Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
The photographs in the Baltimore Collection were found in Maryland by Neil, Reba, and Jessica Porter. There is no further information about the photographs' history before they were found by the Porters. The majority feature Black individuals, although most of these individuals have not been identified.
In fall 2017, the photographs were used in the University of Delaware course AFRA 467: Curating Hidden Collections & the Black Archive. Students examined the photographs and their markings and made some determinations as to the identities of the sitters, the names of the studios, and the locations where the photographs were taken. The students then digitized the photographs with help from library and museum staff members, adding the information they had found to the description of each image. The students also created a website documenting their work and reflecting on the project, which can be found at the following link: https://sites.udel.edu/baltimorecollection/.
The Baltimore Collection consists of fifty-three photographic portraits in several print formats, including tintypes, albumen prints, matte collodion prints, silver gelatin printing-out prints, silver gelatin developing-out prints, and a halftone. Several have been mounted as cabinet cards, cartes-de-visite, and postcards. Many cards feature printed or handwritten text, which ranges from product advertisements to photography studio information to personal notes. All of the photographs were taken between 1850 and 1950, although the exact date for most of the images is unknown. The dates provided for the photographs were estimated by the students of the AFRA 467 class based on such factors as the clothing styles of those pictured, the identified studios' years of operation, and other research.
The individuals in the photographs--the majority of whom are Black--include adults and children in various poses, wearing a wide range of fashions from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most of the photographs were taken in a studio, although some were taken outside. Many of the studio photographs also feature props or novelty backdrops. The vast majority of the photographs are of just one individual, with only five featuring two or more people. Although the identities of the individuals pictured are largely unknown, a small number of the portraits are accompanied by complete or partial names.
The photographs are arranged by identified location, although the location where many of the images were taken has not been determined. The identified locations consist of Baltimore and greater Maryland; Atlantic City, New Jersey; New York; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Washington, D.C. The majority of photographs were either taken in Baltimore or in an undetermined location.
Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)
Gift of Neil, Reba, and Jessica Porter, 2001
Digital copies of the photographs in the collection, along with student-created metadata, are available through the University of Delaware Library's Digital Collections at Artstor.
Transfer from University of Delaware Museums, November 2019
Processed and encoded by Shelby Daniels-Young, April-May 2020.
Anyone with information regarding the identities of the individuals in the photographs is asked to please contact the Special Collections department at: https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec.
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2020 November 19
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
- Use Restrictions
Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
Identified studios/photographers: William Keyes Bachrach, Baltimore Photographic Company; Blessing & Kuhn; Egbert G. Fowx Photography Studio; William Getz; Lewis Gwynn; Julius Hebbel; Arthur Laidler Macbeth; Monumental Art Studio; Harry A. Plumley; Proctor and Finley; Albert L. Rogers; Dora Russell; M. Stahn Photography.Physical Description
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0018, 2001.0017.0024, 2001.0017.0026, 2001.0017.0047, 2001.0017.0049, 2001.0017.0051.Physical Description
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0002, 2001.0017.0020, 2001.0017.0021, 2001.0017.0046.Physical Description
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0004, 2001.0017.0006, 2001.0017.0008, 2001.0017.0014, 2001.0017.0015, 2001.0017.0016, 2001.0017.0022, 2001.0017.0032, 2001.0017.0033, 2001.0017.0036, 2001.0017.0041.Physical Description
Identified studio: Royal Studio.
Identification number: 2001.0017.0010.Physical Description
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0031, 2001.0017.0039.Physical Description
Identification number: 2001.0017.0005.Physical Description
Identified studio: Parlor Gallery.
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0001, 2001.0017.0003, 2001.0017.0017.Physical Description
Identified studios/photographers: C.M. Bell; B. W. Stein Studio.
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0007, 2001.0017.0019.Physical Description
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0009, 2001.0017.0012, 2001.0017.0035, 2001.0017.0040, 2001.0017.0043, 2001.0017.0044, 2001.0017.0045, 2001.0017.0048, 2001.0017.0052, 2001.0017.0053.Physical Description
Identification number: 2001.0017.0013.Physical Description
Identification numbers: 2001.0017.0011, 2001.0017.0023, 2001.0017.0025, 2001.0017.0027, 2001.0017.0028, 2001.0017.0029, 2001.0017.0030, 2001.0017.0034, 2001.0017.0037, 2001.0017.0038, 2001.0017.0042, 2001.0017.0050.Physical Description