Another for the collection

Chas. Cain, by William Shew, San Francisco
Chas. Cain, by William Shew, San Francisco

I love the personal touch on this card – “Yours with Respect, Chas. Cain” and “Emma” in the negative number spot. He looks like he’s barely old enough to shave, yet out in the world on his own. The handwriting is somewhat unsteady – teenage nerves at dedicating the card to an intended? At first I thought the phrasing was a bit odd for a teenage boy, but that was the 19th century, now we are in the 21st. A 21st century kid would probably not send a picture of himself in an ill-fitting suit to a girl he liked with the inscription “yours with respect” (he’d probably sext her with a photo of his nether anatomy from his cellphone), but “yours with respect” is VERY much in keeping with a 19th century teenager’s style of expression.

Also note the feet of the posing stand peeking out from behind his legs – because photography is so instantaneous these days, it’s something we never experience today unless you happen to get into alternative process photography, so it stands out as anomalous to a modern viewer.

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