By the late 1890s, stereoviews—three-dimensional photographs designed to be viewed through a hand-held or mounted stereoscope--were a fixture in many middle-class American homes. These mass-produced views were often sold by door-to-door salesmen as well as through major retail outlets like Sears, Roebuck and Company. Printed in monochrome, sepia tone, or color-tinted, stereoviews frequently were marketed in groups, called “series,” which were sometimes boxed for storage on the shelves of a home library. Color lithographic stereoviews quickly became a low-cost and widely circulated alternative to photographic views.
The Russo-Japanese War as a major newsworthy event and Japan as an exotic foreign locale regularly figured as a prime subject for the major companies that marketed stereoviews. Underwood & Underwood, Keystone, Ingersoll, and H.C. White, for example, all produced stereoview series devoted to Japan.
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