Collection ID: PC 30

Collection context


The collection consists of a random grouping of ambrotypes, daguerreotypes and tintypes; all photographic techniques popular in the United States from the late 1830’s to the turn of the century (19th into 20th). Most of the collection, like the predominant subject matter of these photographic processes, are portraits. Some landscape photography was done using each of the three photographic techniques; few survive. Landscape photography would blossom with the advent of the “paper process” which, though still cumbersome by today’s standards, was much less cumbersome than the equipment and process required, even for the tintype.
76 items


Scope and Content:

The collection is arranged in numbered boxes, divided by type of photography (ambrotype, daguerreotype, tintype and other) and numbered in succession. An exception was made with the two identified family collections, in these two cases the images of the family were housed together as specific units, mixing the various photographic types within the boxes. These two family groups are housed under Series 4 “Other.” The subject matter ranges from the first quarter of the 19th century through the first quarter of the 20th century. The contents are primarily portraits of individuals, one an image of a woman of color; there is a very limited number of images with landscape as the subject matter. Daguerreotypes are the most numerous in the collection.

Biographical / Historical:

This is a collection amassed over time; it lacks a dominant theme, unless one considers photographic portraits; finally, in many cases, there is no identification of image, photographer or sitter. The collection is primarily a grouping of portraits spanning the last quarter of the 19th century. Daguerreotypes are the dominant photographic type, with a small grouping of ambrotypes (most quite fragile), and a somewhat larger collection of tintypes. Among the cased images are a few later forms of photographic processes including an albumin print and 3 images on porcelain by an Albany photographer. There are two identified family groups spanning several generations and photographic types within the collection; several images from this collection relate to other larger archival and material culture collections held at the Institute.

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: a Content Standard



This collection is open for research according to the regulations of the Albany Institute of History & Art without any additional restrictions.


The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the Albany Institute of History & Art Library will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Archivist/Librarian.

125 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12210, United States