Historic Hood River
Sometimes the back of an image tells as much of a story as the front. This is the reverse of a Civil War era Samuel Blythe cabinet card. I’ve never seen a tax stamp on a photograph, so I did a little research. Early in the Civil War it became clear the government needed new revenue sources to pay for the war, so Congress created the Internal Revenue Service and authorized these tax stamps, which would be attached to objects to prove the appropriate tax was paid. Between 1864 and 1866, the “Sun Picture Tax” levied a tax based on the cost of the photo. A two cent stamp indicates this photo cost 25 cents or less. So now we not only now when the photo was taken, but how much Blythe paid for it.
It seems a little unfair a soldier sending a photograph back home would have to pay a tax to cover the cost of the war he was fighting.