Photographic likenesses in any kind of weather in front of a painted backdrop of the U.S. Capitol


Matthew D. Van Loan, [Unidentified Boy in Front of Painted Backdrop of U.S. Capitol], 1841 (2009.31.1)

To commemorate the birth of Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre yesterday, and the impeachment hearings today, a daguerreotype (sixth plate, 3 1/8 by 2 5/8 inches) of a young person in front of a backdrop of the United States Capitol (a few decades before the bronze “Statue of Freedom” adorned the dome) as seen through a window.

In 1841 he [M. D. Van Loan] went to New York City and opened a daguerreotype studio, being the first man in the United States to make a business of producing portraits by the new process. He continued taking pictures for ten years in New York, and from there went to Philadelphia and later to Washington, engaging in the same business. Subsequently and up to the time of his death, in 1856, he was employed in the custom-house in San Francisco. rootsweb

In the 1840s Van Loan had a studio on the corner of Broadway and Chambers St. An advertisement from the Atlas, July 31, 1842:

PHOTOGRAPHIC LIKENESSES.
BY THE DAGUERREOTYPE PROCESS,
M. D. VAN LOAN, successor to A. S. Wolcott,
UPPER STORY OF GRANITE BUILDING,
Corner of Broadway and Chambers street, (entrance in
Chamber street.) Likenesses taken from 7 A. M. till sundown, in any kind of weather clear, cloudy, or rainy. daguerreotypearchive

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