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September 15, 2020

45 Amazing Visiting Cards Capture Portraits of American Men During the Civil War

The carte de visite, or visiting card, a photographic format about the size of a modern baseball card, dominated the American scene coincident with the Civil War.

American Men during the Civil War

Invented in France and imported to the United States via Great Britain about 1860, it immediately became all the rage in big cities and small towns across the country.

In 1863, Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes declared, “Card portraits, as everybody knows, have become the social currency, the ‘green-backs’ of civilization.”

Cartes began a gradual decline in popularity in 1866 after the introduction of the larger cabinet card format. The card photograph continued in production as late as 1920.

These amazing visiting cards from Ronald S. Coddington that show portraits of American men during the Civil War.

A good smoke and a loyal puppy

A hunter and his dog

A New York Tribune journalist after his escape from a confederate POW camp

A Survivor of the Revolution

A very, very old man

A world view from Missouri

A young man poses in his fraternal sash with his initials embroidered on one side and a flower in the center

Addison Kelley

American pioneer in care

Bearded gent sits in a studio chair


Dashing young man

Double-barrel shotguns and a retriever

Down on his luck


Elderly man with his dog

Fashionable quartet

Former confederate officer and friend with a camera and related accouterments

Frank Bates and fly

Fraternity man

Kilt cap and pipe

Maine gentleman with top hat and cane

Man wearing fraternal garb

Man with a sheep

Man with hat

March 26, 1870

Mason in full regalia

Pair of gentlemen

Profile of a gentleman with light-colored eyes

Shooting irons, stage coaches and fraternal orders

Skater suits up

Slick dude in a buffalo robe

Smiling lads

Smoking a bowl

Summer seegars

Table for five

The American Bohemian

The chronicler

The dude

The man behind the gunboat Aroostook

Thoughtful gentleman

Trio of gents

Two friends

Wisconsin dandies

Young man looks away from book


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