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19th Century American Photograph Album

Identifier: GTM-190909

Scope and Contents

American 19th century commercial cartes de visites photograph album in tooled leather covers with ornate brass clasp. Contains 15 albumen print images, mostly cartes de visites of unidentified individual men and women. A few images show young children.


  • circa 1870s

Conditions Governing Access

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers are solely responsible for determining the copyright status of the materials being used, establishing who the copyright owner is, locating the copyright owner, and obtaining permission for intended use.

Biographical / Historical

For additional information on the history of 19th century American photograph albums see “Galleries of Friendship and Fame: a History of Nineteenth-Century American Photograph Albums” by Elizabeth Siegel (Yale University Press, 2010). Library copy available TR501.S537 2019

The history of American photograph albums begins in 1861 when cartes de visites photograph albums became patented; ending in 1888 shortly after the advent of the Kodak camera and the snapshot.

According to Siegel:

The parlor album functioned as a link to the past and to the future, a display of status and social connections, a family genealogy, and a national history. Its history was written in the factory, the photographer’s studio, and the domestic parlor; it was produced by album manufacturers, photographers, and entrepreneurs, as well as by young women participating in a fashionable craze and heads of families recording family images for posterity...By understanding the myriad roles and purposes of the nineteenth-century American photograph album, we begin to understand how the advent of photography has affected who we think we are, and how we show ourselves to others (p.13).


0.10 Cubic Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Metadata Rights Declarations

Immediate Source of Acquisition


19th Century American Photograph Album
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2023: Edited for DACS compliance by John Zarrillo

Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057