The photo of the week is a carte de visite of Lincoln reading with his son Tad. While cartes de visite in BHS’s collections often feature everyday Brooklynites who distributed their portraits to loved ones, many people also collected widely-distributed cares de visite of famous people. Collecting these seemingly personal images of national leaders crystallized a collective sense of nationalism among Americans. The above photograph is particularly unique because while it is posed, it feels like a candid, private moment. The portrait, observed Andrea Volpe in a recent article on the New York Times “Disunion” blog, “evokes comfort and protection, not from a president consumed with war and politics, but from a tender patriarch.”
This photograph comes from the John B. Woodward collection. This collection consists of correspondence, ephemera, scrapbooks, cartes de visite, cabinet cards, and other materials relating to Brooklyn resident John Blackburne Woodward (1835-1896). To learn more about this collection, be sure to check out the finding aid here. This photograph, along with many other cartes de visite and letters, are now on display in the Personal Correspondents exhibit at Brooklyn Historical Society. There is a rich history and connection between photography and the civil war which can be explored further through this unique and engaging exhibit featuring items from the BHS collection. It’s not to be missed!
Interested in seeing more photos from BHS’s collection? Visit our online image gallery, which includes a selection of our images. Interested in seeing even more historic Brooklyn images? Visit our Brooklyn Visual Heritage website here. To search BHS’s entire collection of images, archives, maps, and special collections visit BHS’s Othmer Library Wed-Sat, 1:00-5:00 p.m. firstname.lastname@example.org