James P. Ball CDVs of Union Officers

Lot of 2 CDV portraits of Union officers taken by African American photographer James P. Ball (1825-1904). 

CDV half-portrait of an unidentified Union field-grade officer, possibly a major. Ball & Thomas: Cincinnati, Ohio, n.d., ca 1860. He is pictured with a full beard and wearing his double-breasted uniform coat. 120 W. 4th St. imprint and 3 cent stamp on verso. 

CDV full portrait of an unidentified Union junior officer. J.P. Ball: Cincinnati, Ohio, n.d., 1862-1868. With white hair and full beard, the officer stands with his hand resting on a column plinth wearing his long single-breasted uniform coat. Embossed 30 W. 4th St. imprint on recto below image. 

James Presley Ball is one of the most renowned African American photographers at one point owning the largest photographic gallery west of the Appalachians. When visiting White Sulphur Springs, Virginia in 1845 he met John B. Bailey, an African American daguerreotypist from Boston where he acquired the passion and skill of photography. He opened a studio in Cincinnati later that year, and though it was unsuccessful, he continued his art with studios in Pittsburgh and Richmond and traveled as an itinerant daguerreotypist. In 1849, he reopened a studio in Cincinnati. He hired his younger brother Thomas Ball to work as an operator, and in 1852 hired his future brother-in-law Alexander Thomas to work with him. By 1857, their gallery was one of the grandest in the United States attracting notables including Frederick Douglass. He was chosen in 1887 as the official photographer of a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation held in Minneapolis-St.Paul. In 1888, he moved to Helena, Montana with his son where he operated a studio for several years before moving again in 1892 to Seattle. 


Half-portrait upper card corners clipped, light damage to upper right corner. Minor spotting. 

Full-length portrait, very minor spotting, else fine. 

Estimate: $200 - $300
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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