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Unidentified photographer (America, 19th century)
Two Children with Toys
Daguerreotype, 1/4 plate
Cleveland Museum of Art
John L. Severance Fund, 2002.32
Description (Accessed: 7 February 2019)
Children have always been particularly cherished subjects for photography. Portraits were made to preserve the memory of their stages of growth and, in an age when long-distance travel was rare, to share with faraway relatives. And, for a sadder reason: in 1840 an estimated one-third of children died before age five. Photography offered grieving parents the opportunity to immortalize their children’s features. This tragic genre of photographs, later called “post-mortems,” often depicts the children in fine clothing, laying down with eyes shut, as if merely napping.