Riverside Cambridge, Mass: [Harvard], 1861. Gilt stamped morocco, all edges gilt. Thick, heavy folio (front hinge repaired; small nick to head of spine), with the name of 1861 graduate "E. Chauncey" in gilt on the front cover. Over 170 photographs, comprising 110 vignetted portraits of faculty and students. Nearly all of the portraits are signed by their subjects, including Charles W. Eliot, A.P. Peabody, Louis Agassiz, Benjamin Peirce, Wendell Phillips Garrison, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., Asa Gray and many other well known names. Also included are 46 mounted later portraits of some of the students, from ca. 1880s-90s, on facing pages (presumably added later by the album owner), 25 scenic views of the campus, plus photos of two African American staff (including Aaron Molyneaux Hewlett, director of the Harvard Gymnasium from 1859-71), and a partly colored one of the row team working out on the Charles River. The original portraits are oval salt prints, 6 x 5 in.; the views are oval and round cornered albumen prints, 6 x 8 in. The process of creating memento albums of college life at Harvard began in 1852, utilizing the new techniques of photography, according to Harvard's University Archives. The earliest images were daguerrotypes, but between 1853-1864, the photographers commissioned by the school utilized salted paper prints, "the first negative-to-positive technique. Year by year, photographers perfected the science and artistry of this pioneering process, producing beautifully composed images with remarkable detail and tonal rendition." Members of the graduating classes assembled the images into custom-made albums, often with elaborate bindings and gilt edges, as is evident in this copy. Many of these students enlisted in the Civil War which had just begun. The "Harvard College Class of 1861: Sixth Report, 1892-1902," states that 57 joined the Northern and 5 the Confederate service.This album belonged to Elihu Chauncey (1840-1916) of Philadelphia. Chauncey worked in the office of Richard Jones, a shipper of coal in Philadelphia following graduation. By 1864 he was elected secretary and treasurer of the Pottsville Mining and Manufacturing Company. Chauncey was also very active in many religious and philanthropical organizations throughout his life. [see his short biography in "Proceedings of the New England Historical Genealogical Society at the Annual Meeting," 1915, p. liii.]OCLC lists copies at Harvard [each "a unique compilation of photographic prints"]. AAS has proof pages of 87 of the photos. (Inventory #: 61405)
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