Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mystery portrait taken in Littlestown, Pennsylvania

This old portrait, about the size of a baseball card, has a huge crease in the middle and won't lay flat. So I had to photograph it, rather than scan it.

Any guesses on this person's sex? At first, I thought it was a man. But the style of the collar has me doubting myself and now thinking it might be a woman. Definitely hoping for others to weigh in.

There is no information on the back other than the name and location of the photographer — H.T. Slaughenhaupt of Littlestown, Pennsylvania (about 10 miles southeast of Gettysburg). We actually have biographical information for Slaughenhaupt, as he was profiled in 1886's History of Cumberland and Adams Counties, Pennsylvania. Here's the full excerpt:
"H. T. SLAUGHENHAUPT, photographer, Littlestown, was born April 17, 1846, in Taneytown District, Carroll Co., Md., and is of German extraction. His grandfather, Jacob Slaughenhaupt, was a chair-maker near Taneytown, Md., and there died at a ripe old age; his wife, who was a Miss Newcomer, died there also. They were parents of the following children: Samuel, Catharine, Anna, Barbara, Susan and Margaret. Of these Samuel, who was born near Taneytown, Md., died August 18, 1881, at Harney, Md., aged seventy-five; he was a shoe-maker in early life, but farmed the last thirty-five years. He married Mary A. DeHoff, a daughter of Peter DeHoff, who was a captain in the war of 1812, and is the mother of ten children now living: Ellen C., Emily J., James D., Maranda R., Sarah A., Samuel D., Mary E., Henry T., Albert L. and John William. Of these Henry T. was educated in the common schools, and at the Eagleton Institute. His early life was spent of the farm. At the age of twenty-two he learned photographing, which he has since followed. In February, 1875, he moved to Littlestown, this county, and has been here ever since. Mr. Slaughenhaupt was united in marriage, October 12, 1875, with Miss Mary E., daughter of Rev. Louis A. Wickey, who was a son of Dr. Louis Wickey, a native of Switzerland, who gained considerable celebrity during the cholera epidemic in early years, having possessed the only remedy, which was effectually used against the disease in Washington County, Md., and York County, Penn. This medicine is now made by H.T. Slaughenhaupt after the original formula. To Mr. Slaughenhaupt were born two children: Beulah E. and Louis Trueman. Mr. and Mrs. Slaughenhaupt are members of the United Brethren Church. He is a prohibitionist and an independent voter. For some years he has been a correspondent for a number of newspapers."
I also found a neat advertisement for Slaughenhaupt's photography business, touting "twelve beautiful gem pictures for $1.00."

None of this, of course, helps us at all with the subject of this mystery photograph. Here's a closer look...

Other Littlestown-related posts


  1. I think it's a woman with white hair and a fancy black cap.

  2. I have an early photo of my great-great grandmother taken by the same photographer. Interestingly, the photo looks like it could be of the same woman, only mine would have been taken when she was a bit younger. I would be interested in comparing our pictures and getting your opinion. Todd Z.