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Caspar Wistar Miller Photograph Albums, 1888-1892

approximately 172 photographs in 2 albums

The Caspar Wistar Miller photograph albums contain approximately 172 photographs stored in two albums that document travels in the western United States, Alaska, and Europe by Philadelphia-area physician Caspar Wistar Miller during the late 19th-century.

Volume 1 (33.5 x 40 cm) has maroon and black leather covers with “Photographs” stamped in gold on the spine and contains 87 photographs related to Miller’s travels in the western United States and Alaska from May to August of 1888. Many images appear to include glass plate negative numbers. Traveling mostly by rail, Miller’s itinerary and layovers can be tracked from the photographs, almost all of which note the date and location. Miller appears to have held an interest in photos of valleys looking first in one direction (“up”) and then the other (“down”), and he also regularly sought out possibilities for bird’s-eye views of towns. The album opens with a photo of a cantilever bridge in Niagara, New York, before documenting Miller’s time in Pullman, Illinois, where he observed the railroad baron George Pullman’s newly built factory town. It is likely that Miller traveled in Pullman railroad cars during this journey. Subsequent images show scenes from Colorado, New Mexico, and California, where Miller spent a month photographing various towns and cities along the Pacific coast before heading into the Northwest. Included are images of the area surrounding the Las Vegas, New Mexico hot springs; street scenes, historic sites, and Native Americans in Santa Fe; and views of buildings, historic sites and natural scenery in Californian locations including Pasadena, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Yosemite, Monterrey (including views of the Hotel Del Monte), Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and the Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton. Images related to the Northwest include a bird’s-eye view of Portland, Oregon, and a series of photographs of acrobats performing in Tacoma, Washington. Also present are a series of images taken in early July 1888 after Miller joined a few dozen other travelers on a three-week Alaskan cruise exploring inlets, harbors, and villages. Alaskan images include a group portrait of Tlingit women and infants; photos showing a grave totem and totem poles at Fort Wrangell; Tlingit men and women selling wares on a wharf in Juneau; views of Juneau and Sitka; a block house in Sitka; the face of Muir Glacier; a Tlingit camp at Pyramid Harbor; a group portrait of officers in command of the sidewheel steamship “Ancon”; and group portraits of fellow travelers posing with various Tinglit items including a chilkat blanket. A newspaper clipping regarding Alaskan totem poles is also included opposite one of the totem pole images. Photographs taken during Miller’s return home include scenes from Port Townsend, Washington; Yellowstone National Park; and Minnehaha Falls in Minnesota.

Volume 2 (28.5 x 39 cm) also has maroon and black leather covers and contains 85 photographs related to Miller’s European travels between May and August of 1892. The vast majority of these images are high-quality commercially-made photographic prints documenting typical tourist attraction subjects such as historic buildings, street scenes, cathedrals and churches, sculptures, and landscape views. Many of these images were likely produced from glass plate negatives that were originally created in the 1870s and 1880s. A small number of half-tone reproduction images clipped from printed sources are also present. Many of the commercially-produced images include captions within the photographs that provide site information and negative or series numbers, while some also contain blind stamps bearing photographer or studio names. The album begins with images of scenes in Le Havre and Paris, France; the two Le Havre-related photographs appear to have possibly been taken by Miller, while the Parisian views were all purchased from the gallery “A Jeanne D’Arc Paris 3, Place Rivoli, 3.” Most, if not all, of the remaining photographs in the album were also purchased by Miller. Subsequent images include views of sites, sculptures, and Alpine scenery in the Swiss locales of Geneva, Vevey, Montreux, La Tour-de-Peilz, Bern, Zurich, Fribourg, Thun, Oberhofen, Interlaken, and Lucerne. Other Swiss-related images include views of the Lauterbrunnen Valley; the Jungfrau; the Lion of Luzern monument; a wall tower and hotel in Zug; a man operating a dog-powered milk cart; and the Rheinfall. Austrian views include scenes from locations such as Innsbruck, Kufstein, and Rattenberg, while German destinations such as Lindau, Munich, Nuremburg, Heidelberg, Frankfurt am Main, Koblenz, and Cologne are also represented. The back-end of the album contains images from Brussels, Belgium, including another photograph of a dog-powered milk cart.


Charles H. Townsend papers, 1849-1870

0.5 linear feet

The Charles H. Townsend papers are made up of correspondence between Captain Charles Hervey Townsend and his family, who lived in New Haven, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century. The letters concern Townsend's career as a merchant ship captain, the Civil War, and family news. Also included are receipts, newspaper clippings, and a lock of hair.

This collection is made up of correspondence between Captain Charles Hervey Townsend and members of his family, who lived in New Haven, Connecticut, in the mid-19th century. The letters concern Townsend's career as a merchant ship captain, the Civil War, and family news. Also included are receipts, newspaper clippings, and a lock of hair.

The Correspondence series contains letters between Charles Hervey Townsend and members of his family. He wrote approximately 80 letters to his mother from 1849-1859 and received letters from family members throughout the 1850s. Townsend reported on his health and on travels to and from the United States, the Caribbean, and Europe on various merchant vessels, and his family often shared news from Connecticut. Townsend also wrote and received some letters about his finances. From 1860-1865, his correspondence with his mother and brothers largely concerns the Civil War and its influence in Connecticut and London. Members of the Townsend family mentioned the expectation of war as early as November 1860 and commented on military developments throughout the conflict. Their war-era letters are often composed on patriotic stationery. Charles's sister Eliza, who lived in England, wrote about the impact of the war in Europe, and his brother-in-law William mentioned the war's negative effects on trade. In his letters to his family, Charles Townsend discussed the progress of the war, perceived pro-Confederate sentiments in Great Britain, and California's increasing importance to the United States. He continued to receive business correspondence during the war. After the war, the Townsend family corresponded about family news, travel, and Charles's career.

The Financial Records series is made up of 19 bills, receipts, accounts, and other financial records pertaining to Charles Townsend. Many of the transactions took place in Le Havre, France, and related to ship repairs and purchases such as clothing and wine.

The Newspaper Clippings series has undated articles about a Connecticut Civil War soldier wounded at the Battle of Chancellorsville, the possible relocation of the Connecticut state capital, and a letter that General James C. Rice wrote to his mother prior to the Battle of the Wilderness.

The Realia series is comprised of a lock of Eliza Mulford Townsend's hair.


Joseph Titcomb papers, 1861-1869 (majority within 1862-1869)

330 items (0.5 linear feet)

The Joseph Titcomb papers contain the business correspondence of a Maine shipping merchant during the first years of the Civil War and a letterbook of his outgoing correspondence dated 1863-1869. The collection includes three letters from C. Lee Moses, a naval officer, who describes his experiences around Virginia in 1862 and 1863.

The Joseph Titcomb papers contain 329 business letters of a Maine shipping merchant during the first years of the Civil War, plus a letterbook of Titcomb's outgoing correspondence (729 pages) dating from late December 1863 to March 1869. Most of the letters in the collection relate to business matters, including ship charters, insurance policies, and trade. Though many of the letters come from New York, Boston, and other northern ports, much of Titcomb's trade was also carried out internationally; the collection includes notes on trade from various ports throughout Europe, including Le Havre, France, and Swansea, Wales. Several items in the collection are written by George Nowell, who was in charge of the Tropic and who provided periodic updates on the ship's progress and business affairs. Others concern the sale of the Nathaniel Thompson in July 1862, and various business concerns of Titcomb's other ships, including the Golden Eagle, Atlas, and Greenwood.

A series of three letters from C. Lee Moses, a sailing master aboard the Mahaska, concern different engagements of the Union Navy during the Civil War. Moses was often outspoken; for example, "The Galena built at Mystic Conn. is a perfect failure, her sides fall in to such an extent that the batteries have thrown their balls completely through her" (May 23, 1862). He discussed fighting on the James River near Fort Powhatan (May 29, 1862), and his resignation at the prospect of facing a court martial "for striking [a] negro" (September 20, 1862).