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History, Conservation, and Repair The history of photographic prints, and how best to care for and repair them.

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Old 08-02-2009, 05:15 PM
fredchannell fredchannell is offline
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Location: Massachusetts USA
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New member question


I'm Fred and have just found this site looking for a description of albumen prints. I am a genealogist as well as a historian and discover a lot of old images of my family. I have one right now I am trying to figure out of an ancestor who died in 1858 at 110. The photo has unsurfaced in a small museum in Canada as well as in the USA with the same name. What is fascinating about it is that he would be a veteran of the American Revolution. Few photos of those people appear, perhaps less than a dozen. I just am finishing up a History of Photography course, but being given the ability to recognize these various methods were not really covered. More of Stieglitz and Dorothea Lange and that type of history. If anyone wants to have a crack at it let me know.
I would rather not publicly post it, until I feel certain it is who I think it is.
Not a famous person, but an interesting one.

I don't believe it is a Daguerrotype being multiple copies, and the lack of a case.
Could it be a collodoin or an albumin print given the range of 1845-1858?
The copy I physically handled was on a card style stock.

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Old 08-02-2009, 08:40 PM
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TommyO TommyO is offline
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Location: NC, USA
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Re: New member question

If the photograph you handled was on a paper backing, then it was not a dag. Daguerreotypes were printed directly on the copper sheet.

I would guess an Albumen, but it could also be other types. The images of that time frame were changing quickly and, depending on the location taken, could have been any of three or four types. However, most Albumen prints tended to discolor into a sepia tint. The earlier Albumens were small (2.5x4), whereas larger (4.25x6.5) versions were introduced around 1866. So, the tint and size could help determine the date.
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