Here’s a fun little trio of cartes-de-visite, showing the same sitter what looks to be covering a span of 20 or more years. In the first one, Mr. S.W. Phillips of Baltimore appears youthful. In the second one, the card-mounted tintype, a bit older, sporting a rather tall top hat. And in the third photo, a definitely older Mr. Phillips has lost not only his hat but his hair.
I had to fight to keep all three together – the image with the top hat was of much interest to other buyers. I was willing to go a little over what I’d wanted to spend to keep the set, as I thought it would be a real shame for the other two to get separated where they’d linger in someone’s $5 box, unloved, unwanted and without context. As an erstwhile photo historian, all too often these kinds of things get lost because someone removes the context for the sake of the value of a single item.
On a separate note, almost totally unrelated to the rest of this post, sometimes I wish I had enough info to start a Baltimore photo map like my New York, DC and Philadelphia maps. I’m certain that there were many photographers there in the 19th century, as Baltimore was a much more important city at that time and a major hub of commerce and industry. Perhaps this can be a start – the Edkins Gallery at 103 Baltimore Street. If anyone out there in blog-land has studio addresses for Baltimore Victorian photo parlors, I’d love to have them so I can start the map!