Rites And Ceremonies

This is... well, I have no idea what this is. I'll do my best to describe it.

It's dated 1837 at the top, on the bottom is written

??? Plaintiff (?-looks like it was edited at some point)
Spartan Lector
Infant Editor

In the middle is a folded piece of paper with a portrait of a man, hand drawn. The eyes and mouth have been cut out in a way to reveal another drawing underneath (think of how moveable books work). There's a tab at the bottom, when pulled down it reads "Before the rites and ceremonies," with the drawn face looking glum. Pull the tab up and it reads "After the rites and ceremonies," and the man's face shows a smile. I took a short video to demonstrate:

Found in "The National Portrait Gallery of Distinguished Americans: Volume One" edited by James Herring and James Longacre. Published by Monson Bancroft, 1834.

-Click to enlarge photos-


  1. Great find! It baffles me, too, but I think that word that was written over "Editor" is Pontiff (as in Bishop). Thanks for posting this cool, crazy picture!

  2. Is that first word his name -- Monteith?

  3. (Apologies if this is a double-post...Blogger and I don't really get along, apparently.)

    The word in front of the Editor/Pontiff/Plantiff looks like it might be "Monteith" or something like that. No idea what it could mean.

    Deciphering old handwriting can sometimes be a chore/adventure, haha. But that was definitely a cool and odd find!

  4. This is from wikipedia...

    The Act for Marriages in England 1836 6&7WmIV, c85 (17 August 1836) was an act that legalised the concept of civil marriage into England and Wales from 1 January 1837.[1]

    Maybe that is why he is happy "after"?

  5. Monteith is a surname. I wonder if rites and ceremonies somehow refers to something in the Catholic religion, as Pontiff can refer to the Pope, a Bishop etc. in the Catholic religion.