Warrensburg, Missouri Photograph Albums, ca. 1865-1880
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- The Warrensburg, Missouri photograph albums consist of two photograph albums containing 21 studio portraits, including several portraits of members of an African American family based in Warrensburg, Missouri during the 1870s.
- 21 photographs in 2 albums
- Collection processed by Claire Milldrum, 2016 and finding aid created by Jakob Dopp, April 2022
- Scope and Content:
The Warrensburg, Missouri photograph albums consist of two photograph albums containing 21 studio portraits, including several portraits of members of an African American family based in Warrensburg, Missouri during the 1870s.
Although these two albums were purchased together as a single lot from the same source, it is unclear if or how the individuals who are represented in each respective album are related. For conservation and preservation reasons, the original photographs have been removed from these albums and replaced with facsimile scan copies. The original photographs have been housed alongside the albums.
This album (10 x 12 cm) contains four cartes de visite and six tintypes, all of which are formal studio portrait photographs. The album is made of pebbled black leather covers with a leather closure and has “Album” stamped in gold on the spine. The ownership stamp of “Lon. Fickas” (likely Benjamin Alonzo Fickas) appears twice in the album. “Warrens Brug (sic) Johnson Count Mo” is inscribed on a page near the back cover.
Eight or nine African American individuals are depicted in these photographs, some of whom may be identified through inscriptions on the photograph versos and/or inscriptions made directly onto the album pages. However, it appears that these photographs may have been moved around at some point as some of the album inscriptions do not seem to match up with subjects. Several images have hand-painted details including gold jewelry.
Pg. 1 of this album contained a carte de visite portrait of an African American man bearing a verso inscription that reads “Warrens Brug (sic) Mo march 11 1875 Less Will Wis 25 years old march 1”; there is also an inscription on the album page that reads “Renie (or Remi?) Hatton.” Pg. 2 held a tintype of an African American woman wearing a light blue ribbon that was colored by hand. Pgs. 5 and 11 both contained copies of the same carte de visite portrait of an infant African American child being held in place by a hidden mother; an inscription on pg. 5 reads “Lewis ?” while an inscription on pg. 11 reads “John Butler.” Pg. 7 contained a tintype of a young African American woman that includes a paper flower scrap with printed text reading “Charity” pasted at the top of the photograph sleeve. Two locks of women’s hair were stored in the album, one between pgs. 8 and 9 and the other between pgs. 12 and 13. Pg. 9 contained a full-length tintype portrait of an African American woman that bears a verso inscription reading “John Butler Warrensburg Mo,” while an inscription on page 10 also reads “kizher? Butler Was 27 year old June 1 1876.” This inscription may possibly be referencing a woman named Kizzie Butler who was recorded as living with her husband John Butler in Warrensburg in the 1870 census and was later included in Dawes Act Rolls under “Choctaw Freedmen.” Pg. 13 contained a tintype of an African American woman seated while holding a book (likely a bible). Pg. 15 contained a half-length portrait tintype of an African American man, while pg. 16 contained a tintype of an African American woman (possibly the same woman represented in the tintype from pg. 9) seated while wearing a white dress and hat. A small loose unmounted gelatin silver print portrait of an African American girl was also present between pgs. 16 and 17.
This album (14 cm x 10 cm) contained eleven studio portrait photographs, nine of which are tintypes. The album has brown leather covers with a metal closure and has a floral motif rectangle around the word "Album" all stamped in gold on the front cover. None of the subjects represented in this album are identified, and none of these portraits appear to depict any of the individuals who are represented in Volume 1.
Most of the portraits that were housed in this album are of unidentified white men, women, and children. Also present is a group portrait tintype showing a family of possible African and/or Native American descent and a carte de visite portrait of a young African American girl taken by “Simpson 424 E Wash St.” (possibly William Simpson of Indianapolis). Also of note is a carte de visite portrait taken by J. F. Ryder of Cleveland of a white actress (possibly a burlesque dancer) leaning on a chair.
- Biographical / Historical:
Warrensburg has been the county seat of Johnson County, Missouri, since 1836. The main industries of Warrensburg in the mid to late-19th century were farming, corn cob products, and paper production. Missouri entered the Union as a slave state in 1821, and many farms in the Warrensburg area held slaves. During the Civil War, Warrensburg was occupied by the Union Army. The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands supported local education and employment efforts in Warrensburg from 1865 to 1872.
After the Civil War, many African Americans were often given or sold land as part of their changing social status. They oftentimes remained in the same areas where they had previously been enslaved; three such communities of formerly enslaved persons developed in and around Warrensburg. Mt. Olive was the largest of these communities and developed into its own village starting in 1865.
- Acquisition Information:
- Purchased from Cowan's Auctions, April 2014. F-1060.1, F-1060.2 .
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
Gress, Lucille D. An Informal History of Black Families of the Warrensburg, Missouri, Area. Warrensburg, MO: Mid-America Press, 1997.
Irle, Lisa. Warrensburg, Missouri. Chicago, IL: Arcadia, 2002.
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
African Americans--United States.
Cartes de visite.
Gelatin silver prints.
Fickas, Benjamin Alonzo, 1848-1903.
Ryder, J. F. (James Fitzallan), 1826-1904.
- Warrensburg (Mo.)
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
Warrensburg, Missouri photograph albums, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan