The Eagleswood Academy photograph album consists of a single bound volume of carte de visite photographs tucked into the pages along with some gem tintypes, one of which is encased. The album contains slots for four different photographs on each page. There are 169 cartes de visite in the album, all of them studio portraits of either individuals or small groups. There are also a few instances where gem tintypes are placed within the same slot as a carte de visite.
The album appears to have been gifted to Theodore Weld in 1863 from his former students. While many of the photographs were likely present in the album at that time, it appears that other photographs were added through the 1870s and possibly later. The photographs are mostly of Weld's former students, though some are individuals who appear to have no explicit connection with the school.
Enclosed in the album is a folded sheet of paper containing a list of names. Individuals on this list partially correspond to the physical order within the album. The list appears to have been created during the late 1860's and amended up until approximately 1877. Asterisks seem to indicate that the person had passed away, though in some cases the individuals without asterisks on the list had been dead for years prior. It appears that no new entries were added after 1877. The authorship of the list is uncertain, but appears to have been Sarah Grimké Weld Hamilton.
In 1886 Theodore Weld began reaching out to former students for additional photographs to put together in an album. Some of the photographs in this album may come from this period. A January 1, 1899 letter from Sarah Hamilton to her daughter mentions that she received her father's old school album with many pictures of her old classmates and their spouses and children. From this statement it appears that not all the people in the album necessarily went to or taught at Eagleswood.
Three other loose items are also present in the album: an 1895 lithograph portrait of John Adams, a calling card for Mrs. Silas F. Overton, and a calling card for a Miss Moseley.
Some of the photographs within the album have names written on the back, while others offer no clues as to who the person is. Through other sources some of the unnamed individuals in the album have been tentatively identified.
One interesting item of note is the photograph in slot #196 of the album, which has portraits taken many years apart of the same (unidentified) individual on both the front and back of the paper mount.
- A portrait of Charles Burleigh Purvis, African-American doctor and cofounder of Howard Medical School. (slot #53)
- A portrait of Bayard Wilkeson in Civil War uniform. Wilkeson died aged 19 at Gettysburg on July 1, 1863. (slot #85)
- A portrait of Ellen Wright Garrison, daughter of Martha Coffin Wright and niece of Lucretia Coffin Mott, the famed women's-rights activists who organized the 1848 Women's Rights Convention at Seneca Falls, NY. (slot #32)
The Eagleswood album contains penciled inscriptions beneath the various photographs, often times recording the name of the photographer as well as any other information written on the back of the paper mount of the photograph. Researchers should be aware that this information was added by a former member of staff and numerous errors are present. For conservation reasons these inscriptions have not been erased.