Men of Mystery

A selection of unidentified daguerreotype and ambrotype portraits.

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A very early daguerreotype of a personable young man that dates to about 1843. Courtesy Price and Zimmer Collection.
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The rugged and remarkable older gentleman who sat for this ambrotype in about 1852 probably first opened his eyes to the world in the 1780s or 1790s. Courtesy Price and Zimmer Collection.
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A painterly 1/6th-plate daguerreotype of a breathtaking young man. His fashions date this portrait to about 1850. Ann Longmore-Etheridge Collection.
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An unusual profile daguerreotype taken in about 1850. Courtesy Jack and Beverly Wilgus Collection.
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A 1/4th-plate ambrotype of an unknown man intently focused on a point in the distance. Taken circa 1860. From the James Morley Collection.
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A man and his dog, whose front paws were held to keep them from moving during the long exposure. This 1/6th-plate ambrotype, probably from the late 1850s, is courtesy of the Caroline Leech Collection.

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Author: Ann Longmore-Etheridge

Writer, journalist, editor, historian.

3 thoughts on “Men of Mystery”

  1. “The rugged and remarkable older gentleman who sat for this ambrotype in about 1852 probably first opened his eyes to the world in the 1780s or 1790s.”

    Because I’m still in the grip of Hamilton, when I read your sentence I couldn’t help but think of these lyrics from “Dear Theodosia” –

    You will come of age with our young nation
    We’ll bleed and fight for you, we’ll make it right for you
    If we lay a strong enough foundation
    We’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you
    And you’ll blow us all away

    And while I’m not as strongly historically-inclined as you are, I do wonder at the things he saw. Did he remember any of the founding of the nation, as young as he was? Did he live to see the Civil War, as old as he was?

    Liked by 1 person

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