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Circus Performers Dressed as Afghan Warriors

Charles Eisenmann, American

Creation date: Late 1870s

Other Information

Type: Photographic prints
Medium and Support: Albumen print
Credit Line: Museum purchase from the Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Barbara Timmer Collection with funds provided by the Beatrice Lynds Bequest
Accession Number: 2010.180
Dimensions: 5 5/8 in. x 3 3/16 in. (14.29 cm x 8.1 cm)
Currently on view

Label Copy

March 2023
Mountain, Meadow, Citadel
From the 1860s, cabinet cards and cartes de visite, or photographic portrait cards on thick cardstock, were produced on a mass scale in the United States and Europe. This cabinet card was created by Charles Eisenmann, who specialized in photographs of circus sideshow and dime museum performers in New York City in the 1880s–90s. The card describes the men as Afghan Warriors, although they were most likely circus performers, dressed to play an ethnic type for popular consumption. Like the costume albums of the early nineteenth century, cabinet cards were often a means of classifying people into racial, social, or mentally defective “types,” creating and reaffirming stereotypes and prejudice. 
Last Updated: 3/21/2023

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