The Emperor's Bridge Campaign

TO HONOR THE LIFE + ADVANCE THE LEGACY OF EMPEROR NORTON

RESEARCH • EDUCATION • ADVOCACY

Emperor Norton in Profile, c.1878

For all the hundreds of times that we've done a Google image search on "Emperor Norton" here at The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, the Internet still has gifts and surprises for us.

Yesterday, it was the following rarely seen image of a "cabinet card" of the Emperor dated c.1878 and credited to the studio of Bradley & Rulofson, which took many of the most famous photographs of Emperor Norton.

We'd never seen this one.

 

Cabinet card of Emperor Norton, c.1878, by Bradley & Rulofson. Collection of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.  

Cabinet card of Emperor Norton, c.1878, by Bradley & Rulofson. Collection of The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.  

 

Notice that, in addition to the Emperor's having no headgear in this photograph, he has several of his jacket buttons loosened; he appears to be wearing a boutonnière of some kind (as he often did); and his outsized epaulettes are hanging a little to the back. He also is carrying his favorite walking stick, the Serpent Scepter given to him by some of his loyal subjects in Portand, Oregon.

All of which suggests that the photo above was taken during the same sitting as the one to the right. 

Perhaps more than in any other photograph of Emperor Norton, one gets a stronger sense, in the close-up profile view, of the Emperor's look, his body and the serenity and regality of his bearing.

 

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