Highlighting the depth of the National Portrait Gallery’s early photography collection, this exhibition will showcase fourteen daguerreotypes—two portraits each—of seven subjects: George Bancroft, Jenny Lind, Zachary Taylor, Frederick Douglass, Jefferson Davis, Daniel Webster, and John Quincy Adams. Only one loan—a daguerreotype of John Quincy Adams from the National Museum of American History—will supplement the Gallery’s collection.
By featuring two portraits of each famous sitter, the exhibition will encourage visitors to consider the ways in which various daguerreotypists approached the same subject and how different the results could be. In addition to discussing the early history of portrait photography, the accompanying text will compare images made for public consumption with those produced as personal keepsakes. Ann Shumard, senior curator of photographs, curates this installation.