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 With cameras continuing to improve--and the invention of the negative/positive photo paper process--large display prints called "cabinet cards" became extremely popular beginning in the mid 1870s, effectively supplanting tintypes as the dominant portrait medium.   Such prints could be produced in almost any size, and they  were proudly displayed in wrought-silver frames on fireplace mantles or in the front parlors where guests were received. 

Around the same time, palm-sized photographs known as “carte de visites” became all the rage as personal calling cards.  Each little picture cost only a few pennies, and they could be printed by the dozen.  Because pets were part and parcel to many people's public persona, animals frequently took the spotlight on these cards, and  in some instances they supplanted  their owners entirely.

These cards were traded and kept for posterity in the first bound picture albums, along with ribbons, pressed flowers and other mementos, marking the beginning of a "scrapbooking" trend that continues to this day.

top: American cabinet card, ca.1887

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