William C. Darrah collection of cartes-de-visite, 1860-1900

1515

Collection Overview

Title:
William C. Darrah collection of cartes-de-visite
Dates (Inclusive):
1860-1900
Creator:
Darrah, William Culp
Abstract:
Includes 62,608 cartes-de-visite and approximately 200 cabinet cards. U.S. photographers dominate the collection, although the work of photographers from several other countries--including Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Sweden Switzerland--is also represented. Images consist largely of individual and family portraits, but also include some scenic views, Civil War images, and political personalities.
Collection Number:
1515
Size:
110 Linear Feet
Size:
62608 Items
Location:
For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the  library catalog.
Repository:
Special Collections Library. Pennsylvania State University.
Languages:
English

Biographical or Historical Note

William C. Darrah (1909-1989), a botanist and geologist, was professor of biology at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. Darrah also authored several books concerning the history of photography.

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Arrangement

The collection is arranged into the following two series: Photographer; Topic and format. The Photographer series is arranged by state or country, and then alphabetically by photographer.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation

[Item Title], William C. Darrah collection of cartes-de-visite, HCLA 1515. Special Collections Library, University Libraries, Pennsylvania State University.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from William C. Darrah, 1989.

Existence and Location of Copies

Select digital reproductions from this collection are available online at William C. Darrah collection of cartes-de-visite, 1860-1900.

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Controlled Access Headings

Personal Name(s)

  • Darrah, William Culp

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Other Finding Aids

An item list for the collection is available upon request.

Additionally, Darrah compiled eleven separate card files to index the collection, which are available at the PSU Special Collections Library: Photographer; Geographic (U.S. and Canada); Geographic (foreign); Technical; Subject; Personalities; Scenic; Imprint; Photographer Topical; Synoptic; and Locality (U.S. and Canada).

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General note

The William C. Darrah Collection includes 62,608 cartes-de-visite assembled systematically over a period of more than thirty years (1954-1988). Darrah chose to collect the carte format in documenting the existence of 19th century photographers due to the fact daguerreotypes and ambrotypes were seldom imprinted or signed by the photographer. Acquisitions were of two types: the purchase of select cartes to illustrate technical and aesthetic aspects of carte-de-visite photography; the purchase of random lots of 100-2,000 cartes from sources in 28 states in order to achieve broad geographic representation.

The U.S. states with the greatest number of cartes-de-visite in the Photographer series are: Massachusetts (11,200); New York (7,300); Pennsylvania (4,600); Illinois (3,300); Ohio (2,800); New Hampshire (1,800); Connecticut (1,650); Maine (1,550); Michigan (1,200); Iowa (1,050); Wisconsin (1,000); New Jersey (850); Indiana (800); California (600); Rhode Island (550).

The U.S. states with the greatest number of individual photographers in the Photographer Series are: New York (2,175); Pennsylvania (2,035); Illinois (1,400); Ohio (1,285); Massachusetts (1,230); Iowa (670); Michigan (560); Wisconsin (485); California (475); Missouri (340); Maine (340); Kansas (320); New Hampshire (300); Vermont (270); Minnesota (260).

There are 3,600 cartes-de-visite representing the work of 2,700 photographers from countries other than the United States. Countries with the greatest number of cartes in the collection include: Great Britain, Germany, France, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Austria, and Switzerland.

Additionally, the topic and format series highlights Native American portraiture, the American Civil War, scenic views, and the work of female photographers.

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Collection Inventory

Click associated checkboxes to select items to request. When you have finished, click the Submit Request button.

Box

1

1

1

1-3

3

3-9

9

9

9

9-10

10

10

10-22

159

22-25

25-29

29-30

30-31

31

31-38

39

40-72

73-77

77-78

78

78-80

80

80

80

81-88

88-91

91

91-114

115

115-125

126

126-147

147-149

149

149-150

150

150

150-154

154

154

154-155

155

155-159

159

177

160

160

160

160-161

178

161

161

161

161

161

161-162

162-164

165-172

173

173

173

173

173

173

173

173

173

173

173

173-174

174

174

174

174

174

174

174

174

174

174-176

176

176

176

176

176

178

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Box

179-189

190-194

196

195

196

197-198

199

199

200-201

201

202-204

205-207

208

209

210-211

212

213

214

215

217-218

216

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