Identifying Ancestor Photos: Daguerreotypes

Photography arrived in the United States in 1839 thanks to Samuel F. B. Morse, an American artist and inventor. 

often have old family photos in their possession or they find some in
Great Aunt Matilda’s attic. But how do we know when the photograph was
taken? One method is to determine what type of photograph it is. The
earliest type is the Daguerreotype.

Identifying a Daguerreotype

visited Daguerre in Paris in March 1839 and observed a demonstration of
the daguerreotype process. He returned to the United States to spread
the news, and by the end of 1839 some larger cities on the East Coast
had very successful portrait studios.

Every daguerreotype is a unique image on silvered copper plate.  Daguerreotypes are small, usually about 2×3 inches and they tarnish easily. What else makes it unique? 

Daguerreotype Cases

Daguerreotypes are fragile and were always put in protective cases. Here are a few from my personal collection.

 This is a daguerreotype from 1854

This daguerreotype of a woman in formal evening wear is from the Civil War era.

A rare beautifully decorated double case holding a daguerreotype on side, an ambrotype on the other 

Learn More

Watch my video Five Types of Early 19th Century Photographs

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Source: Olive Tree Genealogy Blog

Posted On: May 20, 2021 at 03:00PM