Daguerreotype collection

Daguerreotype collection, 1839 – 1865. 4 boxes (3 linear feet)


DAG.10: This daguerreotype has a beautiful and ornate case.

The Daguerreotype collection is made up of individually accessioned photographs from the Photography Collection, items from the Archive & Manuscript Collections, and items found in the collection. The photographs are portraits depicting Brooklyn residents of the 19th century.

Daguerreotypes are photographs printed directly on copper plates that had been coated with silver and exposed to iodine vapors. They are generally considered to be the first successful photographic process, and were in common use from 1839 to 1850. Because the exposure time for early daguerreotypes could be between 5 and 70 minutes, they were primarily used for portraiture. Daguerreotypes are often difficult to view and photograph, because the silver plate is highly reflective. They were often hand-colored, and usually kept in small cases.

Ritzenthaler, Mary Lynn, and Diane Vogt-O’Connor. 2008. Photographs: Archival Care and Management. Chicago: Society of American Archivists.


  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
  • Photographs
  • Commercial portraiture

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