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Kimberly Powell

Dating a Cabinet Card

By May 30, 2012

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Cabinet Card - Charity Powell, Cheltenham, EnglandCabinet cards, popular in the late 1800s, are easy to recognize because they are mounted on cardstock, often with an imprint of the photographer and location just below the photo. There are similiar card-type photographs, such as the smaller carte-de-visite which was introduced in the 1850s, but if your old photo is about 4x6 in size then chances are it is a cabinet card.

Most of us have one of these cabinet cards in our collection of old ancestral photos, which tells us it was most likely taken between about 1870 and 1900. But you can also further narrow down the time when the photo was taken. Learn how to identify the popular cabinet card, and how to use clues such as cardstock weight and color, and the type of border, to narrow down the time period when the photo was printed.

May 30, 2012 at 1:50 pm
(1) Helena Björk says:

In sweden there is a website for cabinet cards (“Porträttfynd”). At this moment there are more than 100.000 picts, mostly from Sweden but also from other countries.

Link for Norway cabinet cards:

Link to all other cabinet cards

May 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm
(2) Sunish Sebastian says:

I found this blog from Geneabloggers and found this very interesting. First of all, I didnt know that about.com has a genealogy section. At the moment, I am working on the genealogy of my fathers side in India, but I found this picture very interesting.

In my wife’s collection she has a similar picture of her great grandmother almost in this fashion. My wife’s grand mother is Dutch-German origin and migrated to PA somewhere in the early 1800′s. But, I don’t remember seeing any imprint on it. Moonnanappallil Family

May 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm
(3) Scoop Murphy says:

Thanks for the insight. Grandmother’s album held many of these. One was the link which connected me to cousins in Wales. I wrote to the address on it as well as two others from OLD census reports and received an answer in 2 weeks. The photo was taken in Wales and it was the size you stated. Perhaps they still had older equipment they were using as the photo was taken in the 1920s. Thankfully the baby in the photo is a man in his early 80s now. Last summer I was fortunate enough to visit and fell in love with my extended family there. But, that photo was the link confirming our connection as he had one that matched it exactly. What a love story!

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