A Signed CDV of Robert E. Lee in His Confederate General’s Uniform, Taken By Richmond Photographer Vannerson & Jones in 1864

Signed CDVs of Lee in uniform have become quite scarce, this being just the fourth that we have carried

Robert E. Lee was an international celebrity during and after the Civil War. And like celebrities in every time, Lee’s picture became a collectible. Small carte-de-visite photographs were produced, in the South and the North, and sold as souvenirs. Many of the ones in the North were based on photographs taken from...

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A Signed CDV of Robert E. Lee in His Confederate General’s Uniform, Taken By Richmond Photographer Vannerson & Jones in 1864

Signed CDVs of Lee in uniform have become quite scarce, this being just the fourth that we have carried

Robert E. Lee was an international celebrity during and after the Civil War. And like celebrities in every time, Lee’s picture became a collectible. Small carte-de-visite photographs were produced, in the South and the North, and sold as souvenirs. Many of the ones in the North were based on photographs taken from life by Mathew Brady. In the South, Lee was not merely a celebrity but a revered hero, and there was a great demand for photographs of him. He sat for photographers in Richmond taken by noted Confederate-era photographers, most notably for Minnis & Cowell in 1862, and John W. Davies and Julian Vannerson (of Vannerson and Jones), both in 1864.

A CDV of Lee in uniform, taken in 1864, signed “R.E. Lee.” On the verso appears the imprinted backstamp of Vannerson & Jones, Richmond, Va. There is also a statement that the photo was presented in 1865, indicating that it was signed either in 1864 or 1865. Signed CDVs of Lee in uniform have become quite scarce, this being just the fourth that we have carried.

After the war Vannerson sold out to Davies, who by May 1868 changed the name of his firm to the Lee Gallery – which gives us an inkling of how popular Lee was at that time. As for Lee himself, by 1866 he was signing photographs picturing him in civilian clothes.

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