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Friday, March 18, 2011

I Heart Photographs!

I heart photographs! Especially 19th and early 20th century portraits with subjects adorned in their finest attire and with some gazing into the camera. Perhaps it’s the elaborately dressed women in white lace wearing the latest hat style, yet the individuals wearing coarser dresses and hats simply trimmed also captivate me. Whether a man, a woman, or a child is pictured, there’s something wonderful and compelling about vintage photographs; they reveal so much about our history and the evolution of photography. When I was asked by a colleague in my museum’s education department for family images to include in a forthcoming publication, the cabinet card pictured at the left came to mind. It depicts one of my favorite themes found in photography: children with their toys, mostly little girls holding dolls.

This image, one of several of this girl, is from the Benjamin Layton collection. Layton was an avid collector who began collecting at nine years old. He served twenty-two years in the U.S, Army and retired in 1963 as commanding officer of the 181st Military Intelligence Detachment in Germany. While we may not know the name or family history of the little girl shown in this image, anyone passionate about early photographs can understand why Layton obtained this portrait.

I don’t know if this image will be selected for the publication, but it gets my vote!

To view other images collected by Benjamin Layton click here.

Jennifer Morris

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