Dating Antique Photos
It's pretty exciting to own an ancestor photo from long ago. We may know it is a photo of Great-Grandmother Molly, but how can we figure out when it was taken? We have an idea when Molly was born but we can't date the photograph based on her year of birth. Below are some ways to identify approximate dates of antique photos.
In the 1860s the CDVs were very thin, often they were layers of paper/cardboard. By 1870 the backs were getting thicker. By the later 1880s and 1890s the backs were very thick.
The 1860s verso (back) of the photo had a simple logo and writing, somewhat like an ink stamp.
By 1865 the logo had changed to a design in the middle. Sometimes ribbons, scrolls and other decorations can be seen. Usually there was a “Copies can be had” statement.
By 1868 logo designs had begun to be much more intricate and by the 1870s there was usually a design within a shaped frame.
Another method of dating old photographs is to look for the Photographer's printed address on the back of the card, then research the known dates of his studios.
Logo circa 1865
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All photographs images © 2010-2018 Lorine McGinnis Schulze. Some rights reserved. The photographs may be saved for your personal use but they may not be published or reproduced elsewhere, either online or off, without my written permission.