Daguerreotype of enslaved Black woman posing with a white child
Original Author: Unknown
Created: ca. 1855
Medium: Daguerreotype

Enslaved Woman Caring for a White Child

A shadowy daguerreotype depicts an enslaved house servant—identified only as "Mammy Sophie"—leaning toward her white charge, Mary Heath Davenport. The term "Mammy" became an enduring racial stereotype of the faithful, enslaved woman who cheerfully cared for her white charges with an affection that indicated a true love for the family that enslaved her. This portrait was probably taken in Richmond about 1855.