These photos date all the way back to the 1860s. These finds are from the McCord Museum, and are both fascinating historical documents of society as well as being articles of amusement, with funny expressions on the children, backdrops, and the toys being posed with!
Baby dolls are what most of the girls in this collection are posing with. One can imagine the attachment these children have to their toys. They were likely imagined, by parents and all around them, with their toys in hand and thus, when it came time to take their children’s portrait they’d have them pose with what they’d naturally be hanging on to anyways.
What’s unnatural, one might argue, are the grown-up style clothes the kids are wearing as well as the strike-a-pose stances they are displaying, none the wiser. For instance the young boy resting on the hula-hoop, with his hand on his hip, and one foot in front of the other, is very calculated and reflective of the typical poses by men of the day.
The above photos were taken by the William Notman studio in Montreal, Canada.
We recommend checking out McCord Museum on Flickr as they have a ton of old thematic photos!