V.p. 1890s. Oblong quarto, leatherette, heavy card stock album pages with photographs affixed. Good. Item #CAT212
This album of photographs, assembled probably during the 1890s, is notable in three ways; for its extensive collection of notable cultural figures in the late nineteenth century including abolitionists, politicians, women’s suffrage advocates authors, etc; the inclusion of early Kodak Model Two photographs of Alaska including Inuit subjects; and in particular the scarce portrait of Frederick Douglass, taken by George Warren.
We can only guess as to the origins of the album. The first two images show women posed in the landscape of Sugar Hill, New Hampshire, a popular resort that attracted wealthy summer visitors after being made famous by White Mountain artists. The album then proceeds, somewhat mysteriously, as follows: two scenes in France; an 8 x 6 inch view of High Bridge, New York; nine tourist views of Europe; two Kodak Two photographs of Alaska including a glacier; a portrait of Napoleon III; a European view; two views of Muir Glacier, Alaska and Lone Star Geyser, Yellowstone Park; three Kodak Two scenes of California; an albumen view of the Cliff House, San Francisco; a large unidentified view of a mission; fifteen Kodak Two views of Alaska including views of Juneau and one of native basket sellers; an unidentified albumen of a sculpture.
The second part of the album is composed of sixty-two portraits of notable cultural and political figures, both American and European, including several abolitionists. The subjects include: Albert Barnes, General Irvin McDowell, General David Hunter, General Gouverneur Warren, Ulysses Grant, General James Barnet Fry, Schuyler Colfax, Abraham Lincoln, Mary Todd Lincoln, James Blaine, Horace Greeley, William Evarts, Roundell Palmer, Sir Alexander Cockburn, James Anthony Froude, Hugh McCulloch, Charles O’Conner, Peter Cooper, Edwin Landseer, Patrice de MacMahon, General William Sherman, General Winfield Scott Hancock, General Philip Sheridan, Henry M. Stanley, David Livingstone, Bayard Taylor (x2), William Gladstone, Cyrus Field, Death Mask of Oliver Cromwell, Adolphe Thiers, Louis Agassy, Victor Hugo, George William Curtis, Harriet Beecher Stowe (x2), Louisa May Alcott, Henry Ward Beecher, Julia Ward Howe, John Albion Andrew, Wendell Phillips, Frederick Douglass, Anna Dickenson, Adelaide Wilson, Alice and Phoebe Cary, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John G. Saxe, Edward Everett, Edgar Allen Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Adelaide Ristoni as Marie Antoinette, Charlotte Cushman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, William Cullen Bryant, and John Greenley Whittier. Taken as a whole the group represents a large swath of political and cultural luminaries.
The Douglass portrait, taken by George Warren, is quite uncommon. Most CDV prints from this period show a variant pose from the same shoot. We find a record of this pose in the Library of Congress collections, printed by the New York photographer G.W. Thorne from Warren’s image, but no record of this pose published by Warren. The image is in excellent condition with good contrast. We find few examples of Douglass’s image in this type of setting, with the Douglass portraits we have encountered rarely included in vernacular albums of the time. The presence of the Kodak Two photographs, which were quite expensive to produce at the time as the entire camera had to be sent to develop the film, suggests that whoever assembled the album was affluent. Overall an interesting and significant document. Front board of album detached, contents excellent.