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Victorian Studio Portrait Photograph Collection

Identifier: MS-0033

Scope and Contents

Photos in UMKC Digital Special Collections

The collection comprises 229 Victorian and vintage original photographic prints dating from the mid 19th Century to the early 20th Century. Formats include Cartes-de-Visite, Cabinet Cards and Tintype. The bulk of the collection represents studios in Missouri and Kansas, while the remaining span throughout the United States with a few in Europe. Within the Missouri studios, the majority represent Kansas City photographers.

Subject matter is primarily portraiture. Of the men, women and children, only a scant number of images identify the sitter; still, they are an excellent depiction of the fashion and style of the times and well worth study. Studios of the period constructed elaborate stage sets, and clearly posed subjects were often photographed alongside extravagant backdrops and props. Artificial fences, gates and doorways, usually made of papier mache or cardboard, became standard studio equipment in the 1870s. Many photographers maintained a large selection of costume jewelry, necklaces, large Christian crosses, combs and half-crowns to adorn female subjects. Men were most often captured in modest settings, wearing dark clothing. The children in this collection are dressed primarily in bright clothing, posed in domestic settings.


  • 1850s - 1930s

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status is unknown


0.8 Linear Feet (LaBudde: 4 binders.)

Language of Materials


LaBudde: Unknown.
LaBudde: Unknown.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Special Collections and Archives Repository