|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 mens 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 ones 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
About the photographers,
Beardsley Brothers of Ithaca, New York: according
Craigs 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
The stamp on the backs of these
pictures was part of Congresss effort to
raise money for the Civil War. According to Dave
Rozzanas Tips for Dating Old
[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