Photography arrived in the United States in 1839 thanks to Samuel F. B. Morse, an American artist and inventor. The earliest type is the Daguerreotype. Ambrotypes followed, coming into use circa 1854. By 1860 Cartes de Visite (CDVs) were becoming popular.
Cartes de Visite
Cartes de Visite are photographs mounted on a small (4x2.5") cardboard card. They became extremely popular as a method of collecting photographs of friends and family members to place in elaborate albums. A CDV could be easily duplicated in contrast to the earlier daguerreotypes and ambrotypes.
Estimating Dates of a CDV
Early 1860s CDVs have square corners. By 1870 many had rounded corners. The thinner the cardboard backing, the earlier the Cartes de Visite. Photographers logos, found on the verso (back) of the CDV also began to change, becoming more elaborate in later years.Examples of Cartes de Visite
1877 Cartes de Visite, round corners
1872 CDV with round corners
Learn More about Cartes de Visite
Watch my video on Five Types of Early 19th Century Photographs
Read more about Cartes de Visite on my Lost Faces website