The collection of 3,500 daguerreotypes, examples of the first successful photographic process, is especially important. Perhaps the most extensive collection of French plates outside France, the collection includes a daguerreotype made by the inventor of the process, Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre, along with works by the best French practitioners of the process. American daguerreotypes are equally well represented by a variety of superb plates, including a collection of important, extremely early Philadelphia plates; whole plate views by Samuel Bemis, one of the first American amateur photographers; and a major collection (more than 1,200) of the work of Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah John Hawes, the Boston daguerreotypists considered by most experts to have been this country’s best.
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