My talk last evening at the Rockland Civil War Round Table in Pearl River, N.Y., unfolded differently than any others in recent memory. Early on during my presentation, “Cardomania! The Rise and Fall of the Carte de Visite in Civil War America,” one of the members asked a question. Typically, questions come at the end of the lecture, but this is not a hard and fast rule with me. So I rolled with it and answered the question. More questions came as I continued the talk, and what normally is a 45-minute presentation lasted about double the time. I enjoyed the format change!
My visit would not have been possible without all of the fine folks in this group, especially Paul R. Martin III, who heads up the organization. A high school art and photography teacher, and an accomplished artist in his own right, Paul was a great master of ceremonies and host.
A big thanks to all who participated. And thanks for the treasure trove of gifts, picture here.
My lecture about Civil War portrait photography includes an epilogue that traces these photos from the time they were in the hands of the veterans who originally sat for them to today. A key point during this timeline, from the late 1950s through the 1970s, includes the pioneer collectors who emerged as caretakers of these precious images.
Last night during my appearance at the North Shore Civil War Roundtable in Huntington, Long Island, N.Y., I was delighted to have in attendance two of those early collectors—Scott Valentine and Dom Serrano. Both have contributed to Military Images magazine. It was a special moment for me to be able to call them out during the talk! Later, I discovered another early collector in the crowd, Bill Finlayson, a descendant of Medal of Honor recipient John James Toffey of the 33rd New Jersey Infantry. (I profiled Toffey in the New York Times Disunion series.)
I had the pleasure to meet many others, including Ed Callahan and Jeff Richmond. A big thanks to them and all who attended—and especially Dom for making this event happen.