William Tipton sample photograph album, ca. 1884-1889
Using These Materials
- The collection is open for research.
- Tipton, William H., 1850-1929
- The William Tipton sample photograph album contains 121 photographs taken by William H. Tipton at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania from circa 1884 to 1889. The images are group shots of former Civil War regiments, veterans, prominent politicians, and others, mainly taken at the Gettysburg battlefield and newly-erected monuments.
- 121 photographs
- Finding aid created by Lauren Seroka, October 2017
- Scope and Content:
The William Tipton sample photograph album contains 121 photographs, originally mounted in an album. For preservation purposes, the photographs were removed from the album and mounted on archival cardstock (34 x 43 cm). Each photograph has been assigned a number corresponding to the original page number. Most pages displayed only one large photograph, but several had multiple smaller images, each of which has been assigned a letter following the page number. In six instances, photographs were originally mounted over other photographs, suggesting that the album was revised over time. Five of these photographs have a large "X" drawn through the image. These images are labeled as "under" + page number. In addition, four loose photographs were tucked between pages, and they are labeled with the page numbers they were between.
The album has a quarter-bound, black leather cover, and the leather spine is missing. The gilt title, though partially illegible, presumambly once read "Photographs, Gettysburg Groups."
The photographs were taken by William H. Tipton on the Gettysburg Battlefield from 1884 to 1889. Some of the pages are stamped with "W.H. Tipton, The Battlefield Photographer, Gettysburg, Pa." The majority of images have captions, either hand-written on the album page or directly on the photographic print, identifying groups and individuals. This album was one of several sample albums showing photographs available for purchase at W.H. Tipton's photo gallery. Original prices are included next to many of the images.
All of the photos in the album are group shots of men, women, and children, ranging from five to over one hundred people. In the majority of images, the men are wearing suits and have ribbons pinned to their chest; however, in some images, the men are dressed in military uniforms. The majority of images are of a particular regiment posing with their unit's monument, often taken at the dedication ceremony. The regiments represented are from many Union states including Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin, with Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and New York regiments appearing most frequently. Although the majority of the images are of veterans and politicians from the Union side of the Civil War, some images include Confederate veterans. The 25th anniversary of the battle was commemorated with a three day reunion in July, 1888 that featured both Union and Confederate veterans. Photos 53-59B depict this reunion on the battlefield and feature Confederate Generals Wade Hampton and James Longstreet, in addition to Union generals, including Warner Miller, Daniel Butterfield, John Hartranft, Joseph Carr, Henry Slocum, Joshua Chamberlain, and Daniel Sickles. Sickles rests on crutches, as he lost his leg while fighting at Gettysburg.
Many of images were taken in either wooded areas or fields, with farms occasionally noticeable in the background. In photo 71, Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College) and its observatory are visible in the background.
Politicians appearing in photos include President Grover Cleveland and Vice President Thomas A. Hendricks (57A), and Vice President Hannibal Hamlin (85). The photos also depict governors and former governors, including Ebenezer J. Ormsbee (Vermont), Elihu E. Jackson (Maryland), Joshua L. Chamberlain (Maine), Joseph R. Bodwell (Maine), James A. Beaver (Pennsylvania), Robert E. Pattison (Pennsylvania), Robert S. Green (New Jersey), Joseph B. Foraker (Ohio), Jeremiah M. Rusk (Wisconsin), Cyrus G. Luce (Michigan), Samuel J. Tilden (New York), John F. Hartranft (Pennsylvania), Wade Hampton (South Carolina), and Lucius Fairchild (Wisconsin). Many of these governors were former generals.
Fraternal organizations are also depicted in the album. Photo 36 is a group shot of the Improved Order of Red Men, specifically the Tonguwa Tribe; members of The Grand Army of the Republic appear in photo 38, and individual members may be present in other images as well.
As there were no African American units or "Colored Troops" at the Battle of Gettysburg, there are very few African Americans appearing in these photos. Photo Under 48 depicts an African American soldier standing next to a group of white soldiers. Photo 46 depicts a group of identified teachers, Native American students, and parents from the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. The majority of Native Americans in this photo are wearing western clothing, with two men wearing traditional Native American dress.
- Biographical / Historical:
William Henry Tipton (1850-1929) was born in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania to Solomon and Elizabeth Kitzmiller Tipton, both natives of Adams County, Pennsylvania. William was the eldest of eight children.
At the age of twelve, two years into the Civil War, he began as an apprentice under Isaac and Charles Tyson at Tysons Brothers' photography studio in Gettysburg. Tipton worked for the Tysons during the Battle of Gettysburg, however, during the battle itself, the Tyson brothers closed up shop, fled Gettysburg, and did not photograph the battlefield until weeks later. According to Tipton's obituary, Tipton assisted Mathew Brady, the famous Civil War photographer, in photographing scenes of the battlefield in the days following.
In 1866, Charles Tyson employed Tipton to run the studio. In October of that year, Tipton and a partner, Robert Myers, purchased the studio, and they renamed the gallery the Tipton and Myers Excelsior Gallery. This partnership lasted until 1873, when Tyson purchased Myers' interests in the studio. Tipton and Tyson remained partners until 1880, when Tipton began running the re-named business, W.H. Tipton Company, by himself. Tipton identified himself as "The Battlefield Photographer," becoming the most prominent photographer of the Gettysburg battlefield for the decades following the war. He photographed the erected monuments on the battlefield, the landscape, the surrounding town, and groups visiting the battlefield, including veterans and tourists. Tipton sold these images to veterans, their families, and tourists from his Gettysburg gallery and through mail order catalogs. Although Tipton is best known for his photographs of Gettysburg, he also traveled to photograph other Civil War battlefields, such as Antietam, Fredericksburg, Petersburg, Spotsylvania and Harpers Ferry. He also served as the main photographer for Pennsylvania College (now Gettysburg College).
Tipton married Mary Elizabeth Little (1852-1921) in 1871, and together they had four children: Beulah, Charles, Bessie, and Esther. They raised their family in Gettysburg, where Tipton remained until his death at the age of 79 on September 20, 1929. William Tipton is buried alongside his wife in Gettysburg's Evergreen Cemetery.
Tipton used his success in his photography business to influence politics and other commercial ventures in Gettysburg. He was elected four times to serve as a representative on Gettysburg's town council, where he earned the name "Boss" Tipton. He used his position to encourage tourism in the town, advantageous for both himself and other local entrepreneurs. In addition to pushing for an electric trolley, he opened Tipton Park, a thirteen-acre amusement park in Devil's Den, which included spaces for amusements, a dance pavilion, refreshments, and his photo gallery. Tipton Park was just one of many tourist ventures in Gettysburg that experienced pushback from veterans. It was eventually bought-out by the War Department in 1901.
In addition to local politics, Tipton was active in the Republican Party. From 1897-1898, Tipton served as a state legislator for Adams County at the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. During the presidential election of 1912, Tipton was one of many Republicans who supported Theodore Roosevelt. In this election he served as a delegate to the "Bull Moose" convention where Roosevelt was nominated for the presidency. Tipton was also a member of the Rotary Club of Gettysburg, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Improved Order of Red Men, Knights Templar, and the Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.
- Acquisition Information:
- Donation by Philip P. Mason, 1998. F-452 .
- Rules or Conventions:
- Finding aid prepared using Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS)
- Additional Descriptive Data:
The Clements Library has many other items pertaining to the regiments and generals depicted in the album. These materials can be found in the library's online catalog.
The Alexander Thompson papers, 1793-1932 contains an address delivered at the unveiling of the 17th Connecticut monument at Gettysburg.
Stereograph views of the Gettysburg battlefield by Tipton are located in the Graphics Division, call number: Photo Div S.16.
The following books are located in the Clements Library and pertain to various regiments' dedication ceremonies at Gettysburg:
Breidenbaugh, Edward Swoyer. The Pennsylvania College Book, 1832-1882. Philadelphia : Lutheran Publication Society, 1882. Contains original albumen print photos by Tipton.
Gettysburg Battlefield Commission. Michigan at Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d and 3rd, 1863. : June 12, 1889. Proceedings incident to the dedication of the Michigan monuments upon the battlefield of Gettysburg, June 12th, 1889, together with a full report of the monument commission, and a detailed statement of the work committed to and performed by it, and the proceedings at the various regimental reunions. Detroit: Winn & Hammond, printers, 1889.
Rawle, William Brooke. Gregg's cavalry fight at Gettysburg: historical address delivered October 15th, 1884, upon the occasion of the dedication of the monumental shaft erected upon the site of the cavalry engagment on the right flank of the Army of the Potomac, July 3d, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg. Philadelphia: s.n., 1884
Click on terms below to find any related finding aids on this site.
Gettysburg, Battle of, Gettysburg, Pa., 1863.
Indians of North America.
Gettysburg Battlefield Memorial Association.
Grand Army of the Republic.
Improved Order of Red Men.
Soldiers' National Cemetery (Gettysburg, Pa.)
United States Indian School (Carlisle, Pa.)
Beaver, James A. (James Addams), 1837-1914.
Bodwell, Joseph R. (Joseph Robinson), 1818-1887.
Burdett, Samuel S. (Samuel Swinfin), 1836-1914.
Butterfield, Daniel, 1831-1901.
Carr, Joseph Bradford, 1828-1895.
Chamberlain, Joshua Lawrence, 1828-1914.
Cleveland, Grover, 1837-1908.
Foraker, Joseph Benson, 1846-1917.
Green, Robert S. (Robert Stockton), 1831-1895.
Gregg, David McMurtrie, 1833-1916.
Hamlin, Charles, 1837-1911.
Hamlin, Hannibal, 1809-1891.
Hampton, Wade, 1818-1902.
Hancock, Winfield Scott, 1824-1886.
Hartranft, John F., 1830-1889.
Hendricks, Thomas A. (Thomas Andrews), 1819-1885.
Jackson, Elihu Emory, 1837-1907.
Longstreet, James, 1821-1904.
Luce, Cyrus Gray, 1824-1905.
Miller, Warner, 1838-1918.
Ormsbee, Ebenezer J. (Ebenezer Jolls), 1834-1924.
Pattison, Robert E. (Robert Emory), 1850-1904.
Rusk, Jeremiah McLain, 1830-1893.
Sickles, Daniel Edgar, 1819-1914.
Slocum, Henry Warner, 1826-1894.
Tilden, Samuel J. (Samuel Jones), 1814-1886.
Tipton, William H., 1850-1929.
Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes, Oklahoma.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Monuments.
United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Veterans.
Using These Materials
The collection is open for research.
- USE & PERMISSIONS:
Copyright status is unknown
- PREFERRED CITATION:
William Tipton Sample Photograph Album, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan