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Daguerreotype and Tintype collection

Identifier: SCA-1099

Scope and Contents

The collection contains 16 cased photographs, mostly of Union College students and faculty, circa 1840-1860. Individuals appearing in the images have been identified whenever possible. The materials came from various donors. Formats include daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, and tintypes.


  • Creation: 1840 - 1860

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.


Daguerreotypes were in production from the late 1830s into the early 1860s. This photographic format is considered to be the first method that resulted in images that could be made widely available to the public due to the relative simplicity of the process and high quality of the images produced. The resulting images were typically encased and brought photography into the general public marketplace. Tintypes were in production from the late 1850s into the early 1900s. This format (also known as a ferrotype) was invented in the United Sates by Hamilton L. Smith in 1856. The process by which the images were developed was based on the "wet collodion" process used to produce ambrotypes. The process was quick and cheap, when compared to ambrotypes, and was extremely popular from 1856 till they fell out of use in the early 1900s.


2 Boxes

16 Photographs

0.65 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Materials in the collection are arranged alphabetically.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Four items donated by Mrs. James Livermore Carter via E. S. C. Smith, September 1938. Eliphalet Nott daguerreotype donated by Laviania S. Hawley, June 1942. Civil Engineering Class of 1858 daguerreotype transferred from the Alumni Office, June 1969. Franklin B. Hough daguerreotype purchased from eBay, 2019. The source of the rest of the collection is unknown.

In Progress
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Edition statement
Added in 2019 to expand collection with accession 2019-022.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and Archives Repository

Union College
807 Union Street
Schenectady NY 12308 United States