Story of American College year
( start of commercial mass production of photos in USA) 1850s to 1870.
I believe this commercial use was a major driving force to make paper prints a viable switch from Daguerreotypes in US. Below are some samples of scenes from college year books. They usually included a few scenes as well as all of the graduating senior class and teachers. More details & student samples later. Note, I have had this material in my dead archives for 35 years. Its about time I shared it. This may resided on a separate site linked here if it grows to all the material I have in files.
A Work In Progress ( 1975-present!) Last up dated: 12-26-2002 firstname.lastname@example.org
* How Salt Prints took off as a replacement for Daguerreotypes.
* How ability of making multiple copies of photographs took off as an industry
· College Year Book History related to the use of Photos
· Early Paper Print Photo Use in College Year Books
The Big Nail in the Daguerrean Process Coffin, may photos at cheep price !
What areas of our society need multiple photos ( many of same print)
that opened the door for paper photography development as a business rather
than a amateur hobby. Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes or Tintypes are all one
of a kind photo & are reversed images ( left to right) unless a mirror
was used in the camera.
Its 1839 and Daguerreotypes are flourishing. Its late 1840s and Daguerreotypes are still flourishing in US.
This paper will discuss my findings of how at least one area where multiple photo copies were need that helped bring the paper print business. This is the school year book. I have never seen a high school year book in 1850s ( period of early use of salt prints ), they were all college year books.
At least one college, University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia , was using silhouettes of each student in a year book for 18 ??. There are quite a few colleges that used Daguerreotypes both of class group photos and even each student. These group photos were likely headed for a wall in the school building.
About 1852 colleges in the North East started to use the Salt print process to make multiple books for the graduating students.
Commercial Salt Print Process Development in Atlantic North East US ( Draft #2)
In 1975 period, I made a survey of college archives in New England (
NE) and surrounding states to determine what dates and processes were in
use. I already knew colleges were using photo prints early to produce year
books. Both the college archives and their year book collection were reviewed
for data. I started by identifing all thirty six (36) colleges in NE that
were founded prior to 1860. This was a logical cut off date when albumen
was in full use in NE. Thirty four (34) of these colleges had senior classes
graduating by 1852 and would therefore give me a good data base at the
early salt print process of pre 1853. I did not visit all 34
college archives ( ?%), but other East Coast colleges were visited that met the same selection criteria. This both extended the geobase and aided in filled in some gaps. See Table I for a summary of this survey.
Background Information In the USA , Draper experiments were most likely
the first paper photography in this country. The Langenheims were of course
an undisputed first by securing the US patent rights for the Calotype process
from Talbot in May 1849. Philadelphia then became the cradle of American
commercial Paper prints, however no one would purchase the rights from
him because of both the high price and customer were satisfied with the
Daguerreotype process. This above summary can be further read in many texts
including Daguerreotype in American and Photography and the American Scene.
The process had been experimented with by many commercial and amateur photographers
and was likely felt as another tax type idea out of England we had fought
for in the years past.
The print out paper was not able to be patented as this photogenic paper had been used for years prior to photography to make outlines of tree leaves and plants.
This left only the development of the wet glass negative or Collodian process to circumvent the patent of Talbot. By 1854 Talbot did not renew his patent because it was obsolete do to the Collodion process which he tried unsuccessfully to claim to be covered under his patent. My investigation has been in the early commercial use in the USA, mainly the pre 1860 period which was the basic period of the salt print prior to Albumen print introduction., Here in N.E. the earliest paper photographs were done by Whipple in the Boston area in 1853. This can be read in more detail in Taft’s book and seen in the following archives:
My findings show Several photographers were dominating the college year book photo trade in NE. This could have been from quality of price, this issue was not studied. They of course would have to do a bit of travelling both ways. It is not known if they processed ( printed on site), but was unlikely!
Other findings came from this survey. One was that there were some photographers
that made a business of traveling to many schools to photograph the students
and produce the yearly class photo year books. Based on their adds and
my survey, were working this circuit for many productive years. Included
in these photo yearbooks were many times scene photographs of the college
or activities by the students or faculty. Some year books even had photos
of class favorite people of the students such as sales persons who worked
the campus or maintenance people such as black men shown in the Yale college
Williams College--Salt Print
Hopkins Observatory-From 1858 Yr Book