Monday, October 09, 2006

Historic cats (and dogs, and other companions)

Via metafilter, a wonderful website: Pets in America.

I've just begun to browse, but so far my favorite item is the photo album of cats, with images dating back to the late nineteenth century. I just love the idea that, even when the technology was new, people were using it to create keepsakes of their companion animals. In some cases, the images record cats with a particular claim to fame, like extra toes. Or, in this case, extra weight:

The handwriting along the bottom reads:
"Tiger Summers, Weighs 18 pounds 3 oz."

From W.A. Judson, photographer - New Britain, Connecticut
Carte-de-visite, 1865-1870

I love the way the cat is posed in a chair, apparently to provide the sense of heft (look how he fills out that chair!). But must be a child's chair.

More delights await you. Check it out.


Zil said...

Do you know the work of Teresa Mangum? She is a Victorianist but also deeply involved in studies of animal/human relations both now and in Victorian yesteryear. Most recently I saw her give a paper on poems that Victorians wrote mourning the death of their pets. I'm trying to keep my human animal from throwing a barrage of balls at my feline animal, otherwise I'd post links.

Donna said...

I don't, but sounds like something I should know. Maybe I can get some links from you another time. Or I suppose I could probably do a little search of my own, huh?

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