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COLLECTION Identifier: TCS 39

Harvard Theatre Collection ambrotypes

Scope and Contents

This series includes a wide variety of photographs of theatrical subjects, in the format of ambrotypes. Primarily portraits of individuals and group portraits, but can include other images.


  • 1850-1870

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.


3.25 linear feet (7 boxes)

Biographical / Historical

Ambrotypes are photographs produced by mounting a negative (made by a variant of the wet collodion process) that is on glass with a dark backing, which makes the image appear as a positive. Came into wide use in the United States in the early 1850s. By the mid-1860s the ambrotype was supplanted by the tintype and other processes. Ambroytpes were often hand-colored and kept in cases.


Arranged in alphabetical order by name of subject of image.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

No accession number. Various sources, various dates.

Processing Information

Processed by Diana Myers, 2018.

Harvard Theatre Collection ambrotypes, 1850-1870 (TCS 39): Guide.
Houghton Library, Harvard University.
October 1, 2018
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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Harvard University
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