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Photo of (Father) Leonard Photo back of (Father) Leonard
(Father) Leonard
Father Leonard - see the text under Belle Leonard in this online picture album for an explanation of how this identification was arrived at, as well as a fact or two about the Leonard family - would be somewhat difficult to date from his clothing alone, as men’s clothing in the 1840s,1850s, and 1860s was subject to considerable variety, and even extravagance, in the choice of collars and neckties; in this photograph, Father Leonard wears a snappy window-pane necktie. Fortunately, there is a stamp on the back, dated 6 September 1865.

Father Leonard also sports a fine-looking watch chain. While it is practical to wear a watch chain - attached to a pocket watch, of course - it is also a way of advertising one’s economic status in an era before designer labels.

Father, Mother, and Son Leonard (his picture follows) are all photographed in the studio of of the Beardsley Brothers of Ithaca, New York. The fringed chair is identical in all three pictures.

About the photographers, Beardsley Brothers of Ithaca, New York: according to John Craig’s Daguerreian Registry, the Beardsley Brothers were A J[ulius?] and Jefferson Beardsley of Ithaca, NY. From 1856 to 1857, A J is listed as working in Dixon, Illinois; Jefferson can be found in an Ithaca, NY, business directory dated 1859. Thanks to the imprint on the back of the Leonard family photographs, it is clear that the Beardsley brothers opened a studio together by 1865, when the Leonard Family photographs were taken.

An Ithaca, NY, business directory for 1868 - 1869 lists a Jeff Beardsley as a landscape and portrait painter. Might this be our Jefferson Beardsley, photographer? Did he give up photography for landscape painting?

The stamp on the backs of these pictures was part of Congress’s effort to raise money for the Civil War. According to Dave Rozzana’s “Tips for Dating Old Photographs, “[A]mong a number of taxes levied was an 1864 Act which provided that sellers of photographs affix stamps at the time of sale to ‘photographs, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, or any sun pictures,’ according to the following schedule, exempting photographs too small for the stamp to be affixed:

“’Less than 25 cents: 2 cents stamps (blue/orange).
25 to 50 cents: 3 cents stamps (green).
50 cents to $1: 5 cents stamps (red).
More than $1: 5 cents for each additional dollar or fraction thereof.’

“Stamps were applied from 1 Aug. 1864 to 1 Aug. 1866. Blue playing card stamps are known to have been used in the summer of 1866 as other stamps were unavailable as the levy came to an end. The stamp was to be canceled by requiring that the seller cancel the stamp by initializing [initialing] and dating it in ink.”

Please Note: In 2005 this album came into the loving care of Hannah Rich Peters’ and William Blakely Peters’ great-granddaughter, Carolyn Flanders McPherson, and is presented here for the first time. For more detailed information on the photo album and its contents you may view the introduction here.

Patricia and Carolyn have attempted to identify all persons in the album and learn more about them through research of various records. If you can help us identify or add further information to this photo, please contact:
Email Carolyn

Additional Links
Next Photo - (Mother) Leonard
Photo Album of Hannah (Rich) Peters
Belle Leonard
John Craig’s Daguerreian Registry (Outside link)
An Ithaca, NY, business directory for 1868 - 1869 (Outside link)
Dave Rozzana’s “Tips for Dating Old Photographs (Outside link)
PDP's Roots & Branches Blog
Updated June 01, 2014
Album photos provided by Carolyn F. McPherson 2005
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