The carte de visite was a 2 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch photographic calling card, usually created as one of a number of images on a single photographic plate. They were introduced in 1854 by French photographer Adolphe-Eugene Disderi; and began appearing in America during the summer of 1859. Collecting these cards was a major craze in the 19th century. Their popularity began to diminish after the Civil War with the introduction of the cabinet card.
Cartes de visite bearing an Internal Revenue postage stamp on the back can be dated as having been produced before or during the period September 1, 1864, to August 1, 1866, when all such photographs transported in the U.S. mail were subject to this form of government tax in order to raise additional wartime revenue.
Visit the City Gallery online to learn more about these photographs.
This page copyright March 2001 by Susan Goss Johnston.