Unidentified Photographs from the collection of the Greenbrier Historical Society, Inc.

Greenbrier Historical Society Archives, North House MuseumWill Givens

A popular feature in the Society's quarterly Appalachian Springs is the Do You Know Me? photograph, usually a 19th century photograph in the Society Archives. Recently a small collection of 20 tintypes were received and all but three were unidentified, many having been removed from either their paper mattes or from albums. We thought we'd ask for help from anyone out there who might recognize a long lost relative. If you think you know any of the ladies and gentlemen, please contact us at photo@greenbrierhistorical.org . Each of the smaller photographs below is linked to a larger image that is easier to view. Select the group of photographs you would like to view by clicking on one of the three categories below:


A Note About Tintypes and Photograph Care & Identification:

Tintypes have been around since they were patented in 1856 by Hamilton Smith. They are actually not made of tin, but of iron with a coat of black varnish to protect the image. Another name for them is ferrotype. Tintypes were a common and inexpensive method of photography and were usually two and one-half inches by three and one-half inches in size.

Tintypes can be easily damaged by improper care or handling. If you have a family photograph that is a tintype, be care not to bend or scratch it as the varnish will crack and moisture will then begin to destroy the photograph. Don't try to clean it. If you have a tintype or photograph that needs attention or is damaged, go to a professional photograph conservator. If you would like more information on the care and identification of photographs, two books we recommend are James M. Reilly's Care and Identification of 19th Century Photographic Prints and Eastman Kodak's Conservation of Photographs, both published by Kodak.