American Memory:  Technical summary

Daguerreotypes, 1842-1862

URL for collection:

Collection Overview

Portrait daguerreotypes produced by the Mathew Brady studio make up the major portion of the collection and include political figures, such as President James K. Polk and Thomas Hart Benton; artists, including Thomas Cole, George Peter, Alexander Healy, and Henry Inman; and journalists, Horace Greeley, Henry J. Raymond, and James Gordon Bennett. The collection also features early architectural views by John Plumbe, which include the earliest existing photographic views of buildings and monuments in the nation's capital a few outdoor scenes, and copies of painted portraits. The collection also includes the earliest known portraits of President Abraham Lincoln, most likely taken shortly after the thirty-seven year old was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and attributed to photographer N.H. Shepherd, who ran a gallery in Springfield, Illinois, in 1846-1847.
Source collection
Daguerreotype Collection, Prints and Photographs Division.
LCCN 95-861318 [Link to catalog record (z39.50 query) will not work when main cataloging system is not available.] .
Technical features
Scenes and portraits, image quality is good.
Several items are available in more than one digital reproduction (usually via a different photographic intermediate). Items available in varying combinations of image resolutions and formats. Presents challenge for display and navigation, since alternative digital manifestations are potentially available for same intellectual work (or bibliographic item).
Original material formats
Number of original items
599 (most grayscale, some color)
Status of collection
Available online.
Public access
The Library is not aware of any restrictions on these photographs. See notes on rights and restrictions provided by the Library to users of this collection.

Aids to intellectual access

Type & granularity
MARC bibliographic records. Each bib. record describes a single item.
Sample bibliographic display in American Memory.
Linking to digital reproductions
Bibliographic record contains identifier used in filenames for all versions of image. Last character of filename indicates image type. Some records link (potentially, although not in current American Memory display) to additional digital reproductions, captured from different photographic intermediates.

Digital reproductions

Total file-space for digital reproductions: 782 Mbytes

Photographs Archival image Service image Inline thumbnail Additional thumbnail
Marker Filename ends "u" Filename ends "r" Filename ends "t" Filename ends "t"
Tonal resolution (grayscale) 8 bit 8 bit 8 bit 8 bit
Tonal resolution (color) 24 bit 24 bit 8 bit 8 bit
Spatial resolution (approx) 1400x1100 pixels 1400x1100 pixels 150x100 pixels 150x100 pixels
Quantity (approx) ~400 ~640 ~640 ~530
Sample Sample archival Sample service Sample thumbnail Sample thumbnail

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Technical notes: [Documents] [Images] [Maps] [Sound recordings] [Motion pictures]