Sunday, October 5, 2014

Material Culture Minute: Kittens

While plowing through a new stock of photos at one of our favorite antique malls, Tyler and I came across this stunning tintype portrait of a girl and her kitten.

Tintype of girl and kitten, late nineteenth century (Nicole Belolan's Collection)

The girl looks self-assured and protective of her little charge. What better way to gain some responsibility as a child--not to mention companionship--than to care for another life? Having just recently cared for a starving mother cat and her four kittens, we immediately connected with this image.

Our "Momma Cat" and her little ones are healthy and happy now. They are living at homes of friends and friends of friends (we were't permitted to keep them where we live). And we hope their new owners are as smitten with them as we were--just as this girl seems to have been too.

"Momma Cat" (later known as Desire and now a third name!) and me

Further Reading

For more blogging about the material culture of pet keeping, check out Katherine C. Grier's blog here. She also wrote a book on the subject: Pets in America: A History (2006). Lots of the material for that book (and now the blog) are part of her own collection. 

1 comment:

  1. This is such a wonderful portrait. It has a kind of immediacy that is often missing from portraits of the period.