Item #7580 The Clothes (Close) of the Confed’racy.

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The Clothes (Close) of the Confed’racy.

[1865]. Carte-de-visite of a drawing, 3.5” x 2.3”, plus margins. “15” inscribed in ink in the lower-right margin. CONDITION: Very good, strong tonality, one minor abrasion at lower-middle along margin, trimmed along upper margin.

This photo cartoon shows Jefferson Davis in his last moments as President of the Confederate States of America. Wearing a dress, bonnet and spur-heeled boots, Davis holds a dagger in one hand and the voluminous folds of his dress in the other as he attempts to make a run for it.

On the morning of May 10th, 1865, Federal cavalrymen apprehended a small group of Confederates, including Davis and his wife, camped near Irwinville, Georgia. Amid the confusion, Davis attempted to steal away unrecognized—but not before his wife hurriedly threw her shawl and raincoat over his shoulders to protect him from the morning chill. Davis’s arrest “well-dressed” added insult to injury in the wake of the South’s defeat—a fact commented on in this image’s punning title. Though Davis would maintain that he was unaware of having donned his wife’s clothing, the more entertaining version—quickly capitalized on by Northern newspapers, magazines, photographers, and print publishers—was that the Confederate president had attempted to avoid capture by dressing up as a woman.

Unsurprisingly, the incident was a boon for political cartoonists who began producing scores of cartoons depicting Davis as a bearded Southern belle, wearing a dress and bonnet. In the wake of Davis’s arrest, P. T. Barnum announced that he would pay $500 for Davis’s dress, and “Jeff in Petticoats” soon became a popular post-war song in the North. As one historian noted, “The North’s treatment of Jefferson Davis symbolized the humiliation being inflicted upon the South.”

No copies recorded in OCLC.

REFERENCES: Manseau, Peter. “Jefferson Davis on Fire” at New York Times online.

Item #7580

Price: $275.00

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