Very rare and fantastic, original, Harvard College (University), 1855 Class Album / Year Book / Photo Album containing 105, Mounted Salt Print Photographs of the 19 Harvard College Faculty Members and 86 (of the 92) Students who were members of the Class of 1855. This album was the very first Class Album / Year Book ever produced with paper print Photographs and is, as far as we can determine, THE only existent example of this very rare Volume. Of the 19 faculty members 14 have signed the page beneath their portrait (including a wonderful signed photograph of a young and vibrant Henry Wadsworth Longfellow) and of the 86 students 76 have signed the page beneath their portrait including Alexander Agassiz, Theodore Lyman, and Robert Treat Paine.
This fantastic and historically important, 1855 Harvard College “Class Book” Photo Album measures approx. 9 5/8” by 12” and is titled in gilt lettering on the spine “Harvard College 1855”. The name of the student that owned the album is printed in gilt lettering on the front cover that reads “Alfred D. Evans”. The Album contains approx. 60, light weight card mount leaves with oval shaped, salt print Photographs mounted one to a leaf on one side only.
The Album begins with Photographs of the faculty members at Harvard in 1855. The first portrait is that of the recently retired President of Jared Sparks (signed below the portrait) and the second photograph is that of James Walker, President of Harvard in 1855 (signed below the portrait). Also included are photographs of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (signed and dated below the portrait), future Harvard President Cornelius Conway Fenton (signed below the portrait) and James Russell Lowell (not signed).
Next the Album contains the portrait photographs of 86 members of the Harvard Class of 1855. Of these 86, 76 students have signed the page below their portrait. The Class of 1855 included numerous graduates who went on to become well known leaders and experts in their fields including such notables as Alexander Agassiz, Theodore Lyman, Phillips Brooks and Robert Treat Paine. Click Here to See a List of the members of the Class of 1855 and to read biographies of each written in 1880.
While we have owned a number of Class Albums from Ivy League Colleges similar to the one offered, this Album is by far the earliest and most important we have handled. The 1855 Harvard Class Album was the first such Volume containing paper print Photographs. Previously a very few Albums / Framed collections of portraits were assembled containing daguerreotype portraits of faculty and class members. We have been unable to locate any examples of this 1855 Harvard Class Album in Library or Museum Collections – the World catalog lists no copies held and we believe that this may be the only existant example of this important Volume.
This exceptionally rare and perhaps unique, 1855 Harvard College Class Photo Album is bound in its original, gilt lettered, black leather covers. Both the front and read boards are present and the covers are intact and sound with light edge wear only. The interior Photo Mount pages are complete but the majority of the leaves are detached. While the majority of the Salt Print Photographs are in very good condition, a number are detached and others do have some water staining. The vast majority of the mounts have varying degrees and amounts of water staining. There is absolutely no question that this historically important Class Album is worthy of a complete, professional restoration and conservation and although the Album does have condition problems, it is complete and “as issued” and deserving of a place at the center of even the most advanced museum quality Collection or Library.
This exceptionally rare and perhaps unique, Harvard College (University), 1855 Class Album / Year Book / Photo Album is offered here, as always without reserve and with the confidence that it will attract the serious attention that it justly deserves.