Family Stories

French Photos – Native-Born or Travelers?

Today I am sharing photos of three gentlemen – all taken in France.  I can’t say the men are French – perhaps they were travelers.  The carte de visite, or CDV, became popular during the Civil War through the very early 1870’s.  This was a photo about the size of a business card – or calling card as used in those days.  All three are CDV.  By 1870 the popular size was 4 X 6, called a cabinet card.

How many of you have read David McCullough’s The Greater Journey:  Americans In Paris?  It is a fascinating book that tells of American artists, writers, doctors, politicians and architects who left for study in Paris during the years 1830 to 1900.  Many knew little French when they left our shores, and experienced days of homesickness.  But all agreed these were some of the happiest days of their lives.  Charles  Sumner, James Fenimore Cooper, Samuel F. B. Morse, George P. A. Healy, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, Mary Cassatt and John Singer Sargent are just a few who spent months, some even years, in Paris. I like to think perhaps these three men were some of those adventurers!


Our first gentleman had his photograph taken by A. Floire, Cours d’Aquitaine, 61.  Bordeaux.  It looks as if that famous chair from photos in another post made its way to France, too!  Note the waistcoat – you just see it where the coat is unbuttoned.  Gloves are in his right hand.  He makes quite a dashing figure!


This photo was taken by Ch. Reutlinger, 16, Rue Souflot, Paris.  The word Mannheim is written on the back – could this be the gentleman’s name?


I left the dreamer for last!  Notice he wears a glove on his left hand and holds the other in his right.  This photo was taken by Max and Co., 6 Allees d’Amour, Bordeaux.  How exciting to travel Europe during this time of history!

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