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Guide to the Imperial Portrait Photograph File
[1856-1870]
 PR 210

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 Sandra Markham

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

Descriptive Summary

 
Title: Imperial Portrait Photograph File
Dates: [1856-1870]
Abstract: The Imperial Portrait Photograph File consists of portraits of prominent men and women taken in the latter half of the nineteenth century by photographers Mathew B. Brady, Alexander Gardner, Charles Fredricks, Jeremiah Gurney, and by unidentified photographers.
Quantity: 8.35 Linear feet (5 boxes)
Location note: Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections
Call Phrase: PR 210

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Historical Note

Imperial format photographic portraits were introduced in America in the mid-1850s. A specialty of the Mathew B. Brady Studio, the Imperial was a formal portrait size photograph, contact printed on sensitized paper using a glass plate negative of approximately 21 by 17 inches. The New York studios, notably Brady's, employed colorists to overpaint the photographic print with watercolor or India ink wash tones and highlights. In some cases, just the sitter would be painted and the background left photographic; often both were covered with the toning medium in order to minimize the sitter's physical imperfections or create an elegant furnished room in place of the studio's blank wall. The result was often more a painted, rather than photographic, portrait that in size and elegance was meant to be the modern equivalent of an ancestral portrait.

The portraits were issued to patrons in a number of ways. Portraits of notable citizens, government officials, and cultural icons such as theatre stars and literary figures were hung in the photographers' studio galleries, which were open to the public. The sitters themselves, or any visitor to the studio, could buy a portrait without painted additions: simply a plain salted paper (the earliest medium) or albumen photograph. Retouching was an extra cost, as was framing. Many of the studios would also photograph Imperial portrait photographs and issue them in the small and less expensive carte de visite format (with the reduced image mounted on a 4 by 2-1/2 inch card, approximately the size of a calling card) as another means of distribution.

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Scope and Content Note

The Imperial Portrait Photograph File spans the period from the mid-1850s to the early 1870s. The collection is divided into five series, one each for the four identified photographers and one for unidentified work.

The New-York Historical Society's Imperial portrait file contains examples of both retouched and unretouched portraits in a variety of sizes, showing nearly the full range offered by this format. Due to their special format, the photographs comprising the Imperial Portrait Photograph File were removed from the Print Room's Portrait File (PR 052) when that collection was processed in 2002.

Arrangement

The collection is arranged in five series, based on photographer. One folder of oversize photographs is available at the end of the collection.

  1. Series I: Portraits by Mathew B. Brady
  2. Series II: Portraits by Alexander Gardner
  3. Series III: Portrait by Charles Fredricks
  4. Series IV: Portraits by Jeremiah Gurney
  5. Series V: Portraits by Unidentified Photographers
  6. Oversize Material

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Brady, Mathew B., 1823 (ca.)- 1896
  • Fredricks, Charles DeForest, 1823-1894
  • Gardner, Alexander, 1821-1882
  • Gurney, Jeremiah, 1812-1895

Document Type

  • Albumen prints
  • Imperial (photograph size)
  • Salted paper prints

Subject Topics

  • Black, Jeremiah S. (Jeremiah Sullivan), 1810-1883 -- Portraits
  • Buchanan, James, 1791-1868 -- Portraits
  • Businessmen -- New York (State) -- New York -- Portraits
  • Clergy -- New York (State) -- New York -- Portraits
  • Harper's weekly
  • Harper, James, 1795-1869 -- Portraits
  • Havemeyer, William Frederick, 1804-1874 -- Portraits
  • Hecksher family -- Portraits
  • Henriques family -- Portraits
  • Legislators -- United States -- Portraits
  • Paez, Jose Antonio, 1790-1873 -- Portraits
  • Parmly family -- Portraits
  • Phelan, Michael, 1816-1871 -- Portraits
  • Politicians -- New York (State) -- New York -- Portraits
  • Scott, Winfield, 1786-1866 -- Portraits
  • Steinway family -- Portraits
  • Tyng, Stephen H. (Stephen Higginson), 1839-1898 -- Portraits
  • Walker, William, 1824-1860 -- Portraits
  • Ward family -- Portraits

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Administrative Information

Provenance

Gifts of various donors including Daniel Parish, 1905.

Access Restrictions

Open to qualified researchers.

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to thirty exposures of stable, unbound material per day. See guidelines in Print Room for details.

Use Restrictions

Permission to reproduce any Print Room holdings through publication must be obtained from:
Rights and Reproductions
The New-York Historical Society
Two West 77th Street
New York, NY 10024
Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282
Fax: (212) 579-8794

The copyright law of the United States governs the making of photocopies and protects unpublished materials as well as published materials. Unpublished materials created before January 1, 1978 cannot be quoted in publication without permission of the copyright holder.

Preferred Citation

This collection should be cited as: Imperial Portrait Photograph File, PR 210, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, The New-York Historical Society.

Related Material at the Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections

Additional portraits of people in this collection, and additional work by the photographers represented here, can be found in the Print Room's Album File (PR 002), Carte de Visite File (PR 011), Cased Photograph File (PR 012), Mathew B. Brady Studio Portrait Photograph Collection (PR 085), Portrait File (PR 052), and Civil War Photograph File (PR 164).

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Container List

Series I: Portraits by Mathew B. Brady

Scope and Contents note

Series I. Portraits by Mathew B. Brady holds salted paper and albumen prints of several notable men and two women who lived in New York, or passed through the city in their travels. It is arranged in four subseries: Individuals; Groups; Composite Portraits; and Published Imperials. The bulk of the individual portraits came to the Society in 1905 within a group of thirty-one photographic portraits given by Daniel Parish. Parish was a collector of Americana, and though it is not known when or how he acquired the photographs - all of which are Brady portraits, although not all Imperial format pictures - each was marked in the same manner, with a typed paper strip label on the verso giving the sitter's name, and various ink and pencil inscriptions.

The sitters represent well-known nineteenth-century New Yorkers involved in business, politics, and religion. Two men who offer a combination were ex-mayors of New York, publisher James Harper and sugar manufacturer William Havemeyer. Another combination is Rev. Stephen W. Tyng, Jr., who left the church to become a businessman in Paris. Other local religious leaders include the Rev. Drs. William Adams, James Alexander, Henry Bellows, Samuel Burchard, and Francis Vinton. Prominent businessmen found in Series I are Samuel Colt, Horace Day, Cyrus Field, Robert Stuart, the famed New York billiardist and billiard parlor owner Michael Phelan. There are four portraits of members of the Steinway family, New York residents known for their fine pianos. Politicians include United States Attorney General Jeremiah Black, and President James Buchanan; publishers and writers include William Prescott, Justus Redfield, William Winston Seaton, and Nathaniel Willis.

International figures include General Jose Antonio Paez, the President of Venezuela who lived in New York several times between his terms in office, and the ambitious American adventurer William Walker, who captured Nicaragua and set up a short-lived government there prior to his execution before a Honduran firing squad. A portrait of William Smith O'Brien, popularly known as Smith O'Brien, was made during that Irish patriot's tour of the United States in the spring of 1859. O'Brien arrived in New York in late February and departed in May after a full schedule of public events and private receptions held by the Irish and Irish-American communities in New York, Boston, Toronto, and Detroit.

While each portrait is labeled, there are two sitters that remain unidentified. The first is a case of misidentification: a Mr. Witmore, whose portrait was labeled "Prosper Wetmore" on a typed paper label, and "M. Witmore" in pencil. Comparisons with other photographs and a painted portrait of Prosper Wetmore show that the Imperial is not Wetmore, and no further identification has been possible. The portrait of the otherwise unidentified "Mrs. Steinway" may possibly be Johanna, the wife of Christian F. Theodore Steinway, though another image of her could not be located for comparison.

A number of the Imperial portraits in the Individuals subseries were photographed and issued as carte de visite prints. Portraits of Rev. Dr. William Adams, Cyrus Field, William Noyes (a retouched version), Smith O'Brien, Jose Antonio Paez, Winfield Scott, and William Winston Seaton (a retouched version with a painted-in background), for example, can be found in the Print Room's PR 011 Carte de Visite File.

The Groups subseries holds a variety of portraits, ranging in subject from two New York families, the Heckshers and the Henriques (or Hendricks) to the military "family" of General Winfield Scott, who were photographed during the General's waning days at West Point, New York. Britain's King Edward VII toured the United States in the fall of 1860. The popular young Prince of Wales, as he was then known, stopped at the Brady Studio at Broadway and Tenth Street during his time in New York; the resulting portrait of him and his suite of attendants was repeatedly advertised in the New York Times as "on view at Brady's Gallery. Copies in every style of the art for sale." The chronologically latest photograph in the collection is a group portrait of the officials of the Commission on the Treaty of Washington, or the "Alabama Claims" treaty, that settled claims against Great Britain arising during the Civil War; that portrait is dated a decade later.

A set of two mounted salted paper sheets make up the Composite Portraits subseries, one each of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. In both cases, the images are made up of small, individual bust-length portraits arranged in a group and rephotographed on a negative of approximately 20 x 16 inches.

Last in the series are four examples of a type of image distributed by the Brady Studio in the late 1850s. These "published" Imperial prints were announced in the New York Times on August 11, 1858: "Brady has just commenced the publication of a series of imperial photographs. The first of the series is an excellent portrait of John J. Crittenden, of Kentucky . . ." a copy of which is found in Box 5, folder 21. At 12 x 9-5/8 inches, they were smaller than Brady's sumptuous Imperial photographs, and issued on paper mounts engraved with the Brady studio location and, sometimes, with the name of the figure pictured. In presentation and style, they resemble mezzotint portraits of earlier centuries. A reduced step from the custom Imperial portrait, though still a photographic process, this new "imperial" format could be mass-produced by the studio and sold commercially to anyone who might like to own a portrait of a famous American statesman.

Mathew B. Brady (ca. 1823-1896), the best-known American photographer of his generation, operated portrait studios in New York from 1844 to 1875. Brady began his career as a daguerreotypist. He was located at 205-207 Broadway (at Fulton Street) from 1844 until 1858, ran a second New York studio at 359 Broadway (between White and Franklin Streets) from 1853 through 1860, and a third studio at 643 Broadway (at Bleecker Street) from 1859 to 1860. All New York operations were consolidated in the fall of 1860 in Brady's fourth and final studio, named the "National Portrait Gallery," located at 785 Broadway (at Tenth Street). Brady generally did not take the photographs himself, but employed teams of uncredited camera operators, processors, and colorists in each of his studios who produced the actual images for which he is famous. Brady also operated studios in Washington, DC, and is known for the hundreds of celebrity portraits he produced during his career, though perhaps as well known for the hundreds of images made during the American Civil War (1861-1865) by other photographers that were issued by the Brady Studio.

Individuals

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Adams, William, Rev. Dr. (1813-1897)

General note

salted paper photograph, 18 x 15 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Alexander, James Waddel, Rev. Dr. (1804-1859)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 1/4 x 14 5/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Bellows, Henry Whitney (1814-1882)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 3/4 x 14 1/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Black, Jeremiah S. (1810-1883)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 x 15 3/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Brown, William (1784-1864)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph on engraved studio mount, 18 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Buchanan, James (1791-1868)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 1/4 x 15 3/4 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Burchard, Samuel Dickinson, Rev. Dr. (1812-1891)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 3/4 x 15 1/2

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Colt, Samuel (1814-1862)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 3/4 x 14 1/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Day, Horace H. (1813-1878)

General note

salted paper photograph, 16 1/2 x 13 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Dupont, Samuel F. (1803-1865)

General note

salted paper photograph, 17 1/4 x 13 3/4 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Field, Cyrus West (1819-1892)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 3/8 x 15 3/8

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Field, David Dudley (1805-1894)

General note

salted paper photograph, 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Forrest, Edwin (1806-1872), as Macbeth

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 20 x 15 3/8 in.

[1860]
Box: 1 Folder : 6 Francis, John Wakefield (1789-1861)
[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Harper, James (1795-1869)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 1/2 x 15 1/4 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 7 Havemeyer, William F. (1804-1874)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 3/4 x 14 1/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Irving, Washington (1783-1859), from a miniature

General note

salted paper photograph, 14 x 12 5/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 8 Jerome, Lawrence R. (1820-1888)

General note

salted paper photograph, 16 1/8 x 12 5/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 9 Noyes, William Curtis (1805-1864)

General note

salted paper photograph, 18 1/4 x 15 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 9 O'Brien, William Smith (1803-1864)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 3/8 x 15 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Paez, Jose Antonio (1790-1878)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 5/8 x 13 3/4 in.

[1860]
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Phelan, Michael (1817-1871)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph on engraved studio mount, 18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.

[1858]
Box: 2 Folder : 10 Prescott, William Hickling (1796-1859)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Redfield, Justice Starr (1810-1888)

General note

salted paper photograph, 15 1/2 x 11 5/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Roosevelt, James (1795-1875)

General note

salted paper photograph, 9 1/4 x 7 3/8 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 2 Folder : 11 Scott, Winfield (1786-1866)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph on engraved studio mount, 18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Seaton, William Winston (1785-1866)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 1/4 x 15 1/2 in

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 12 Steinway, Christian F. Theodore (1825-1889)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 3/4 x 14 1/4 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Steinway, Henry Engelhardt (1797-1871)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 1/4 x 14 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Steinway, Julianne (1804-1877)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 18 x 15 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 13 Steinway, Mrs.

General note

salted paper photograph, 16 1/4 x 13 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Stuart, Robert Leighton (1806-1882)

General note

salted paper photograph, 15 1/4 x 12 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 14 Tyng, Jr., Stephen W., Rev. (1839-1898)

General note

salted paper photograph, 18 x 14 3/4 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Vinton, Francis, Rev. Dr. (1809-1872)

General note

salted paper photograph, 16 1/2 x 12 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 15 Walker, William (1824-1860)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 3/4 x 14 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Willis, Nathaniel P. (1806-1867)

General note

salted paper photograph, 12 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 3 Folder : 16 Witmore [?], Mr. (misidentified on verso as Prosper Wetmore)

General note

salted paper photograph, 16 1/4 x 12 1/2 in.

[1856-1870]

Groups

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 17 Commission on the Treaty of Washington ["Alabama Claims"]

General note

albumen photograph, 13 3/4 x 16 1/4 in.

[1870]
Box: 4 Folder : 17 General Winfield Scott and his staff at West Point, NY

General note

salted paper photograph, 14 1/4 x 19 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 4 Folder : 18 Heckscher family

General note

salted paper photograph, 11 1/4 x 14 3/4 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 4 Folder : 18 Hendricks family

General note

salted paper photograph, 8 3/4 x 15 in.

[1856-1870]
Box: 4 Folder : 19 Edward VII, King of Great Britain (1841-1910) and suite

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 9 1/2 x 17 5/8 in.

1860 Oct.
Box: 4 Folder : 19 [United States Sanitary Commission?]

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 7 1/4 x 19 3/8 in.

[1856-1870]

Composite Portraits

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 20 [United States] House of Representatives

General note

salted paper photograph, varnished, on engraved studio mount, 18 3/8 x 15 1/2 in.

[1860]
Box: 4 Folder : 20 United States Senate

General note

salted paper photograph on engraved studio mount, 18 x 14 3/4 in.

1860

Published Imperials

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 21 Crittenden, John Jordan (1786-1863)

General note

albumen photograph, 12 x 9 5/8 in. on 19 x 15 in. studio mount

1858
Box: 5 Folder : 21 Douglas, Stephen A. (1813-1861)

General note

albumen photograph, 12 x 9 5/8 in. on 19 x 15 in. studio paper mount

[1856-1870]
Box: 5 Folder : 21 Seward, William H. (1801-1872)

General note

albumen photograph, 12 x 9 5/8 in. on 19 x 15 in studio paper mount

[1856-1870]
Box: 5 Folder : 21 Wise, Henry A. (1806-1876)

General note

albumen photograph, 12 x 9 5/8 in.

[1856-1870]

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Series II: Portraits by Alexander Gardner

Scope and Contents note

Series II. Portraits by Alexander Gardner contains albumen portraits of government officials and prominent figures in the Civil War, all of whom were photographed in Gardner's Washington, DC, studio in the mid-1860s. The series is arranged in two subseries: Individuals and Groups. The origin of the photographs is unknown, but they appear to have arrived at the Society as unmounted albumen prints which were then attached to sheets of card stock by the Society's bindery staff.

There are individual portraits of seven men, three of whom, David Farragut, Marsena Patrick, and William T. Sherman, were leaders in the Union forces. Sitters Benjamin Baker French, Hugh McCulloch, and William Seward were officials in President Lincoln's administration, and Peter Force was an historian, collector, compiler, and ex-mayor of Washington, DC.

Groups include several portraits that appeared as wood engraved illustrations in Harper's Weekly. Notable among them are two formal portraits that were published in 1865: one of Col. Lafayette Baker, Lt. Luther Baker, and Lt. Col. Everton Conger planning the capture of John Wilkes Booth (May 13th, page 292), and another of Lt. Col. Pritchard, Capt. Hudson, and Lt. Stauber, the three captors of Jefferson Davis, a modified version which appeared on page 373 of the June 17th issue. The latter illustration carried a credit line of  Photographed by Gardner, and Published by Philip & Solomon, Washington, D.C.

Individuals

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 22 Farragut, David G. (1801-1870)

General note

albumen photograph, 18 1/2 x 16 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 22 Force, Peter (1790-1868)

General note

albumen photograph, 18 7/8 x 15 5/8 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 22 French, Benjamin Baker (1800-1880)

General note

albumen photograph, 18 5/8 x 15 3/4 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 23 McCulloch, Hugh (1808-1895)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 x 16 in.

1865
Box: 5 Folder : 23 Patrick, Marsena R. (1811-1888)

General note

albumen photograph, 18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 23 Seward, William H. (1801-1872)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 x 15 1/2 in.

1865 Jun.
Box: 5 Folder : 23 Sherman, William T. (1820-1891)

General note

salted paper photograph, 18 7/8 x 14 3/4 in.

1865 Jun.

Groups

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 24 [Captors of Jefferson Davis (Pritchard, Hudson, Stauber)]

General note

albumen photograph

1865
Box: 5 Folder : 24 [Committee of the House of Representatives reading Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation]

General note

albumen photograph, 15 1/2 x 19 in.

1864
Box: 5 Folder : 24 Grant, Ulysses S., and family

General note

albumen photograph

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 24 Members of the Military Commission, Convened for the Trial of the Accomplices of Booth, the assassin of the President

General note

albumen photograph, 11 1/4 x 17 in., on printed studio mount

1865
Box: 5 Folder : 25 [Planning the capture of Booth and Harold (Baker, Baker, and Conger)]

General note

albumen photograph, 19 1/8 x 15 7/8 in.

1865 May
Box: 5 Folder : 25 [Reporters of New York and Philadelphia in Washington]

General note

albumen photograph, 15 1/4 x 19 in.

1865 Apr.
Box: 5 Folder : 25 Sherman, William T., and his staff

General note

albumen photograph, 15 x 18 1/2 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 25 United States Supreme Court

General note

albumen photograph, 13 1/8 x 18 1/2 in.

1868

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Series III: Portraits by Charles Fredricks

Scope and Contents note

Series III. Portrait by Charles Fredricks holds one portrait of New York newspaper publisher and diplomat James Watson Webb (1802-1884). The photograph measures 16-7/8 by 14-1/4 inches and is on its original mount marked by the photographer just below the image: Fredricks on the lower left and New York on the lower right in letter press type. Charles DeForest Fredricks (1823-1894) was at first a partner with Jeremiah Gurney, advertising their "life-size" photographic portraits on paper in the New York Times under the studio name J. Gurney & C. D. Fredricks. They operated at 349 Broadway from May 1854 until July 31, 1856. In August 1856, Fredricks opened his own studio at 585 Broadway. He is primarily known for his popular carte de visite-sized portraits; his Imperial format pictures are rare.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: Folder : Webb, James Watson (1802-1884)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 x 14 1/4 in.

General note

See: Oversize folder 28

1868

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Series IV: Portraits by Jeremiah Gurney

Scope and Contents note

Series IV. Portraits by Jeremiah Gurney holds two photographs, both gifts in 1942 from descendants of the sitters. They are a formal, full-length salted paper portrait of Mr.s William Greene Ward, and a group portrait composed of members of the Parmly and Ward families of New York City.

Emily Graham McNight Ward (ca. 1837-1877) was a Bordentown, New Jersey, native who married banker William Greene Ward (1832-1901) in June 1857, and joined him in New York City where this portrait was taken. The Wards resided on Staten Island.

The group portrait of the Parmly and Ward families came to the Society with a family legend attached. The subjects of the photograph are the friends and family of Julia Parmly (1835-1914) who married lawyer Frederick Billings (1823-1890) in New York on March 31, 1862. Present in the picture are Julia's father, the prominent New York dentist (known as "the father of American dentistry") Dr. Eleazer Parmly (1797-1874), Julia's brother Erick Parmly (1829-1907) and sisters Anna Parmly (incorrectly identified in the inscription as Louisa, who died in 1845) and Mary Parmly Ward (1831-1914), Mary's husband Charles H. Ward (1833-1905), and Charles' mother Abby Hall Ward and brother John Ward (1838-1896). Also present are family friends Gilman Morton and Benjamin Church. The Wards shown in this photograph were the mother and brothers of William Greene Ward. According to a twentieth-century inscription on the verso of the photograph's mount, the group had their picture taken just after they had escorted Julia and Frederick Billings to a dock to board a ship taking them on their wedding trip to California. Robin Winks, in his biography Frederick Billings: A Life (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), states the chronology thus: the couple took a wedding trip to Philadelphia, then returned to New York to pack, and on April 11, "sailed for California on the  Northern Light, seen off by a tiny band of family and friends." Prior to meeting Julia Parmly in New York and immediately marrying her, Billings was a resident of San Francisco, and the couple traveled there to close out his businesses. The Billings then returned to New York and settled here.

Jeremiah Gurney (1812-1895) was one of New York's finest portrait photographers, and is known primarily for his daguerrean work. His carte de visite and cabinet-format portraits are not uncommon in public and private collections, but his Imperial format portraits are rare. Emily Ward's portrait measures 19 by 16-1/4 inches and is on its original studio mount marked by Gurney in two places: an oval blind stamp in the front lower margin and a paper label on the verso; both give the studio's address as 707 Broadway, the location of Gurney's studio from 1858 through 1868. The group portrait is not marked, but is attributed to Gurney based on the quality of the photograph, and on the distinctive carpet showing in the image, which is also seen in marked Gurney carte de visite photographs (for examples, see album no. 415 in PR 002, the Album File, The House of Bishops of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States Photographed from life during the Triennial Convention by J. Gurney & Son (New York: T. Porter Shaw, 1862.) The family inscription on the verso of the mount suggests the photographer was William Kurtz (1834-1904), but he is not listed in the New York City directories until 1865.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 26 Parmly and Ward family members

General note

salted paper photograph, 13 x 14 3/4 in.

[1862 Apr. 11]
Box: Folder : Ward, Emily (ca. 1832-1877)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 x 16 1/4 in.

General note

See: Oversize folder 28

[1858]

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Series V: Portraits by Unidentified Photographers

Scope and Contents note

Series V. Portraits by Unidentified Photographers contains three portraits, two of which are identified men. They are Colonel John Jacob Astor III (1822-1890) and William Pitt Fessenden (1806-1869); both may be later enlargements from negatives made in the mid-1860s but are included in this collection based on their sheet size and vintage. The third portrait is of an unidentified man with an American flag, and features drapery and a classical column often seen in Mathew Brady portraits. Photographs are arranged alphabetically by sitter.

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 5 Folder : 27 Astor III, John Jacob, Colonel (1822-1890)

General note

albumen photograph, 18 3/8 x 14 3/4 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 27 Fessenden, William Pitt (1806-1869)

General note

albumen photograph, 20 1/4 x 15 in.

undated
Box: 5 Folder : 27 Unidentified man with American flag

General note

salted paper photograph, 18 3/8 x 14 3/4 in.

undated

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Oversize Material

Scope and Contents note

Oversize material is filed in one flat folder housed in a map case drawer.

From Series I. Portraits by Mathew Brady

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 28 Scott, Winfield (1786-1866)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph on engraved studio mount, 18 1/2 x 15 1/2 in.

undated

From Series III. Portrait by Charles Fredricks

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 28 Webb, James Watson (1802-1884)

General note

retouched salted paper photograph, 17 x 14 1/4 in.

1858

From Series IV. Portraits by Jeremiah Gurney

Container 1     Title Date
Folder: 28 Ward, Emily (ca. 1837-1877)

General note

salted paper photograph, 19 x 16 1/4 in.

[1858]

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