Philadelphia: W.W. Harding, 1865 (or after). Album 5 x 6 x 2.5 in. Title-page (a little foxed, verso blank), Index to portraits (2 pp.), followed by 25 thick cards creating 50 slots; all are filled, with 47 cartes-de-visite, 2 views, and one chromolithograph (a little foxed). Bound in original blue-green roan over deeply embossed carved boards, covers and spine gilt, edges dazzlingly gilt and gauffered, each board with four porcelain beads, two working catches and clasps with luxuriously wrought mounts and two porcelain beads, moire pastedowns and endpapers. Minor scuffing to binding extremities. Item #3882
SUPERB CIVIL WAR ERA PHILADELPHIA BINDING, THE GILT AND GAUFFERED EDGES GLEAM AMAZINGLY.
The assemblage of the present album may be localized to Minnesota or neighboring Wisconsin owing to the surprising inclusion of two small views by Benjamin Franklin Upton (1818-1910) of the St. Croix River, which demarks the two states. One of the images is entitled "Views of the Dells on the St. Croix River" (a stereoscopic copy, dated 1865, is at the Getty); the other is a log jam downriver from the bridge with a group of loggers posed in the foreground (two stereoscopic copies of this scene are view held by NYPL Photography Collection).
While it is not certain that the family who assembled the album are from either Minnesota or Wisconsin, it seems self-evident that the St. Croix River was of considerable significance. Was the last name of this family "Quincy"? We are perplexed by a third surprising inclusion, namely a chromolithograph of a "Quince Blossom," probably not at random. The present album is far more luxurious than Harding's more common and much more inferior "Universal Photograph Album" (1861), and ours is distinguished by its exceptional condition.