Anti-Slavery Token, c1838
Commissioned by the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1837 and minted by Gibbs Gardner & Co of Belleville, New Jersey. The token was based on an image used for the seal of the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade.
Civil War Ghost or Just an Out of Focus Shot?
This photograph was taken during the American Civil War. A ghost, believed to be that of a dead soldier, was captured walking up these stairs in a basement.
Ghosts of the Past - Decayed Daguerreotypes from the Matthew Brady Studio, 1844-1860
Daguerreotype portraits were made by the model posing (often with head fixed in place with a clamp to keep it still the few minutes required) before an exposed light-sensitive silvered copper plate, which was then developed by mercury fumes and fixed with salts. This fixing however was far from permanent – like the people they captured the images too were subject to change and decay. They were extremely sensitive to scratches, dust, hair, etc, and particularly the rubbing of the glass cover if the glue holding it in place deteriorated. As well as rubbing, the glass itself can also deteriorate and bubbles of solvent explode upon the image.
The daguerreotypes above are from the studio of Matthew Brady, one of the most celebrated 19th century American photographers, best known for his portraits of celebrities and his documentation of the American Civil War which earned him the title of “father of photojournalism”. The Library of Congress received the majority of the Brady daguerreotypes as a gift from the Army War College in 1920.
That Time 150 Years Ago When Thousands of People Watched Baseball on Christmas Day…
During the Civil War, two regiments faced off as spectators, possibly as many as 40,000 sat and watched a game. On Christmas morning in South Carolina in 1862, two teams took the field for a game of what was not yet the national pastime.
The epic Christmas Day faceoff between two teams representing New York regiments stationed on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, may be one of the most significant contests in baseball’s early decades, even though it retains a whiff of mystery. Details are scarce. We don’t even know the final score. But it was played before an enormous audience: various sources say 40,000 people watched the game on Hilton Head—also known then as Port Royal—on that Christmas morning.
In November, 1861, Federal troops had seized the island, then home to 25 plantations, and never relinquished it throughout the war. About 13,500 troops came ashore in the invasion, bringing with them 1,500 horses and another 1,000 civilian construction workers who set out to create one of the most formidable military installations of the war.
Except on Christmas Day.
On that rare day off, soldiers looked for ways to relax. One way in 1862 was playing and watching baseball, New York style.
Curious History: 1860’s Victorian/Civil War Hairstyles
All women, whether children or adult, were expected to have long hair. The custom, however, was for married women to wear their hair up. As a sign of being single, young Victorian era women could wear there hair down. This was a sign that the woman was not betrothed and available for courtship. Otherwise wearing one’s hair down was for the bedroom. There were many styles that women learned to painstakingly recreate through magazines and would wear the style for weeks. The first picture is of Mary Lincoln Todd, Abraham Lincoln’s wife, wearing a very fashionable hairstyle during the Civil War era.
Pictured above are Victorian hair styles and headdresses that were highlighted in a series of 1860s photographs and magazine illustrations. A list of hairstyles and ornamentation included: a string of pansies, lilac velvet petunias, tufts of white feathers, spring curls, tortoise shell hair clips, and wreaths of white forget-me-nots.
Setting the Record straight on the Civil War Surgeon-A good surgeon could amputate a limb in under 10 minutes.
The field hospital was hell on earth. The surgeon would stand over the operating table for hours without a let up. Men screamed in delirium, calling for loved ones, Only the division’s best surgeons did the operating. The slow-moving Minie bullet used during the American Civil War caused catastrophic injuries. The two Minie bullets, for example, that struck John Bell Hood’s leg at Chickamauga destroyed 5 inches of his upper thigh bone. This left surgeons no choice but to amputate shattered limbs. They were performing a crude system of triage. The ones wounded through the head, belly, or chest were left to one side because they would most likely die. This may sound somewhat cruel or heartless, but it allowed the doctors to not waste precious time and to save those that could be saved with prompt attention. What is portrayed in “Hollywood” and in much “modern” conception of what surgery in the War was like during the war is false; anesthesia was in common and widespread use during the war…
About this photograph “Field Day.” Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine, CP 1043. Date created 1861–1865 License