This cabinet card portrait features a well-dressed pretty young woman sitting on the floor behind her baby. It is not clear whether this photograph is a post-mortem image. The mother seems to be half smiling and the baby appears awake. In addition, the photograph appears to have been taken at a studio and not at the woman’s residence. Therefore, it is my opinion that this is not a post-mortem image. This cabinet card was produced by the Lemkie studio in Berlin, Germany.  SOLD

Published in: on October 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm  Comments (1)  
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I apologize to any Cabinet Card Gallery visitors who find this photograph upsetting or offensive. It is important to keep in mind that post mortem photographs such as this one, were not produced for voyeuristic purposes. Instead, these images were made for families to preserve their memories of their deceased loved ones. Nevertheless, I recognize that these photos are often upsetting to viewers, and in fact, no matter how many post mortem images I have seen, they still stir up a lot of sad emotions for me. The previous owner of this photograph reports that it was taken in Russia in the mid 1920’s. Pictured in the image is a baby in a small coffin covered by flowers, surrounded by grieving family. The mourners are dressed in dark winter clothing indicating that the photograph may have been taken outdoors.  (SOLD)

Published in: on September 15, 2017 at 12:00 pm  Comments (5)  
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This post mortem cabinet card image features an older bearded man partially covered with flowers. The card on the bottom right hand corner of the image likely has the words of a prayer or a religious reading. The image has amazing clarity. The deceased gentleman is lying at an unusual angle. The photographer of this cabinet card image is the Kandel studio which was located in Schwabach, Germany. The town is near Nuremberg and in the center of the Franconia region in North Bavaria. Hopefully, visitors to the Cabinet Card Gallery will not find this image offensive. Photographs of deceased family members were commonplace during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in America and Europe. The images helped surviving loved ones through the grieving process. In addition, sometimes the post mortem photographs were the only images possessed by the deceased’s family. (SOLD)

Published in: on March 13, 2017 at 7:18 pm  Comments (4)  
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babyThis cabinet card features a very beautiful baby wearing a long gown. Her hair is styled beautifully and her eyes are wide open. This sweet baby looks like a doll. She is either wearing flowers on her gown or else someone has placed flowers on her. At first I thought this was a lovely portrait of a baby girl. However, the longer I have owned this image, the more I think that this is a post mortem portrait. The little girl’s expression and the size and placement of the flowers has led me to believe that her poor soul had departed before the photographer took this photograph. This photograph really tugs at my emotions. The image was taken by the Rodgers & Manson studio (Gem Gallery) in Elwood, Indiana.


Published in: on December 25, 2014 at 12:02 pm  Comments (7)  
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This cabinet card is a postmortem photograph of a young girl. The image is upsetting and sad, but served as a remembrance of a family member for their grief stricken family. Note the flowers and cross lying on the child’s bed and the religious statues and candles on the side table.   The photographer of this cabinet card was R. Dechavannes, whose studio was located in Paris, France. To view other photographs by Dechavannes, click on the category “Photographer: Dechavannes”. Hopefully, visitors to the cabinet card gallery will not find this image offensive. A website  called “Ostrobogulous Cackleberries”, has an interesting article about the practice of postmortem photography. The writer states that during the Victorian era, photographing the recently deceased was “extremely prevalent”. The author points out that the practice existed before the invention of the camera. Instead of photographing the dead, artists painted their portraits immediately following their death. In many cases, the postmortem photo was the only image a family possessed of the departed family member. Many of the Victorian memorial photographs were of infants and children. The mortality rate of children during that time was very high. The writer offers a description of how the dead were posed and there seems to be a great deal of approaches to the practice. Postmortem images could be full body or facial close-ups. Coffins were not frequently included in the picture. The dead were often posed as if they were sleeping and sometimes were presented as life-like. In some photos they were braced or tied into chairs or propped up against other family members to look as alive as possible. According to the article, the popularity of postmortem photography faded in the early twentieth century. Funerals moved from the home parlor tot the funeral parlor. Society stopped “embracing mortality” and we became the death denying culture of today.


This cabinet card features a well dressed gentleman with a noteworthy mustache. In fact, the mustache is so noteworthy, that it joins other cabinet cards featuring fantastic mustaches in Cabinet Card Gallery’s category of Mustaches (Only the Best). Click on the category and view the other mustaches. The photographer of this image is Henry C. Lovejoy (1838-1901) of  Trenton, New Jersey. Lovejoy had a series of studios in Trenton between 1869 and 1900. A Trenton Times (1891) newspaper article interviewed Lovejoy about many issues pertaining to portrait photography. He stated that “the great art, however, is in placing a person in position. This can only be acquired by long practice and experience.” He added “the photographer must also by a physiognomist” because different people will photograph better in different positions. A physiognomist is an expert at the art of judging human character from facial features. Later in the same article, Lovejoy provides interesting comments about post mortem photography (photographing the dead).