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Daguerreotypy, an early photographic technique that captured images on a silver-coated copper plate, was an important vehicle for documenting achievements in science and art in the 19th century. Banta, a curator in the Harvard University Library Preservation Center, has studied Harvard's daguerreotypes as part of a recent project to assess the condition and scope of the university's holdings. Mostly, her book discusses the subjects of the pictures, along with some coverage of preservation concerns. Banta is highly effective in relating the daguerreotype process to the interests and social positions of those in the pictures, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, James McNeill Whistler, Henry James, and Harriet Beecher Stowe. The importance of the daguerreotype in recording achievements in medicine and astronomy is also discussed. A brief inventory of Harvard's daguerreotypes is a nice addition. Highly recommended for academic history of photography collections.DEric Linderman, Ida Rupp P.L., Port Clinton, OH
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Banta’s study saves daguerreotypy from being tossed of as an archival curio by keeping her project relatively simple and steering clear of convoluted aesthetics. She refrains from alienating the reader by refusing to participate in the shop-talk that all too often accompanies artistic discussions.”—Nicole Duclos, Rain Taxi
“Banta is highly effective in relating the daguerreotype process to the interests and social positions of those in the pictures, including Oliver Wendell Holmes, James McNeill Whistler, Henry James, and Harriet Beecher Stoowe… Highly recommended for academic history of photography collections.”—Eric Lindermann, Library Journal