Episode 80: Photo Fun While Stuck In The House

It’s a great time to work on your photographs. I’ve been working on some photo-related distractions.

On the Photo Detective Facebook page there is a photo reunion challenge. Thirty days of identified photographs from my collection. These are images I’ve picked up here and there over the years. Help me find them a home! If you spot one of your relatives send me an email with how you’re related to them.

On Instagram folks are putting together alphabets of topics. My inspiration is the alphabet of architecture started by the Providence Preservation Society. So…on the Photo Detective Instagram page @photodetective you’ll find the A-Z Alphabet of Photography. Posts twice a week until the first week of July.

If you’re interested in Providence, RI history, you’ll love the A-Z Alphabet of Oldpvd @oldpvd. These post twice a week until early July as well. Shaina Weintraub of the Providence City Archives is joining me with a related project. She’s working on Tinder profiles of Providence historical figures. Tinder is a modern dating app that Shaina has tweaked for teaching history. They are hysterical.

I love Instagram. It’s pictures all the time. What’s not to love? A local antique shop is now posting on this social media platform items for sale. Recently I saw something and had to have it. It’s a little brass bird from the 1880s. I’ll share it in my newsletter so you can see it. The little tail moves and so does the beak. It’s a photographer’s prop. “Watch the birdie.” Since the dealer lives in the neighborhood he dropped it off on my porch.

It’s April. The month I usually devote to The Last Muster and the American Revolution because
of the April 19th, “Shot Heard Round the World.” Last year at this time I was
at the Museum of the American Museum in Philadelphia and the Concord Museum in Concord, Massachusetts with the folks from Verissima Productions about our films, A Revolutionary Trio. Revolutionary Voices explores three stories, including those of a soldier whose discharge papers were signed by George Washington; a Quaker woman torn between the pacifist views of her religion and her attraction to the republican ideals of George Washington; and a free man of color who served 6 years as a soldier in the Continental Army. In addition, each segment sheds light on the world of early photography, and reveals new information about how those photographs were created and preserved.

We made the decision to make the films available free. You can watch and share them on my
website Maureen Taylor.com under projects, A Revolutionary Trio.

This month I researched an image in my collection. It’s a carte de visite from E. M. Worth’s
American Museum claiming to depict General Washington’s Camp Lantern, Knife and Fork,
used during the Revolutionary War, by Washington, 1776. It was likely sold as a souvenir when
one visited the museum.

So what’s the story? E. M. Worth’s was a Dime Museum. They have a long history. Barnum’s American Museum was very popular in the 1850s. The term Dime Museum comes from the fact that admission was 10 cents. Turns out Worth’s American Museum was once a Cincinnati destination. In late 1878 it was a mixture of live action entertainment and exhibit. Think circus/aquarium and then photos of the notorious and the famous such as Willis Cobb’s Miniature Circus, performing cats and dogs, goats and monkeys. There were reportedly twelve thousand curiosities on display including photos like the General Washington Camp kit, a photo of John Wilkes Booth’s Boot, photos of Tom Thumb and his wife. It had a lecture hall that could seat hundreds. I could spend days researching this image but I decided to stop. I was able to date it from articles on Newspapers.com and even found a mention of the exact image in my collection. You can view it in my newsletter.

Not signed up for my newsletter? It’s easy. Go to MaureenTaylor.com for a signup form.

If you are looking for online classes. Vivid-pix is offering programs by some well known genealogy speakers.


About Maureen Taylor:

Maureen is a frequent keynote speaker on photo identification, photograph preservation, and family history at historical and genealogical societies, museums, conferences, libraries, and other organizations across the U.S., London and Canada.  She’s the author of several books and hundreds of articles and her television appearances include The View and The Today Show (where she researched and presented a complete family tree for host Meredith Vieira).  She’s been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Better Homes and Gardens, The Boston Globe, Martha Stewart Living, Germany’s top newspaper Der Spiegel, American Spirit, and The New York Times. Maureen was recently a spokesperson and photograph expert for MyHeritage.com, an internationally known family history website and also writes guidebooks, scholarly articles and online columns for such media as Smithsonian.com. Learn more at Maureentaylor.com

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