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Briggs: Website featuring historical hotties and attractive ancestors is pretty fun

They are long since gone, but the website My Daguerreotype Boyfriend features those from the past who look mighty fine.

This unidentified soldier might just make the cut for a website featuring attractive people from the past. Public Domain / Special to The Forum
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Writing history-related columns means I get mailed and emailed a lot of really cool old photos, including one I received last year. Moorhead Spud History (supported by the Moorhead Schools Legacy Foundation) was working to colorize old black-and-white school photos.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the black-and-white photos, and they’re certainly not being destroyed, but colorizing them perhaps makes the students of yesterday more relatable to students of today.

“It just feels a little more personable,” says teacher Brian Cole, who manages the Moorhead Spud History Facebook page.

After colorizing this photo of the 1905 MHS football team, you could almost picture some of these guys walking the halls today. Others, not so much.

I ended up writing a story about the photo, particularly about why the Spuds would have a goat in their photo.


RELATED: This is what the 1905 Moorhead High football team would have looked like in color, but what’s the deal with the goat?

I mentioned to my colleague Tammy Swift how cool this photo was and how I suspect when I was in high school, I would have had a crush on the guy in the middle row, far right, wearing the gray turtleneck with another player’s hand on his shoulder. I mean, he kind of looks like Paul Rudd, People magazine's 2021’s Sexiest Man Alive, right?

Back Then: hotties
The Moorhead High football team in 1905. Special to The Forum

(By the way, is it creepier that I think a high school boy in 1905 is cute, or that I’m gaga over a dead guy?)

Anyway, after I told Tammy this, she mentioned the website My Daguerreotype Boyfriend.

The daguerreotype was the first commercially successful photographic process (1839-1860) in the history of photography. The images are produced on silvered copper plates and often contained in cases. You’ve surely seen examples.

This website encouraged readers to submit photos of daguerreotypes featuring dapper, attractive lads from centuries past - kind of the Victorian era’s version of People magazine.



— Tagline of My Daguerreotype Boyfriend

The site features some fancy-pants men with pomaded hair, waistcoats and silk scarves, sultry scholars, pensive artists and rugged types in Civil War uniforms and workingman’s clothes. You might even find a guy or two with mutton chops.

While most of the submitted photos are of men, there are a few photos of attractive couples. Think "Brangelina” or “Bennifer” 150 years ago.

And it’s not just photos from people’s family trees. There are some well-known historical figures on the site, including Mark Twain. Yes, apparently Mark Twain was considered fine in the days before the white suit and bushy mustache.

Anyway, the site is a hoot and done in good, clean fun. Nothing inappropriate for work. And it’s educational, right?

Unfortunately, the website/blog hasn’t been updated since 2016. But you will find the hashtag "daguerreotypeboyfriend" on Instagram. So if you would like to share any photos you find, you can do so there. Or better yet, email them to me and I'll include them in a future column. With all of the ugliness in the world, let's enjoy some old-fashioned beauty.

Again, here is the website - although they have not posted on it for awhile.


You can also find the photos on Instagram at #daguerreotypeboyfriend.

Send photos of your aesthetically pleasing (or beautiful on the inside) ancestors to

Tracy Briggs Back Then with Tracy Briggs online column sig.jpg
"Back Then with Tracy Briggs"

article7301524.ece Have you ever run across a photo of an ancestor and thought "Wow! They're kind of good looking"? Have you ever run across a photo of an ancestor and thought "Wow! They're kind of good looking" ? Yes, I definitely have some lookers in the family tree. No, not really. But they probably had good personalities. I don't know. I better start looking.

Tracy Briggs is a News, Lifestyle and History reporter with Forum Communications with more than 30 years of experience.
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