[Students from the Emerson School for Girls],

Southworth and Hawes American

This first photographic process invented by Louis Daguerre (1787-1851) spread rapidly around the world after its presentation to the public in Paris in 1839. Exposed in a camera obscura and developed in mercury vapors, each highly polished silvered copper plate is a unique photograph that, viewed in proper light, exhibits extraordinary detail and three-dimensionality.
The Boston partnership of Southworth and Hawes produced the finest portrait daguerreotypes in America for leading political, intellectual, and artistic figures. While at first glance, this group portrait of twenty-five unidentified young women may appear to be a haphazard confluence of bodies, the composition is carefully orchestrated as a series of diagonals and pyramids, as in the truncated pyramid formed by the eighteen seated and standing figures on the right-hand side of the picture.

Not on view

Public Domain

Object Details

Photography Studio: Southworth and Hawes (American, active 1843–1863)

Artist: Albert Sands Southworth (American, West Fairlee, Vermont 1811–1894 Charlestown, Massachusetts)

Artist: Josiah Johnson Hawes (American, Wayland, Massachusetts 1808–1901 Crawford Notch, New Hampshire)

Date: ca. 1850

Medium: Daguerreotype

Dimensions: 16.5 x 21.6 cm (6 1/2 x 8 1/2 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of I. N. Phelps Stokes, Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, 1937

Accession Number: 37.14.56

Marking: Hallmark, BR: Doublé / J.P. [see Spirit of Fact (Sobieszek and Appel, 1976) #9, p. 153]
Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes, or Edward S. Hawes, Alice Mary Hawes, and Marion Augusta Hawes; [Holman's Print Shop, Boston]; I.N. Phelps Stokes, New York, 1937

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Hawes-Stokes Collection of American Daguerreotypes by Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes," November 4, 1939–December 7, 1939.

George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. "The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotype of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862," February 1976–June 1976.

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. "The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotype of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862," July 1976–December 1976.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotype of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862," January 1977–February 1977.

Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," February 11, 1989–April 30, 1989.

Canberra. National Gallery of Australia. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," June 17, 1989–August 27, 1989.

London. Royal Academy of Arts. "The Art of Photography 1839-1989," September 23, 1989–December 23, 1989.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Johnson Gallery, Selections from the Collection 53," January 26, 2010–April 25, 2010.

Sobieszek, Robert A., and Odette M. Appel. The Spirit of Fact: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes, 1843–1862. Rochester: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, 1976. no. 80.

Romer, Grant B., and Brian Wallis, ed. Young America: The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes. New York: George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film, 2005. no. 1733.