August 26th is National Dog Day!
What better way to celebrate than by sharing a unique, dog-centric artifact from our library. This daguerreotype of an unidentified dog (PR-012-2-263) has the formality of a portrait. The animal’s pose and eye contact with the camera (and us as viewers) personifies it.
One of our ongoing preservation projects includes rehousing the photographs in the New-York Historical Society’s Cased Image File, PR-12. This collection is made up of early photograph formats such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and other non-paper formats. Daguerreotypes are direct positives on silver coated metal plates. The exposed plate is developed with mercury vapors and fixed with sodium thiosulfate. Since no negative is created in the process, each photograph is unique. The finished images were stored and displayed in small decorative cases, many of which are preserved in this collection.
Other images containing dogs in PR-12:
Our conservation efforts focus on providing protective secondary enclosures and storing the collection in an environmentally controlled space. Each item is fitted into a custom made wrapper, made to fit precisely into an archival storage box. This storage system was designed in 2015 by Laura Panadero, during her studies in conservation at the New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts. An earlier post about this project can be found here.
This post is by Katarzyna Bator, Assistant Conservator.