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The Last Muster: Rare 19th-Century Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, CdV

As it was America's Independence Day yesterday, I think I can be forgiven for posting this recently published (non-British!) book which celebrates the history of the American Revolution, the early republic, and those Americans who lived long enough to have their pictures taken at the dawn of photography.

The daguerreotype landed stateside from France in 1839. Like the National Archives here, it is possible to search the 1852 U.S. Pension Office report for some thousand original Americans who sat straight-backed for their photographs.

And that's just what photo curator and internationally renown expert on photo identification, Maureen Taylor, did.

The Last Muster is a remarkable work of documentary history and a collection of the most provocative, best preserved, and rare 19th-century photographic images of the Revolutionary War generation. Not only that, the book should also be of interest to photo historians as Ms Taylor comprehensively explains in her introduction, how this project came about, collection of the images, the research involved in dating and identifying each image, investigating the story, as well as, genealogy of each subject.

You can read more about Ms Taylor and her book here.
Happy Independence Day to all those bloggers across the pond !

Photo: George Washington Parke Custis (1781-1857), the adopted son of the nation's first president and grandson of Martha Washington, lived in their shadow. For decades, he wrote newspaper accounts of the daily life of the first family. In this portrait made between 1844 and 1849, in his white waistcoat, confident and relaxed, he shows the posture of a gentleman.

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