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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Looking Ahead: 1850

Looking Ahead: 1850

Circa 1850s sixth-plate daguerreotype, photographer unknown. "Unidentified boy and girl, three-quarter length, seated on upholstered bench." View full size.

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Today's Top 5


In the nanosecond before the hair style, dress and photographic method kicked in, I locked on those stares, noticed peripherally that they were both holding something -- and saw a couple of X-Box gamers.


How did they get the children's eyes to stay open and not blink? Can anyone approximate the amount of time necessary to make this exposure? This is a most amazing photograph, considering that it was made 1n the 1850's. Also what is a sixth-plate daguerreotype?

[Photography was pretty well established by the 1850s. Exposure time for a sixth-plate daguerreotype would have been measured in seconds. - Dave]

Addams Family circa 1850

Pugsley on the left and Wednesday on the right.

It would be very interesting to find out who these children really are but I doubt that will ever happen.

Great mystery you have created with this photo.

I have been visiting the site for quite a while now and this is great seeing old photos from before my time.

Keep up the great work and thank you for sharing.


SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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