Here’s another Tom Thumb, this time by C.D. Fredricks. Proof positive that even when at home in New York, Tom Thumb was photographer agnostic, but still selective – if not posing for Brady, he was still going to the best names in town to get his photos done.
This was a surprise because my mom bought it for me when she and my dad were at Gettysburg for a little getaway vacation (their home is maybe an hour and a half from Gettysburg). The subject of the card is George Pope Morris, a 19th century American poet, and co-founder of the New York Evening Mirror which you may know of if you’re an Edgar Allan Poe fan, because it was where “The Raven” was first published in 1845, marking the first time the name Edgar Allan Poe was seen in print.
The quotation on the back of the CDV is the title of one of George P. Morris’ most famous poems, “Woodman, Spare That Tree”, which was also made into a popular song. The image must be from the last years of his life, as he died in 1864.
For more information about George Pope Morris, Wikipedia entry, George Pope Morris. From the accolades he received from his peers, it sounds like he’s yet another 19th century American (not to mention English) verist whose oeuvre is better off forgotten. If you really want to torture yourself, click here to hear a contemporary performance of the song. Trust me, you’ll need to cleanse your auditory palate afterward with a good dose of heavy metal or Justin Bieber or even cats having sex. But it’s informative as to the mindset and taste of the early Victorians when it came to popular entertainment.
Another actor in costume photo from the golden age of CDVs. Miss Sallie Holman dressed as Ike Partington (if you couldn’t tell from the name, a comedic role involving gender confusion/cross-dressing). This one hits on all the notes – a great CDV of a performer in costume, cross-dressing, “gay interest”, celebrity photographer. This is somewhat equivalent to the famous Garbo-in-a-tux photo of the 1930s, or Dustin Hoffman as Tootsie.
CORRECTION: It is Ike Partington, so I have corrected the title and elsewhere to reflect that.
Another CDV by C.D. Fredricks, of Lavinia Warren Stratton, Mrs. Tom Thumb. It’s an interesting addition to the Tom Thumb collection, as it shows they (the Thumbs) were very much the same as 21st century celebrities, getting photographed by all the fashionable photographers and trying to capitalize on their fame while it lasted. They seem to have had a particular loyalty to Brady, as this is the first definitive non-Brady I own of them. Can’t wait to find more