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Card Mounted Photograph Collection

 Collection — external hard drive: DIG_00012
Identifier: P025

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of various types of cartes-de-visites and cabinet card photographs ,which were popular in the 19th and early 20th century.


  • Creation: 1883-1889

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Use

There are no known restrictions, all images are in the Public Domain.

Biographical / Historical

The carte-de-visite was a type of small photograph which was patented in Paris by photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854. Each photograph was the size of a visiting card, approximately 2 ¼ x 3 ½ inch,and such photograph cards were commonly traded among friends and visitors in the 1860s. The photograph was usually made of an albumen print, a thin paper photograph, mounted on a thicker paper card. By the early 1870s, cartes-de-visite fell out of popularity and were supplanted by the cabinet card. These were also usually albumen prints, but larger, mounted on cardboard backs measuring 4 ½ x 6 ½ inch. Cabinet cards remained popular into the early 20th century.


1 Boxes

0.25 Linear feet


Processed at item level, without series.

Custodial History

The initial images for this collection were transferred from the division’s Washington DC Historic Image Collection in 2006. There is no deed of gift and it is uncertain as to how the library acquired the majority of these photographs. A few images do note donor on the rear of the image. Subsequent additions to the collection were made by a variety of donors.

Processing Information

All images were originally housed with the Washington D.C. Historic Image Collection (HIC). During preservation work on that collection it was decided to transfer these images to the Archives for long-term storage and preservation. Those images from the HIC often had a copy negative created for each image, and a sticker containing the negative number was then affixed to the image. The stickers will remain attached because their removal might cause irreversible damage to the image. The images are arranged alphabetically. 29 of the images contained a note stating they came from the “Evans Collection.” Through some research it was determined that the Evans Collection came to the library in November 1929 in conjunction with four National Rifle scrapbooks. Since all of these men were in uniform and most likely members of the National Rifles and originally donated together as one collection it was decided that the images should be returned to the National Rifle Collection, DC Community Archives Collection 051.

Card Mounted Photographs
An inventory of Card Mounted Photograph Collection at DC Public Library
Finding aid prepared by Mark S. Greek.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The People's Archive, Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library Repository

901 G Street NW
4th Floor East
Washington DC 20001