Mrs. Tinkham

William H. Mumler1862 - 1875

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The Spiritualist movement was founded on the belief that the human soul exists beyond the body and that the dead could communicate with the living. This concept developed in the 1850s and gained momentum in the United States after the Civil War. Mumler claimed to be able to photograph the spirits of departed loved ones. Although his methods were never disclosed, he made ghostly images by incorporating an existing picture of the deceased into a new photograph he made of the surviving relative. His eight-year-long activity was marked by highly publicized civil court trials for fraud.

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  • Title: Mrs. Tinkham
  • Creator: William H. Mumler
  • Date: 1862 - 1875
  • Location Created: Boston, Massachusetts, United States
  • Physical Dimensions: 9.5 x 5.7 cm (3 3/4 x 2 1/4 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Albumen silver print
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Object Type: Card photograph
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: 84.XD.760.1.7
  • Markings: (Verso, card) upper center, imprinted: "MRS. TINKHAM"; center, imprinted: "Specialty/ By/ Mumler./ 170 West Springfield St./ BOSTON, MASS.";
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Photographs
  • Culture: American
  • Classification: Photographs