In the case, behind the image, is an original period inscription in pencil: "Abraham, Slave Master."There is no more information about this person, apart from the details of the image itself.

We can date the image, based on the type of photographic process (ambrotype) as well as the clothing style, to the late 1850s, possibly a bit earlier or later.

In his hand, Abraham holds a long-handled, braided leather whip. This detail, combined with the title "Slave Master," probably indicates that this is an occupational portrait and that he was a slave overseer rather a slave owner. If he were the propertied owner of slaves, he would probably not be identified simply as "Abraham."

The overseer was charged with the day-to-day supervision and discipline of the slaves (hence the symbolism of the whip) on larger properties where the owner both needed and could afford to employ others to manage the workforce.