Category Archives: Stereoviews

Cute turn-of-the-century Stereoview

I know I said I don’t collect Stereoviews (and I really don’t, except that one series) but this one came along with the Native American portrait of yesterday’s post, and it was sufficiently cute I thought it worth keeping and posting. It’s copyright 1897, by Strohmeyer & Wyman, distributed by Underwood & Underwood. I’d not heard of Strohmeyer and Wyman before, but Underwood & Underwood were a HUGE publisher of stereoviews.

Although it may be a little hard to see (the original card is somewhat faded, especially in the highlights) the little girl in the upper right has cupid wings and a bow-and-arrow.

"Shall I leave my summer love?"
“Shall I leave my summer love?”

Two new stereoviews

If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you’ll probably remember my saying I don’t collect stereoviews. That’s largely true – I will on occasion buy the odd one if it’s cheap and has an interesting subject, but I’m not really looking for them – collecting them is kinda like getting into sports trading cards of all varieties: just too much out there if it isn’t your primary focus. I am however collecting a specific series because it’s a small series – only about 24 images in total for the full set. The first one in the series that I acquired was found at an antique shop in Sacramento, California. The card shows a station on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, outside Mauch Chunk, Pennsylvania (now known as Jim Thorpe, PA). I have since found four more in the series. These are all early stereoviews from the 1870s (one of the new ones posted here today has a date on the reverse in pencil of October 4, 1876), identifiable as such by the size (they are larger than the later cards) and by the paper stock and printing style.

Here are the two latest acquisitions. I had been hunting for more on an irregular basis for the last year-plus, and then finally these two show up at almost the same time, and in quite good condition overall. I suspect it will be hard to complete the set, but it’s not like I’m on a schedule 🙂

Mansion House, Mauch Chunk, PA
Mansion House, Mauch Chunk, PA
Switch Back RR, Lehigh Valley Railroad
Switch Back RR, Lehigh Valley Railroad

New York Stereoviews, ca. 1904

Here’s a pair of stereoviews of the scenery around Madison Square Park in New York City. They’re effectively a matched set because the one is a view of the Flatiron building looking south from Madison Square Park, and the other is looking up Broadway past Madison Square Park from the Flatiron. The Flatiron building is so-called because of its triangular shape which reminded people of the shape of a clothes iron. It is also one of the most iconic buildings in New York City, and one of the most photographed. It was the first “skyscraper” in New York, and while today it is almost petite in comparison to its uptown neighbors, it was a marvel of construction and engineering in its day.

The Flatiron, looking South from Broadway at Madison Square Park
The Flatiron, looking South from Broadway at Madison Square Park
Broadway, looking North from the Flatiron Building
Broadway, looking North from the Flatiron Building

Washington DC in stereo

US Treasury Building
US Treasury Building

Quite possibly the oldest stereoview I have – I’d put this one at no later than 1870. This may have even been taken during the Civil War, although I think you’d have been hard pressed to find Pennsylvania Avenue that empty during the war. The area around the White House was even more the center of government at that time than it is now (now federal agencies are spread throughout the town and into the suburbs). The State Department was across the street to the north, and the War department was the other side of the White House. But Washington was a much smaller town in those days, and when Congress was not in session, half the town was empty.

More Italian Stereoviews

Displayed in order of oldest to newest:

On the Grand Canal, Venice
On the Grand Canal, Venice

This one probably dates from the 1860s/early 1870s based on the plain style of the card and the condition of the albumen print(s). No label on front or back, but a hand-written note in Italian stating “Palazzo Cavalli”

The Arch of Constantine, Rome
The Arch of Constantine, Rome

This one is still probably 19th century, but 1880s-1890s. American made.

The Piazza della Signoria, Firenze
The Piazza della Signoria, Firenze

Most likely between 1900-1910. This one fascinated me because I’ve actually been there! It was neat to see how the Piazza looked over 100 years ago.

Venus of Canova, Firenze
Venus of Canova, Firenze

This one came along for the ride in the batch of stereoviews. I’m not sure if this Venus resides in the Bargello or the Accademia.

Italian Stereoviews (or at least stereoviews of Italy)

Milan Cathedral
Milan Cathedral
The Vatican Library
The Vatican Library
Castel Sant Angelo
Castel Sant Angelo

The first one is actually a French stereoview, and is definitely the oldest of the three – could be as early as the 1860s, but more likely 1870s. The Vatican Library is an Underwood & Underwood from 1903. The Castel Sant’Angelo is also an Underwood, and it is dated 1897.