Hardcover. Approximately 4.5" x 6". Full embossed morocco stamped in gilt ("The Photographic Album"), with elaborate metal strap hinges and clasps. Undated, circa 1870. The album contains 28 albumen carte-de-visite photographs (one loosely inserted), six tintypes (five loosely inserted), and one small trimmed photograph, for a total of 35 images. Some rubbing and modest wear on the binding, the three-ply album leaves have been neatly and partially opened to facilitate the removal of the photographs, overall very good. A 19th Century photo album with significant evidence of ownership or at least a strong connection to the matrilineal line of Barack H. Obama.
The album depicts Victorian-era relatives of the President's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, born in Wichita in 1942. One of Obama's relatives, identified as "Anna Wolfl[e]y," is depicted in a CDV with an Olathe, Kansas backmark. Anna Wolfley was Obama's Great-Great-Great Aunt, the daughter of Robert and Rachel Abbott Wolfley of Olathe, the President's Great-Great-Great Grandparents. The picture of Anna Wolfley is strikingly reminiscent of the current President and could possibly indicate some Native American ancestry as well.
Another CDV, of a young "E.E. Preston" is presented "To Mrs. Adah Abbott," the President's Great-Great-Great-Great Grandmother (probably E[lmer] E. Preston, the grandson of Adah Abbott). Other photographs bear backmarks from Preston and Garnett, both in Kansas. Additionally, several of the photographs bear backmarks from both Delaware County and Licking County in Ohio, both locations where Obama's heartland ancestors settled. Other Ohio backmarks include Circleville and Marion. A couple of the other photographs are identified, but more scholarship would be required to identify most within the album. The presentation to Adah Abbott, the photograph of Wolfey, and the profusion of backmarks that seem to tie this to Obama's maternal ancestors would lend credence to ownership of the album by Obama's direct line of ancestors and as such it is almost certainly unique, and worthy of much further investigation.