We have many photos of Josephine, from her first portrait taken in 1855-1860 to her 80th birthday in 1910, as well as most of her personal collection. John, an amateur photographer and Josephine's youngest surviving son at the time of her death, kept her collection. It is today (2012) in the care of her great-grandson John C. Benitz. It comprises an old tin-box (a cookie or candy box full of beautifully framed photos, carte de visite, cabinet cards, letters, notes, newspaper cuttings, etc.), plus two photo albums. We have organised her collection by subject, type, and year. We added photos that were missing from those provided us by John, e.g. of her Fort Ross home.
|Framed Photos, 1850-1870||Trip to California, 1898 & 1899|
|Album of CDV's, 1860-1890||Album of Misc.Photos, 1890-1910|
|Cabinet Cards, 1860-1900||Formal Photos & Portraits|
A bit of history: The “Carte de Visite” (abbreviated CdV or CDV) became enormously popular in the 1860’s and were exchanged among friends and visitors. It was a thin paper photograph mounted on a thicker card (about the size of a calling card, approx.: 6.5 x 10 cm. or 2.5 x 4 inches). In the 1870s, larger “Cabinet Cards” (approx.: 11 x 17 cm. or 4.5 x 6.5 inches) replaced CDVs. Cabinet cards remained popular into the early 20th century, until replaced by Kodak’s Brownie camera & home snapshots.
We don't know if the tin box was originally hers; however, it contains a trove of very interesting stuff. If I recall correctly, we numbered the items in the order in which we emptied the box, though we doubt there is any significance to that order. We placed the items as follows:
The great majority of Josephine’s photos are in the care of John C. Benitz. We are very grateful to John & Anne for allowing us the opportunity to copy the photographs and also for housing and feeding us while we did so. Many thanks!
© Peter Benitz (Benitz Family)