Friday, March 5, 2010

The Victorian Stereograph, Part 2

There are so many different themed Victorian stereographs, it's hard to know where to begin! When I started collecting them years ago, I was drawn to different ones for various reasons.

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!

Darling, we'll sing I love you. Universal Photo Art Co. 1904Who Said Rats? Greater New York Stereo Co. 1898

Part of a comic set, Before Marriage and After Marriage. Victorian humor that was probably all too true!

Before Marriage. Keystone View Company. 1896After Marriage. Keystone View Company. 1896

Biddy, the incompetent house maid, seemed to be a really popular theme. Here she is, serving the tomatoes "undressed" by four different photographers!

Biddy, You May Serve the Tomatoes Undressed. Keystone View Company. 1900How Biddy served the tomatoes undressed Strohmeyer and Wyman. Underwood and Underwood. 1897How Biddy Served Tomatoes Undressed. Keystone View Company. 1893How Biddy Served Tomatoes Undressed. Keystone View Company. 1899

I bought this one just because it was so unusual.

The New Year's Callers— Loading the Gun. Am. <span class=

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.

Sealing Their Bliss. C. H. Graves. Universal Photo Art Co. 1897

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!

President Roosevelt at his Desk in the White House. H.C. White &amp; Co. 1902

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.

Union <span class=

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.

World's <span class=Centennial International Exposition. Philadelphia. 1876

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!

Climbing the dangerous trail to Glacier Point, Yosemite Falls, Cal., U.S.A. American Stereoscopic Company. 1902State House, Boston, Mass. John P. <span class=Along the Precipitous Trail, Devil's Lake, Wis. T.W. <span class=Under the Snow. H. H. Bennett, Wisc. 1883

You know I love Victorian cats! These are some of the cat stereo views in my collection.

Wake up, you lazy Pussy. <span class=Don't shoot, please, my pocketbook is under my pillow. <span class=Is this your cat? B. W. <span class=

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.

<span class=View in Park of W.A. <span class=

Some I simply thought were fun!

The Merry Maypole Dance. Universal Photo Art Co. 1894Island Fortress <span class=

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.

Tissue Stereo View. B. Kuhn <span class=Tissue Stereo View. B. Kuhn <span class=<span class=<span class=

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!

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Blogger The Pink Birdhouse said...

Pam, wow what a journey thru time you took us on with these fabulous fantastic old viewing cards! I love them!!!! I can imagine the one with the climbers on the icey rocks must look fab in 3D. I particularly love the Victorian ladies though and the one of the family sitting in their drawing room that was later done in color. How pretty! What a collection you have, it is beyond words!! I am sooooo glad that you decided to share your collection with us through your blog. I had such fun looking at each and every picture! hugs from here, and an extra for all the fun that this post was. Debby

March 6, 2010 at 6:30 AM  
Blogger Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

Gosh! What a visual treat this has been! I loved looking at all of these wonderful Victorian images! How lucky you are to have such a great collection!

March 6, 2010 at 2:12 PM  
Blogger Sea Witch said...

Part 2 is as intersting as part 1. I love your wide variety of stereo cards. Sea Witch

March 7, 2010 at 6:44 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


I'm glad you enjoyed the views! The colored French tissue view of the family sitting in the drawing room is actually the same exact view of the one directly above it. The color appears when you hold it up to the light!


March 7, 2010 at 9:00 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Debbie-

I feel privileged to share these with you. I am indeed lucky! :)


March 7, 2010 at 9:01 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Sea Witch-

Thank you! It was hard to decide which ones to include.:)


March 7, 2010 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger Rose ~Victorian Rose ~ said...

Kim, A very interesting history lesson on this subject...thank you.
Have seen thesse a million times in shoppes, but usually pay little attention to them, becasues there is no viewfiender with them to look thru.

Kim, I too am from CHICAGO...lived in the Irving Park near
( Milwaukee Rd, & Addison Ave.) Lived in that area for 20 the same Victorian homne my great-grandparents had had wainscoating on the lower part of the walls..and even some rooms had wallpaper on the ceilings.
Later, my grandparents bought it...and raised their children in it...then they left it to my mother...( my mother had been BORN in that house ) quite a family history with it.
What part of CHICAGO did you grown up in?


March 7, 2010 at 10:12 AM  
Blogger The Victorian Parlor said...


This is amazing! Your collection is wonderful! I am really enjoying learning about these photographics gems as I love learning about the things Victorians did for entertainment:). I look forward to your next post about stereographs!



March 7, 2010 at 10:40 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Rose-

I grew up not far from your grandparents' house, in Jefferson Park, near Foster and Milwaukee... small world!


March 7, 2010 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Thanks Kim!

I'm glad you're enjoying the stereograph posts. My goal is to get everyone collecting and viewing these fun antiques. Next, I'll encourage people to make their own modern day versions, to preserve what today's world looks like for future generations!


March 7, 2010 at 3:39 PM  
Blogger Dana and Daisy said...

I have four favorites, the couple with the umbrellas, the ferris wheel, the girl and the cat, and the may-day pole!


March 9, 2010 at 8:07 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...

Hi Dana & Daisy-

I knew you'd like the cat one! The May Day pole one is the type that fascinates me... old-fashioned activities that have fallen by the wayside.


March 9, 2010 at 10:55 AM  
Blogger The Sweetbrier Cottage said...

These are fabulous! I am so jealous of your collection - I have a long way to go:) There's an antique store near here that has a large lot of views of the Sears building in Chicago, if memory serves. I'll look more closely the next time I visit it. Great post!

March 10, 2010 at 5:13 PM  
Blogger La Petite Gallery said...

I hope you leave this post up a while .I found it so interesting. Just great.. Happy St. Pat's Day


March 11, 2010 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


Thank you! I have some of the old Sears Roebuck views. It's fascinating how office buildings worked back then. Just think... mail order was such a radical thing back then, and now it's so commonplace!


March 11, 2010 at 1:16 PM  
Blogger Eastlake Victorian said...


Don't worry... I never take my posts down!

Happy St. Pat's Day to you as well! I should probably do a post on St. Pat's soon, since it's such a big thing here in Chicago!


March 11, 2010 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger Reference Services said...

Your blog is outstanding! Here is the blog for Sandusky History if you would like to take a look:

August 9, 2010 at 2:26 PM  

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