TECHNOLOGY

Fascinating professional portraits from the 19th century in the Library of Congress


Tools: A seamstress poses next to her sewing machine, a music teacher holds his instrument and chimney sweep are depicted with their brushes in fascinating "professional portraits" from the 19th century that were unearthed by the Library of Congress

  • Portraits are kept in the Library of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, which contains millions of prints
  • Snapshots show music teacher with instrument, seamstress with her sewing machine and stonemason with chisel
  • Many of the portraits are early daguerreotypes in which the motif has stood still for up to one and a half minutes

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Fascinating photos in the Library of Congress showed the trend of professional portraits in the 19th century.

In the snapshots between 1840 and 1880, specialists and workers show their careers with the tools of their field.

A music teacher carries his instrument, a seamstress sits next to her sewing machine, and a stonemason imitates the movement of chiseling on a rock in the pictures, which provide a fascinating insight into life in the 19th century.

As photographs became more popular after the development of the camera in 1826, the studios began taking such portraits in the middle of the century.

Some of the portraits below are daguerreotypes printed on silver-plated copper plates. Early versions of this photographic method meant that the subject had to sit still for up to one and a half minutes.

The Library of Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington DC, where the portraits are kept, contains approximately 14.7 million prints and photos, and more than 32 million books.

This professional portrait, taken between 1870 and 1880, shows the music teacher Newton Stevens. It was kept in the Library of Congress and recorded in Schroon Lake, New York

An unknown seamstress sits next to a Grover and Baker sewing machine in 1853. It is a daguerreotype, ie it was printed on a silver-plated copper plate

An unknown seamstress sits next to a Grover and Baker sewing machine in 1853. It is a daguerreotype, ie it was printed on a silver-plated copper plate

These two chimney sweeps, who lived in New York, were portrayed between 1860 and 1870

These two chimney sweeps, who lived in New York, were portrayed between 1860 and 1870

This portrait of a peddler, taken between 1840 and 1860, shows a man holding up two boxes and presumably holding his goods. The man needed a neck brace to evenly distribute the heavy weight

This portrait of a peddler, taken between 1840 and 1860, shows a man holding up two boxes and presumably holding his goods. The man needed a neck brace to evenly distribute the heavy weight

This snapshot shows three foremen from the Phoenix Fire Company and Mechanic Fire Company in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1855

This snapshot shows three foremen from the Phoenix Fire Company and Mechanic Fire Company in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1855

These four shoemakers, who were photographed between 1840 and 1860, hold up various objects to help them with their craft

These four shoemakers, who were photographed between 1840 and 1860, hold up various objects to help them with their craft

This picture shows a sheet metal worker with a mallet between 1851 and 1860

This picture shows a sheet metal worker with a mallet between 1851 and 1860

A seller showed his goods between 1850 and 1860. The daguerreotype was the first publicly available and commercially successful photographic process

A seller showed his goods between 1850 and 1860. The daguerreotype was the first publicly available and commercially successful photographic process

In many professional portraits, craftsmen pretended to work, including this stonemason with a hammer and chisel. It was recorded between 1850 and 1860

In many professional portraits, craftsmen pretended to work, including this stonemason with a hammer and chisel. It was recorded between 1850 and 1860

In this picture, a blacksmith holds a horseshoe with pliers and a hammer in the other between 1850 and 1860

In this picture, a blacksmith holds a horseshoe with pliers and a hammer in the other between 1850 and 1860

Taxidermist Martha A Maxwell appears to be standing next to a dead animal while holding her gun in this 1876 snapshot

Taxidermist Martha A Maxwell appears to be standing next to a dead animal while holding her gun in this 1876 snapshot

Carpenter between 1840 and 1860

Carpenter between 1840 and 1860

This priest decided that his robes were not showing his profession enough, so he held up and pointed to a Bible for this portrait between 1840 and 1860

This priest decided that his robes were not showing his profession enough, so he held up and pointed to a Bible for this portrait between 1840 and 1860

This unidentified surveyor was photographed on a tripod during transit between 1840 and 1860 while holding partitions and a map

This unidentified surveyor was photographed on a tripod during transit between 1840 and 1860 while holding partitions and a map

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