One of the most important things to consider is how the view will look in 3D. I like there to be a lot of depth. Here are some of the themes I tended to go with:
I like to collect pretty ladies in their dresses!
Part of a comic set, Before Marriage and After Marriage. Victorian humor that was probably all too true!
Biddy, the incompetent house maid, seemed to be a really popular theme. Here she is, serving the tomatoes "undressed" by four different photographers!
A couple of my Victorian Wedding views. The top one is clearly a re-photograph of an older view, probably reissued when one company bought the rights to one that was closing. Views were often reissued, or you find the same view under different company names.
Spirit photography really interested the Victorians. There are a lot of stereo views depicting spirits. Here, a young couple envisions their future children by the Christmas tree.
If I recognize a famous person, I will buy it. This is Teddy Roosevelt. See him in 3D, and it's as if you've met him in person!
Since I'm from Chicago, anything from the area or from it's history fascinates me. This one is a view after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
I collect all things from the World's Columbian Exposition, which was held in Chicago in 1893. I have a lot of stereo views from this fair. The first Ferris Wheel was introduced here! The bottom view is from the Centennial International Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876. These deluxe views are taller than most.
Some people like to collect views of places they've never been. I do, too, but more often I collect places I HAVE been to, just to see what it looked like in the Victorian day. Notice the hand-coloring in the first view. These cost quite a bit more at the time!
You know I love Victorian cats! These are some of the cat stereo views in my collection.
After I had been collecting for some time and learning about the photographers and publishers that produced these views, I started collecting views just because they were from certain famous companies, just to round out my collection.
Some I simply thought were fun!
One interesting genre that is more hard to come by are the tissue stereo views from France. I pick these up whenever I can. They are photographs printed on thin tissue paper with a cardboard frame. Often there are two layers of tissue: the front tissue is the photograph, and the back tissue is hand painted with watercolor so that when you hold it up with the light behind it, the photo appears in color! Many are also pin-pricked so that lights and jewelry sparkle. Some have secret images that appear only when held up to the light, and some, like the scene at the bottom, turn from daylight to dusk! Tissues were produced in the 1860's and 1870's.
As you can see, I'm all over the place as far as collecting! Be sure to click each one for my Flickr link, which you can view at Large or Original size for a super close-up look! If you have an antique stereoscope, feel free to download them, and print them out to take a look.
Next time, I will show you how you can make and view your own Stereographs! Also, some sources for antique and modern day viewers, and some great links to references!