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David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography, ca. 1845-1980

Approximately 113,000 photographs and 96 volumes

The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography consists of over 100,000 images in a variety of formats including daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, cartes de visite, cabinet photographs, real photo postcards, stereographs, and mounted and unmounted paper prints. The collection is primarily made up of vernacular photographs of everyday life in Michigan taken by both professional and amateur photographers from the 1840s into the mid-twentieth century. In addition to supporting local history research, the collection has resources for the study of specific events and subjects. Included are images related to lumbering, mining, suburbanization; the industrialization of cities; travel and transportation; the impact of the automobile; the rise of middle-class leisure society; fashion and dress; ethnicity and race; the role of fraternal organizations in society; and the participation of photographers in business, domestic, and social life. The collection is only partially open for research.

The subject contents of different photographic format series within the Tinder collection vary, depending in part upon how each format was historically used, and the date range of that format's popularity. For example, cartes de visite and cased images are most often formal studio portraits, while stereographs are likely to be outdoor views. Cabinet photographs are frequently portraits, but often composed with less formality than the cartes de visite and cased images. The postcards and the mounted prints contain very diverse subjects. The photographers' file contains many important and rare images of photographers, their galleries, promotional images, and the activities of photographers in the field. See individual series descriptions in the Contents List below for more specific details.

Included throughout are images by both professional and amateur photographers, although those by professionals are extant in far greater numbers.


II. Cartes de visite


The David V. Tinder Collection of Michigan Photography Carte de Visite Photographs series includes upwards of 17,000 photographs produced by approximately 1,270 professional photographers from across the state of Michigan between 1859 and ca. 1910. A majority of the subjects are unidentified people of middle and upper classes, with some notable persons, performers, comic poses, occupational portraits, and people of various ethnic backgrounds represented. A smaller number of pictures of objects and outdoor views are also included. Series I includes mostly anonymous individual portraits taken by known photographers. The Clements Library has created a complete list of photographers represented in the Tinder cartes de visite: Cartes de visite photographers list. Series II is sorted by subject. For all but the broadest categories (such as children, men, or women), the subject groupings include almost all of the photos in the collection on that subject.