Washington DC: Mathew Brady, 1860. Presumed to be one of multiple copies made. Photograph. The format is approximately 2.125 inches by 3.25 in mounted on a card sized 2.25 inches by 4 inches). The front image has some fading and some soiling, but the image is clear. On the back Jefferson Davis signed his name in ink. This signature has been compared with a number of signature images available on the internet and is believed to be authentic. In pencil is the following notation: President of the Confederacy who married my grandmother's niece, Miss Howell of New Jersey, daughter of Gov. Howell (NJ). Mathew Benjamin Brady (c. 1822–1824 – January 15, 1896) was one of the earliest photographers in American history. Best known for his scenes of the Civil War, he studied under inventor Samuel F. B. Morse, who pioneered the daguerreotype technique in America. Brady opened his own studio in New York in 1844, and photographed Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and Abraham Lincoln, among other public figures. When the Civil War started, his use of a mobile studio and darkroom enabled vivid battlefield photographs that brought home the reality of war to the public. Internet research dates this photograph as from 1860. Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) served as a U.S. Senator (1845-1852, 1857-1860), and as Secretary of War (1853-1857). The Montgomery Convention named him as provisional president of the Confederacy, until he was elected to a six-year term as president in November 1861. Davis took a direct role in the management of military affairs and worked with the Confederate Congress. He published The Rise and Fall of the Confederate Government, in 1881. The carte de visite, abbreviated CdV, was a type of small photograph which was patented in Paris by photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854, although first used by Louis Dodero. Each photograph was the size of a visiting card, and such photograph cards were commonly traded among friends and visitors in the 1860s. Albums for the collection and display of cards became a common fixture in Victorian parlors. The immense popularity of these card photographs led to the publication and collection of photographs of prominent persons. The carte de visite was usually made of an albumen print, which was a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker paper card. The size of a carte de visite is 54.0 mm (2.125 in) × 89 mm (3.5 in) mounted on a card sized 64 mm (2.5 in) × 100 mm (4 in). In 1854, Disdéri had also patented a method of taking eight separate negatives on a single plate, which reduced production costs. The carte de visite was slow to gain widespread use until 1859, when Disdéri published Emperor Napoleon III's photos in this format. This made the format an overnight success. The new invention was so popular that its usage became known as "cardomania" and spread quickly throughout Europe and then to America and the rest of the world. By the early 1870s, cartes de visite were supplanted by "cabinet cards", which were also usually albumen prints, but larger, mounted on cardboard backs measuring 110 mm (4.5 in) by 170 mm (6.5 in). The carte de visite photograph proved to be a very popular item during the American Civil War. Soldiers, friends and family members would have a means of inexpensively obtaining photographs and sending them to loved ones in small envelopes. Photos of Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, and other celebrities of the era became instant hits in the North. People were not only buying photographs of themselves, but also collecting photographs of celebrities. Condition: Good.
Keywords: Jefferson Davis, Carte de Visit, Portrait, Photograph, President, Confederacy, Cabinet Secretary