Original carte de visite (CDV) capturing former Major League pitcher, infielder, and outfielder Jack Manning. Produced by the renowned Warren Studio of Boston. We have never seen another example of this CDV of Manning, a player for whom very few original portrait photos exist, and it may be unique. However, the same image was used on an 1873 Red Stockings team-composite cabinet (equally rare), which almost certainly dates the CDV to that year.
1873 marked Manning's first season of professional baseball. At the age of nineteen, he was the youngest player on the Boston Red Stockings, where he served as the backup first baseman. Manning left Boston to play with both Baltimore and Hartford in 1874, but returned to Boston in 1875 and 1876. In his return to Boston he increased his value to the team by not only playing the outfield on a regular basis, but becoming an accomplished pitcher, winning 16 and 18 games respectively during those two seasons. For reasons unknown, he saw little mound action after the 1876 season, but played outfield for several National League clubs and Baltimore of the American Association before retiring in 1888.
This CDV originates from an extraordinary unprecedented find of early baseball photographs recently discovered in a nineteenth-century photo album, all of which are offered in this auction. Included in the album were team-composite CDVs for seven of the nine founding members of the 1871 National Association, baseball's first professional league, plus individual portrait images of many of the game's earliest stars. Original baseball photos dating from the 1870s are exceedingly rare and for many of the players represented in this collection their offered CDV is not only the first such example we have handled, but in many cases, the only one we have ever seen.
All the CDVs in the collection have been slightly trimmed by the original owner so that they could fit properly within the predesigned album sleeves (a common practice at the time). However, for most, the trim affects the mount only and the photos remain in outstanding condition overall. While the history of the album is unknown (our consignor purchased it from an antique dealer), since nearly all the photos found in the album are of ball clubs or ballplayers from the early 1870s, it most likely belonged to a former player or perhaps a National Association team executive.
A "Warren's" credit stamp appears on the reverse that includes the studio's address ("289 Washington Street, Boston, Mass.") and the notice "Under the Supervision of Mr. S. B. Heald." Based upon that information, this CDV was produced between the years 1872 and 1874 (the studio moved to 289 Washington Street in 1872 and Heald left the company in 1874). As previously noted, the CDV (2.5x4 inches) has been slightly trimmed to its current dimensions. Encapsulated and certified "Authentic" by SGC.