William C. Darrah collection of cartes-de-visite, 1860-1900
The carte-de-visite was the most influential and diverse type of photograph produced between 1860 and 1900. Virtually every studio in the world adopted this format, resulting in a dramatic transformation of the business and profession of photography. Within a single decade, the 1860s, carte-de-viste photography invaded every aspect of daily life and placed the photographic image on par with the printed word.

The William C. Darrah Collection includes 62,608 cartes-de-visite. It was assembled systematically over a period of more than thirty years (1957-1988) by Mr. Darrah. Collecting was initiated in 1954 as part of a project to document, through examination of actual imprinted images, the existence of as many nineteenth-century photographers as possible. Darrah chose to collect the carte format because daguerreotypes and ambrotypes (1840-1860) were seldom imprinted or signed.

Repository: Penn State Special Collections, University Park, PA, USA.
27 photos · 2,648 views