Stereoview of the John Rogers plaster sculpture “Taking the Oath and Drawing Rations.” A descriptive label on the back reads “Taking the Oath- a Southern lady, with her little boy, compelled by hunger, is reluctantly taking the oath of allegiance from a union officer, in order to draw rations. The young negro is watching the proceedings while he waits to have the basket filled for his mistress. This photograph is copied by permission of the Artist John Rogers, of 212 Fifth Ave, New York. Those wishing any of the original groups can obtain them by applying as above, price $25.00.”
John Rogers (1829–1904) was an American sculptor who produced very popular, relatively inexpensive figurines in the latter 19th century. He became famous for his small genre sculptures, popularly termed "Rogers Groups", which were mass-produced in cast plaster. A total of 80,000 copies of almost 80 Rogers Groups were sold across the United States and abroad. At the height of their popularity, Rogers' figurines graced the parlors of homes in the United States and were found as far away as Chile and Australia. The English novelist Charles Reade furnished his home with all the Rogers figurines available to him, and in the Dakota Territory, Lt. Col. George Custer and his wife had one. Often selling for $15 apiece, the figurines were affordable to the middle class. Instead of working in bronze and marble, he sculpted in more affordable plaster, painted the color of putty to hide dust. Rogers was inspired by popular novels, poems and prints as well as the scenes he saw around him.