Homes of American Statesmen: with Anecdotal, Personal, and Descriptive Sketches. [First American book with an original photograph]
Issued in Christmas of 1853 as a companion to Homes of American Authors, this 1854 gift book is the “first American book with an original photograph.” (Truthful Lens 87). The book’s various authors examine the lives and residences of 19 prominent statesmen, ranging from the founding fathers to present-day figures.
“The frontispiece consisted of an original salt print photograph (‘crystalotype’) of the Hancock House in Boston. Most copies [e.g., this copy] have a pencil caption added below the photo, describing it as ‘an original sun picture’—capturing a properly exposed image outdoors in natural light [...] This book is often found with Christmas 1853 inscriptions, clearly establishing that this use of photography in a book precedes the photo found in a book once proposed as the first book to use a photographic illustration, Warren’s Remarks on Some Fossil Impressions...” (Kevin MacDonnell)
This copy has the contemporary ownership inscription of George Keyes of Concord, Massachusetts.
Description: Homes of American Statesmen: with Anecdotal, Personal, and Descriptive Sketches. [First American book with an original photograph]
New York: G.P. Putnam and Co. and London: Sampson Low, Son and Co., M.DCCC.LIV . Octavo. First edition. Photograph frontis., extra, engr. t.p., iv, , 469, , [2, (letter in facsimile)], pp. Original gilt-stamped cloth; top edge gilt. Text illustrations and plates plus facsimiles, including some fold-outs. Spine and edges of boards faded; one hinge starting; good.
Refs. MacDonell, “American Gift Books” [within:] Firsts Magazine, December 2001. Sabin 32740.