Some photographs from:


The Birth of an Industry

The Collection of Matthew R. Isenburg


The Presentation

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Click on any of the thumbnails below to view in a larger format

1) Six Mother-of-Pearl cases, ca. 1854

Rare set of cases showing the full range of standard daguerreotype sizes: the whole-, half-, quarter-, sixth-, ninth-, and sixteenth-plate formats. Mother-of-pearl cases are rare; the whole-plate case with cameo is one of only two known examples.


2) Thermoplastic case with Washington Crossing the Delaware design, ca. 1860

A whole-plate case by Littlefield, Parson and Company, Florence, Mass., with a design after the famous painting by Emanuel Leutze.


3) Elaborately painted and inlaid case, ca. 1854 (See Thumbnail #2)

A whole-plate case, described by its manufacturer as "Papier Mache Book inlaid with pearl and painted."


4) Daguerreotype in O.G. wall frame, ca. 1854

A whole-plate image in an O. G. frame, bevelled inwards, with oval mother-of-pearl mat.


5) Jewelry box with mounted daguerreotype, ca. 1849

Open silver jewelry box with red velvet lining with sixteenth-plate daguerreotype mounted inside lid.


6) Lockets with daguerreotypes, ca. 1847-55 (See Thumbnail #5)

Four folding lockets; three open like books, one opens on both sides.


6a) Four daguerreotypes prepared for jewelry

Daguerreotypes were trimmed with metal shears into circles. They could then be inserted behind beveled glass into thin metal rings for mounting in jewelry.


7) Gold nugget fob and chain with mounted double daguerreotype locket, ca. 1850.

A Forty-niner’s souvenir.



8) Gold watch fob with miniature daguerreotypes, ca. 1850

These two miniature portraits (one on each side) depict different women.



9) Black snuff box with daguerreotype, ca. 1850




10) Calling card box with daguerreotype, ca. 1854

A mother-of-pearl case, with Baird's Daguerreian calling card.



11) Purse with daguerreotype, 1850




12) Ladies small appointment book with heavily tinted daguerreotype of young female.

Mother of Pearl cover, back and spine.



13) Lady’s "cosmetics" box with daguerreotype of young gentleman, 1851

Inscribed inside: "This picture was taken for Miss Almira Burrows of Providence, R.I. in 1851."


13a) Illustration of items 7 through 13

Illustration of items 7 through 13 showing the comparative size to these objects.


14) Making daguerreian lockets, ca. 1852

Sixth-plate portrait of a man inserting daguerreotypes into lockets. On the table is an open locket awaiting its image.


15) Bogardus cardboard box with new case, ca. 1853

Abraham Bogardus’s New York studio catered to the "carriage trade." Many cased daguerreotypes were put in fancy cardboard boxes, or—in today’s terminology—"gift wrapped." A red ribbon probably completed the presentation.


16) Stull stereo case with Patriotic design, patented 1855

A vintage piece of Americana: a butterfly hinged stereo viewing case made by John Stull of Philadelphia.


17) Mascher stereo thermoplastic case, The Memorial design, ca. 1853 (See Thumbnail #16)

Case designed by S. Peck and Co., of New Haven. John Mascher of Philadelphia invented a flip-up lid stereo viewer with two eyepieces that could be placed in any daguerreian case. When the stereo craze swept America in the mid-1850s, he held a near-monopoly on the manufacture of viewers in cases.


18) Two daguerreotypes of James Ford, ca. 1851 and 1854

An original sixth-plate portrait of James Ford, the noted San Francisco daguerreotypist, and a reversed copy of the same, probably made about three years later. Many copy daguerreotypes were made in this period. They are often difficult to tell from originals, unless a direct comparison can be made.



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