Free Library of Philadelphia
Photographers Nineteenth century photography was at the junction of art and science, invention and commerce. It was not uncommon in the early days of photography for practitioners to make their own cameras, or reconfigure manufactured ones to suit their needs. Until the advent of the gelatin silver print, most photographers prepared their own papers and plates, using a variety of solutions, depending on the process and effects desired. According to John Coates Browne, writing in 1884 in the History of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia, "To make pictures at that time required hard work, and the chemicals used were not conducive to clean hands or linen" (Brey). The Photographic Society of Philadelphia provided a dynamic forum for both amateur and professional photographers to meet and exchange ideas, making Philadelphia an early center of innovation in this nascent field. Listed below are several of the photographers represented in the Philadelphiana Collection.
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Brey, William and Mary. Philadelphia Photographers 1840-1900: a Directory with Biographical Sketches (Includes a history of the Photographic Society of Philadelphia). Cherry Hill, NJ: Willowdale Press, 1992

Finkel, Kenneth. Nineteenth-Century Photography in Philadelphia: 250 Historic Photographs from the Library Company of Philadelphia. New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1980.

Rudisill, Richard, et al; edited by Peter E. Palmquist. Photographers: a Sourcebook for Historical Research. Nevada City, CA: Carl Mautz Publishing, 2000.