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Guide to the Daniel Huntington Study Portrait Photographs Collection
ca. 1870-1890
 PR 256

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400


© 2011 New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Processed by Jenny Gotwals and Sandra Markham

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on December 13, 2011
Description is in English.

Scope and Content Note

Two years after Daniel Huntington's death, his son Charles Richards Huntington (1847-1915) presented the New-York Historical Society with a collection of 141 portrait photographs used by his father "for his study of the subjects painted by him." Each of the men (and the single woman, Mary McCrea Stuart) in the collection is represented by one or more portrait photographs which had been blown-up to life-size dimensions, sometimes made from a previously existing negative or one made of an earlier photograph. In the case of sitters who died before the advent of paper photography, images were taken from daguerreotypes. The enlargements were mounted on a stiff paperboard and roughly trimmed almost to the shape of the subject's head. Each of the portraits has the sitter's surname in pencil on the verso; some have a shorthand clue to an occupation, profession, title, or institutional affiliation. These annotations, if contemporary to Huntington or his son, have been transcribed in the box and folder list that follows. Many of the photographs have a puncture at their top, most likely from the nail Huntington used to tack them up in view of his easel.

The sitters are familiar to students of nineteenth-century New York: they include prominent bankers, merchants, industrialists, educators, financiers, generals, lawyers, judges, politicians, government officials, and men of the cloth. The photographs are generally not dated. Several note that they were made from daguerreotypes and a few mention particular photographers, or are mounted on the backs of printed boards from photographers' studios. The images that are dated range from the 1870s (Henry Potter) to the 1890s (Kelly, Gracie, Schurz, and Sheldon). Photographers mentioned are Bogardus (Adams, Arthur) and Sarony (Tilden), with one annotated by Huntington as having been taken in his studio (Sherman). Eight of the portraits are mounted on the verso of stamped boards from the Rockwood Studio (Brown, Gracie, Johnston, Henry Potter, Taft, and Weir) or Kurtz (Dodge Sr. and Hostetter) in New York. In addition, the portrait of Henry Codman Potter is mounted on the verso of a large photograph of Calvary Baptist Church, on West Twenty-third Street.

Oil portraits of these sitters are now in the New York Chamber of Commerce Collection at the New York State Museum, the Smithsonian Institution, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the American Museum of Natural History, New York Public Library, Harvard University, Vassar College, and West Point Museum, among other institutions. The New-York Historical Society owns more than twenty portraits painted by Huntington. Other portraits remain in private collections, including those of social clubs, hospitals, corporations, and the families who commissioned them from the artist.

Arrangement

Photographs are filed alphabetically by sitter; life dates and vocations were added during processing.