Said to be an army hospital nurse, this post mortem (death portrait) photograph shows a woman holding a book, possibly a small bible or testament. The revenue stamp on the back dates this image to 1864. Annapolis was the site of one of the largest Union Army Hospitals during the Civil War and at least 6 female nurses died of diseases caught while tending patients there. Four of them died in 1863 and two died in early 1865. The 1864 stamp on this image places it between those two time…
This woman has her lips sewn shut. Before their burial, the deceased would be photographed in their best clothes and 'posing' (propped up) with their living relatives. In some instances, eyes were painted onto the closed eyelids of the deceased to make them appear alive. In Victorian times when photographs were rare, this might be the only photo the family had of their dearly departed.
Here is the story: Dead children tied to a tree, Village of Kobzowa (powiat of Tarnopol), 1923. Four killed Roma children tied to tree by their mentally ill mother after her husband was arrested and her Roma group dissolved. The murder took place in night of 11/12 December 1923.
It's rare to see a coloured person in a post mortem photograph but a somewhat welcomed sight when one can be found. In this one, you can see a small child - possibly a boy - and possibly a parent's hand reaching out over him.