Please explain how we can improve this archived object.
Thanks for submitting your feedback. Our team will review it as soon as possible, and we appreciate your contribution.


Date ca. 1875-1880
Location Savannah Georgia United States
Dimensions Image (size of each image): 3 1/2 x 3 1/4 in. (8.9 x 8.3 cm)
Paper: 3 1/2 x 6 1/2 in. (8.9 x 16.5 cm)
Mount: 4 x 6 7/8 in. (10.2 x 17.5 cm)
Print medium Photo-Gelatin silver-Stereograph

In this staged scene, two boys are posing as chimney sweeps with a set of props-a painted backdrop, a chimney, a ladder, and tools-to simulate their labor. Many publishers produced lines of stereoviews that were intended as a form of humorous entertainment. Often these images relied upon explicitly staged studio scenes and elaborate costumes to create an amusing scenario. Humorous stereoviews drew upon a range of popular themes and associations, including ethnic caricatures. The depiction of boys as chimney sweeps, a type of work associated with dirt and waste, makes a particularly strong association between blacks and the most menial occupations. Like another popular commercial image showing a black child drinking ink, these images also make a visual pun on race: the image is "humorous" because the boys' black skin, already "dirty," won't look any different when covered with soot.

Credit line

Gift of Daniel Cowin, 1990

Feedback Accession No. 424.1990