Tintype, c. 1880s

The fashionable young ladies shown in this recently donated photograph were residents of Oxford Township and the surrounding area. Although the photograph is undated, the women’s hair styles, dresses, and accessories are all clues that the photograph was taken in the late 1880s.

This image was captured using the “tintype” process, which rose in popularity in the 1860s. Using this process, the photographer develops a picture on a thin sheet of lacquered iron, which quickly produces a one-of-a-kind image. By the time these young women’s picture was taken, printed “albumen” photographs had become a much more common format. Tintypes, however, remained a popular novelty into the early 1900s. This example is quite large compared to most nineteenth century tintypes, measuring 5 × 7 inches.

In the front row, from left to right: Martha McCleary Linebarger, Susan Whittington Yenter, Mila McCleary Swindler, and Maggie O’Brien. In the back row from left to right: Zelma Ford Cotter, an unidentified girl, and Jennie Whittington Wilson.

To learn more about JCHS’s collections, or to find out how to make a donation, please email rebecca@johnsoncountyhistory.org or visit our Collection Donation page.