Hannibal Hamlin, I Never Knew Ye

Illustrated History of US

My minor was in history, and I admit I’ve never heard of Hannibal Hamlin, the first Republican Vice President. Or perhaps the memory of him was replaced by the cannibal Hannibal in the movie I saw my freshman year, forever cursing the name. I can promise you no one in public school will ever learn his name. But how could we be expected to know the names of the Vice Presidents? We don’t even know what they do. Neither he nor Lincoln look particularly psyched for union preservation in this poster.  A former member of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, Hamlin left the pro-slavery Democratic Party in 1856 for the newly-formed Republican Party that aligned with his anti-slavery views. He served only four years, during all but the very last month of the Civil War, and was replaced during the 1864 election by Andrew Johnson. Among other positions that followed, Hamlin returned to the Senate and served two terms, then became the US Ambassador to Spain. Que bueno!

In this picture, I think he bears a passing resemblance to another double H, Howard Hessman, aka Johnny Fever. But that’s just me.

A Visit To The Victorian

As my husband testified on stage in church last Sunday, we are cheap, cheap, cheap. I haven’t purchased a book at retail price in over a decade, maybe two. Everything I read is from Half-Price Books, and only the clearance section, from $1 to $3. That is how I came upon this:

This blue book from 1954 has been sitting on my shelf for a few years now, waiting for the perfect moment that never comes. I don’t know why I thought this topic would have interested me in the least; I’m certainly not ever going to READ it. Perhaps I thought it would have cool pictures.

It did.

Like this pseudo-Scarlet getting into crinolines in 1865.

London Stereoscopic Co.

I’ve always felt I was born too late, but this picture makes me glad I was born post-antebellum. You couldn’t even hold hands with an orangutan, much less a suitor, in that dress.

The author contends that the Victorian age ended in 1914, but all of these images were taken much earlier than that. Below is the building of “The Great Eastern,” which seems as though it’s lacking a noun, launched on 1/31/1858.

Very Victorian, no? Jackets and ties and Abe Lincoln hats, although this is a proper British book.

With proper tea-time being had.


And proper use of the sewing machine. The dress seems a bit much for such labor.

Lo and behold, lodged between the pages, I stumbled upon a receipt from 1955, a year after it was published. I found it ironic that Professor Wolff ponied up $3.64, whilst I, 65 years later, ponied up only $3.24.

Am I being cheeky, like this 1890 can-can Parisian dancer?

Perhaps I should motor on.

J.A. Koosen and H.J. Lawson in a Lutzmann, 1895

This last image is from 1860, entitled “Romance on a Stile.” FYI, a stile is an arrangement of steps that allows people to climb over a fence or wall. I don’t see that being done here. I can almost hear her saying, “No, no, Nanette,” or “No, no, Nigel,” as it were. The only British stile I’m aware of is singer Harry Styles, but that’s a horse of a different color.

And in Victorian times, there was no color. At least not in the photos.

New Hollywood “It Boy” Or Soldier Born 175 Years Ago?


SHORPY: Ca. 1863. “Unidentified soldier in Union uniform with forage cap carrying a bone handle knife in breast pocket.” Sixth-plate tintype, hand-colored. Liljenquist Family Collection of Civil War Photographs, Library of Congress.

Per wikipedia, the Civil War the M1858 forage cap, based on the French kepi, was the most common headgear worn by union troops, even though it was described by one soldier as “Shapeless as a feedbag”. What do you think? Pretty slouchy?


So often, we see pictures of Civil War soldiers, and they look creepy/eerie/stiff, nothing like a man in 2017. But this one is different. Maybe it’s the goatee or the penetrating gaze. He reminds me of someone I’ve seen. Just to put this in perspective, let’s remember that Civil War facial hair often looked more like that of Major General Alpheus Williams.


Not that this beard isn’t AMAZING. Because it is.

%d bloggers like this: