Columbia Library columns (v.39(1989Nov-1990May))

(New York :  Friends of the Columbia Libraries.  )



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  v.39,no.2(1990:Feb): Page 22  

Nineteenth-Century Photography
at Columbia

In 1839 the announcement of Daguerre's process for making
unique, positive images on silver-coated copper plates was fol¬
lowed several weeks later by the presentation of Fox Talbot's
paper outlining his method for producing paper negatives from
which unlimited numbers of positive prints could be made. Com¬
memorating the 150th anniversary of photography, the Libraries
mounted in September 1989 an exhibition of photographic trea¬
sures, entitled "Nineteenth-Century Photography at Columbia
University," that was on view in the Rotunda of Low Memorial
Library. The exhibition was curated by Herbert Mitchell of the
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library and by Sarah Elliston
Weiner ofthe Office of Art Properties.

Avery Library, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbiana,
and Art Properties are the chief repositories of early photographs at
the University. From Avery's rich holdings came some rare salted
paper prints such as the view of New York's Crystal Palace and Vic¬
tor Prevost's Chateau of Pierrefonds, the magnificent album of
views of New Orleans by George Frangois Mugnier, and the deli¬
cate image of foliage by Frank Lloyd Wright. An outstanding group
of prints in the Columbiana Collection was made by Nathaniel Fish
Moore, eighth president of Columbia College, who after his retire¬
ment became an accomplished amateur photographer. Fox Talbot's
calotype "The Haystack," from Art Properties, was also exhibited,
while a daguerreotype of Edgar Allen Poe, a prized holding of the
Rare Book and Manuscript Library, was on view in Butler Library.

For the richness and range of its nineteenth-century photographic
holdings, Columbia is greatly indebted to Charles Frederick
Chandler, a professor of chemistry at the University from 1864 to
1910, who was an ardent enthusiast ofthe photographic medium in

  v.39,no.2(1990:Feb): Page 22