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Dating Cabinet Cards by Gary Saretzky

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This talk addresses one of the major types of 19th and early 20th century photographs, the cabinet card. Old portrait photographs are often found without a date but dates can be estimated fairly precisely based on the type of photographic print; sitter’s identity and clothing; physical characteristics of the photo, including mounting styles and mount thickness; photographer; and other factors. Methods used for dating will be covered, including how to use a micrometer to measure mounting board thickness. About 200 cabinet cards will be presented in chronological order from the 1860s to about 1940 to help attendees learn how the look of such images and their mounts evolved. Gary D. Saretzky, Archivist, Educator, and Photographer, recently retired after more than 50 years working as an archivist, most recently as the Monmouth County Archivist (1994-2019). He taught the history of photography as an adjunct professor for 34 years at Mercer County Community College and is the author of more than 100 articles and reviews on the history of photography and photographic conservation. From 1994 to 2016, he also coordinated the Public History Internship Program for the Rutgers University History Department. Saretzky’s list of more than 3,000 19th century New Jersey photographers is available at, which also includes his lecture schedule, online photo book store, samples of his photographs, and other history of photography resources. Presented on July 31, 2021.

The Dagguerreian Society

The Daguerreian Society
PO Box #306
Cecil, PA 15321-0306
Phone: 412-221-0306
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