Daguerreotype, Students and teachers of the Kentucky School for the Blind, early 1850s


Accession Number: 2001.152

Description: Half-plate daguerreotype is enclosed in a wood-frame case with two metal hook-and-eye latches. The outside of the case is covered in leather, embossed with a floral motif. The inside has gilt edges and is lined with floral-patterned red velvet. The daguerreotype has an ornate [brass?] mat and is beneath glass. A woman and six children of varying ages are seated in the foreground; three men are standing behind them. Based on records of the first instructors the men are probably (from left): Bryce Patten, first superintendent of the school; his brother, Otis, who was visually impaired and studied with Dr. Howe at Perkins; and Joseph Smith, the school's music teacher who was blind. The woman and girls have center-parted hair pulled back. One girl's dress has belled sleeves trimmed with wide lace. Another girl wears a neckband. The men are dressed in dark suits. The men on either end have dark bow ties. Vendor dates the picture and case to the 1850s. There were daguerreotypists working in Louisville from the late 1840s.

Medium: Silver-coated metal (dag.); wood, glass, cardboard, metal, velvet, leather

Date: [1850s]

Photographer: [unknown]

History/Provenance: Purchased this from Swann Gallery. The Gallery obtained this item from a librarian/collector.

Credit Line: Museum Purchase, 2001.152

Subjects: Blind children Students Teachers of the blind and visually impaired Photographs