Thursday, on Shades Of The Departed, will be dedicated to many things,
and nothing in particular.
In the recent "I Think She's Dead" series of articles (listed below) I concluded that the photograph of the young woman discussed was indeed a postmortem photograph. A new clue has emerged that could change that conclusion.
The Western Photographic News of 1875 reported that a Danbury photographer had promised to revolutionize the photography business by the introduction of a gas that would render the sitter unconscious during the taking of the photograph. The Danbury photographer issued cards announcing “Photographs in all styles taken without pain.” The article does not say where Danbury is located, but there is a Danbury, Iowa. The photograph had been taken in Dubuque, Iowa.
So does our young woman look as if she may have been rendered unconscious by gas and is feeling no pain? Or perhaps the Danbury photographer had inhaled a bit too much gas himself. What do you think?
Note: No further evidence of the use of said gas has been discovered during my research. I find the idea of the use of gas to render the sitter unconscious, highly suspect. I have posed the question to several photographic archives to see if they have heard of this revolutionary idea. I will let you know what I know, when I know.
I have also received information from the Dubuque Library and Historical Society regarding direction for research on the photographer, photographic studio, and mortuary. I thank them very much, as I am sure the people of Iowa have far more important things to do and think about. As a woman familiar with the rivers of the Midwest, I send them my prayers.