Start Dating 19th century photographs

Dating 19th century photographs

For instance, do you date photos from: the clothing people are wearing; the cars you see; the progress of building construction; the appearance of telegraph poles; an historic event…or something unusual?

Cabinet cards are photographs mounted on stiff pieces of cardboard.

They were introduced in the 1860s and gradually superseded the smaller carte de visite format.

Your knowledge, interest and enjoyment in identifying dates and locations is helping us to fill in some of the blanks and, in turn, provide better access to the State’s archives.

A close rival in popularity to the photo posts is Useful Tips for Reading Handwritten Documents which became a long list of tips and tricks generated by comments from you and from State Records staff.

In 2011, a modern-day treasure hunter was browsing through an antique shop in Fresno, California.

Flipping through boxes, he came across an old photograph. After much investigation, it was concluded that one of the men was Billy the Kid, aka Henry Mc Carty, and the other players were his gang, The Regulators.

Have you ever wished you had a photo of a long ago ancestor?

Wouldn't it be great to find out what great-grandpa Bert or great-grandma Olive looked like?

The front of the card is usually printed or embossed with the photographer’s details, and the back of the cabinet card is often printed with elaborate designs.

The popularity of the cabinet card waned around the turn of the century, particularly after the introduction of the photographic postcard, but they were still being produced right until the First World War.

If you are lucky enough to own such a photograph, you might want to know a bit more about it, and what clues there are to date it.