Exhibitions/ Art Object

San Francisco

Former Attribution:
Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)
ca. 1850
21.6 x 16.5 cm (8 1/2 x 6 1/2 in.)
Credit Line:
Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937
Accession Number:
Not on view
Until recently, this daguerreotype was attributed to Alfred Sands Southworth (1811-1894), a partner in the Boston-based photography firm Southworth and Hawes, who headed west in 1849 with dreams of finding his fortune in gold. Recent scholarship, however, suggests that Southworth left his camera behind when he set out from Boston and that he purchased this photograph in San Francisco in 1849 or 1850. A number of daguerreotypists in the San Francisco area in the early 1850s made photographic views to compete with the lithographic "bird's-eye" views of the booming gold-rush city.
Inscription: Inscribed in pencil, verso, TC: "San Francisco"

Marking: Hallmark, TL: Doublé / J.P. (see Spirit of Fact #9, p. 153)
Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes; [Holman's Print Shop, Boston]; I.N. Phelps Stokes, New York, 1937

According to Grant Romer, there is no evidence that Southworth had a camera with him in California during his visit there 1849-1850. This is not verified, but letters indicate he had no equipment for making dags and he does not mention making photographs in his letters to his wife. There are three California views in the S&H collection: this one, another full-plate of Beal's Bar, and a 1/2 plate copy of Beal's Bar (Feigenbaum sale). Romer, in conversation with MD and Jessica May, 7/13/2006. See also Romer, et.al., _Young America_ (NY: ICP/Eastman, 2005), p. 465. Cat. no. 1822.

By an unknown maker, this plate was most likely purchased by Albert Southworth in San Francisco, 18749-50.
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