Two more DC portraits

African-American Gentleman, Washington DC
Anonymous Lady, Johnson's National Gallery

Two new DC portrait studio pictures from the 1860s-1870s. The African-American gentleman photo is quite interesting because it shows the relative prosperity that was possible so shortly after the Civil War for African-Americans in Washington DC. It is all the more remarkable because it exists in spite of segregation. It’s probably a window into the period of Reconstruction, before the southern states began instituting Jim Crow laws designed to economically suppress African Americans.

The woman is rather unremarkable, but the photographer’s back-stamp is what interests me – particularly the street address. When I first saw this, the address description helped clarify where another DC photo studio was located – The Schroeder & Rakeman studio. Of course the “Market” referred to no longer exists, but where it was is now a complex of buildings called “Market Square”, and is in immediate proximity to most of the other photo studios in Washington at that time.

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