Wartime Photos of Jefferson Davis.

Robert Gray

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Unlike Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis sat only once for a photographic portrait during his tenure as President of the Confederate States. At some time during the summer of 1861 he visited the gallery of Minnis & Cowell in Richmond and had two photographs taken. The more widely produced of the two, with the straightened tie, appeared on a Confederate $50 note issued on September 2, 1861 and a proposed $100 Missouri Defense Bond.

Photo credit: Military Images Magazine
John O'Brien Collection

Image 1.jpg
Image 2.jpg
T-16 2nd Series.jpg
Mo $100 186_.JPG
 

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Robert E Lee 1

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Must be hot wearing those types of clothing especially before we had air conditioning . I'm a reenactor and at my first battle after it was over my shirt under my jacket was soaked with sweat and smelled crazy like smoke it even had a bit of the smell after I washed it.
 

JPK Huson 1863

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What's so funny is his clothing moved and he didn't. You can generally pick out some small difference in someone's pose- angle, facial expression, small smile, shift to the eyes when there's a series from the same sitting. These two are exactly the same. You wonder who said " Hang on, your tie is crooked ", then fixed it without Davis relaxing one iota.
 

ucvrelics

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President Jefferson Davis was here in Demopolis in March 1864 and reviewed the troops here. I have been looking for a photo of his visit here. All the CW diaries make reference to his visit.

Mar. 25th. Battery and Brigade still in camp at Demopolis, Gen. Johnston, Polk and other officers high in rank, reviewed us, and all the troops at this place. It was a fine day and many citizens were out, my girl also. Had a royal lunch with her and family. Everything went off nicely, and the troops looked fine. The Missourians received much praise. Presidant Davis, in passing through the city reviewed the Brig. and Battery, and made a short address while sitting on his horse, to the Missourians, complimenting them highly on their wonderful record, and said, "If I had fifty thousand such men, I would conquer a peace in thirty days." We believe it could be done, if they were placed under the command of Old Pap.
 

John S. Carter

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Wonder if you could have these photos colorized as they are doing with old pictures ? It would be interesting to see Davis in highlight color as they have done to Lincoln.
 

rebracer

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I learned something new with this as I had never seen these. This will now replace the youthful image of Davis during the war I have always had in my head.
 

Polloco

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I have one of those $50.00 bills. I feel it's one of the better ones in my very small collection. I often wondered about the origin of that picture of Davis. The coat in that second photo , the crooked tie, had to be a studio prop with those "big sleeves". Now, The bust-like depiction of Davis on the 50 cent bill or the postage stamps, what's the storys behind those?
 

James N.

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Unlike Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis sat only once for a photographic portrait during his tenure as President of the Confederate States. At some time during the summer of 1861 he visited the gallery of Minnis & Cowell in Richmond and had two photographs taken. The more widely produced of the two, with the straightened tie, appeared on a Confederate $50 note issued on September 2, 1861 and a proposed $100 Missouri Defense Bond.

Photo credit: Military Images Magazine
John O'Brien Collection

View attachment 319471View attachment 319472View attachment 319473View attachment 319474
You've disappointed me - now many years ago (possibly in Military Images Magazine) I read one of those wonderful stories about a man who allegedly bought an original photograph (I don't remember if it was an albumen print or ambrotype) in an antique shop of a man in a dress suit and later sold it to the Smithsonian for $25,000; it was Davis' Inaugural photo. Ever since, I've hoped to actually SEE this picture, if it indeed even exists, but have thus far failed. I wonder if this was a TRUE story, or just one of those too-good-to-be-true collector tales?
 

James N.

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What's so funny is his clothing moved and he didn't. You can generally pick out some small difference in someone's pose- angle, facial expression, small smile, shift to the eyes when there's a series from the same sitting. These two are exactly the same. You wonder who said " Hang on, your tie is crooked ", then fixed it without Davis relaxing one iota.
Actually, they're not - look closely at Davis' EYES; his neuralgia which essentially rendered him blind in one is pretty apparent in the *new* photo. I think his right eye looks lifeless and staring, whereas the left one seems to be focused on something; however, I don't remember which was the bad eye and it could be the other way around.
 

James N.

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President Jefferson Davis was here in Demopolis in March 1864 and reviewed the troops here. I have been looking for a photo of his visit here. All the CW diaries make reference to his visit...
One likely trouble is that by March, 1864 photographic supplies had largely disappeared throughout the South due to the Blockade.
 

Robert Gray

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You've disappointed me - now many years ago (possibly in Military Images Magazine) I read one of those wonderful stories about a man who allegedly bought an original photograph (I don't remember if it was an albumen print or ambrotype) in an antique shop of a man in a dress suit and later sold it to the Smithsonian for $25,000; it was Davis' Inaugural photo. Ever since, I've hoped to actually SEE this picture, if it indeed even exists, but have thus far failed. I wonder if this was a TRUE story, or just one of those too-good-to-be-true collector tales?
This is the only photograph of Jefferson Davis's inauguration that I know of.
61038014_10156030038717133_9164352168231174144_n.jpg
 

Polloco

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You've disappointed me - now many years ago (possibly in Military Images Magazine) I read one of those wonderful stories about a man who allegedly bought an original photograph (I don't remember if it was an albumen print or ambrotype) in an antique shop of a man in a dress suit and later sold it to the Smithsonian for $25,000; it was Davis' Inaugural photo. Ever since, I've hoped to actually SEE this picture, if it indeed even exists, but have thus far failed. I wonder if this was a TRUE story, or just one of those too-good-to-be-true collector tales?
I'm not saying it's not a true story. I really couldn't say, no museum ever wanted anything of mine. But I was under the impression that museums don't buy, they take donations.
 

James N.

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I have read that one of the reasons people did not smile in photos is because of dental issues ,either as with Washington with no teeth or bad false teeth ,Then the dental profession was not that good ,therefore, we see no pictures of smiles.Is this correct
No - having your likeness taken was considered serious business, so smiling is rare but not unknown. Also, exposure times took several seconds and it was harder to hold a cheesy grin without moving than it was to merely sit still.

Edit: I'll also add that the photo of the Davises above has been purposely edited or altered for some reason to give her a Negroid appearance - this has previously been pointed out by I believe @JPK Huson 1863 or one of the other ladies here in another thread.
 

WJC

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I have read that one of the reasons people did not smile in photos is because of dental issues ,either as with Washington with no teeth or bad false teeth ,Then the dental profession was not that good ,therefore, we see no pictures of smiles.Is this correct
Thanks for your response.
I believe that is a fair assessment for many 'unsmiling' photos, even today.
 


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