Virginia City: Sutterley and Co., 1864-1867. Albumen photograph on mount, 4 x 2 ½ inches. Item #List309
Pauline Cushman was an actress and one of the most successful spies for the Union Army. She ingratiated herself with the Confederate army by toasting Jefferson Davis after one of her performances. She was eventually caught and sentenced to death by hanging. She was spared only due to the arrival of the Union Army.
After the war she toured the country giving lectures and performances recounting her experiences as a spy. She eventually headed west, marrying in 1872 in San Francisco and eventually working a range of jobs in Arizona Territory, Texas, and eventually back in San Francisco, where she died in 1893 at age 60 from a morphine overdose.
We find no record of this portrait, which was taken by the Sutterley brothers, James and Clement, in their Virginia City, Nevada studio somewhere between 1864 and 1867. The Sutterleys operated out of their studio on the Union block of Virginia City for five years before dissolving their partnership in 1867. It is likely that the portrait was taken during one of Cushman’s tours throughout the region during these years.
A beautifully preserved example in very good condition with a small chip to upper margin and some fading. Though Cushman ostensibly would have sold cartes-de-visite in support of her touring, few survive on the market today.