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Daguerreotype Collection

Identifier: PC-DAG
Collection comprises daguerreotypes, primarily portraits, and also views of cities, towns, and mining areas in California taken between 1839 and 1870. Most daguerreotypes are portraits of early California families and pioneers, such as Maria Paula Rosalia Vallejo Leese and John Augustus Sutter. The collection also contains a seven part, framed panoramic view of San Francicso taken in 1851 and street views of California towns such as Diamond Springs (El Dorado County), Iowa Hill (Placer County), and the Oak Valley House (Yuba County). Images documenting California's Gold Rush are also featured in this collection, including a view of the Madomak Fluming and Mining Company (Yuba County), and a group portrait of Gold Rush era miners. The collection also features unique examples of the format including a stereoscopic view daguerreotype patented by John F. Mascher, and rare encasements such as union cases and ornately designed cases with mother of pearl inlays. The collection holds examples of work from daguerreotypists practicing across the United States, including the following daguerreotypists who had studios in San Francisco: Robert H. Vance, William J. Shew, John Macdonough Ford and Charles F. Hamilton.


  • 1839-1870

Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Materials in this collection, which were created between 1839 and 1870, are in the public domain in the United States. Permission to publish or reproduce is not required.


4.23 linear feet (7 oversize letter document boxes)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Contact reference librarian for information.
Finding Aid to the Daguerreotype Collection
Jaime Henderson
August 2019
Description rules
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the California Historical Society Repository

678 Mission Street
San Francisco CA 94105