasteful manner. Many would probably think the child is sleeping.

    The photograph was made for the family and provide comfort during a very hard time.

  18. michelleamieux michelleamieux, 6 years ago
    Scott, thank you again for a great job of editing. I'm sorry I got drawn into personal attacks, not my nature. I couldn't delete the comments, but I'm glad you erased mine!! Sincerely, Mich
  19. packrat-place packrat-place, 6 years ago
    It is amazing how you posting ballooned into a firestorm, through no fault of yourself. Your postings are top notch, informative and historically fascinating, a class act.
    Please keep up the great work!
  20. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks packrat-- I appreciate your input.

    Unfortunately, a really fine and unusual image was lost in the firestorm. I hope the focus can now return to this fascinating antique photograph.

  21. fhrjr2 fhrjr2, 6 years ago
    Talk about a firestorm..........I just found out Market Street Media owns this site.
  22. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking ls.

  23. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking lostinspace.

  24. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks again for looking Nina.

  25. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking Mary.

  26. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking mikko.

  27. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks tubber and 34.

  28. inky inky, 6 years ago
    What this photo evokes in me, is! how very lucky I am in soooo! many ways.
  29. flowerrose, 6 years ago
    Very interesting. Yes I imagine the $$ it took to get this photo may very well have been beyond the means of the family at that time - would be fascinating to know!! Perhaps gifted by a white family they worked for? Or a generous gift of the post-mortem department. Considering the photo was probably taken on a View camera - not cheap at the time - so interesting that such care was taken at the time. Lovely.
  30. Woman34 Woman34, 6 years ago
    So beautiful, yet so sad at the same time. I can't imagine losing one of my children.
  31. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    flower-- most CDVs of this era sold for about 25 cents each or $1 for a dozen. This is based on period ads that I have seen and prices on the back of actual CDVs.

    In 1880 the average laborer made about $1.34 a day, so the cost of a photograph was a significant expense to most people.

  32. scottvez scottvez, 6 years ago
    Thanks for looking inky.

  33. aeon aeon, 5 years ago
    He's so beautiful. I've never understood the post-mortem photograph but if for some reason (money, maybe) you hadn't gotten a picture of your child done yet, I can see why you'd want to be able to remember his face, even if after death.
  34. scottvez scottvez, 5 years ago
    Thanks for your thoughtful comments aeon.

  35. scottvez scottvez, 4 years ago
    Thanks pat!


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