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Lieutenant Samuel Treat

In Photographs > Daguerreotypes > Show & Tell and Military and Wartime > Revolutionary War Collectibles > Show & Tell.
Daguerreotypes28 of 40Daguerreotype with Chamfered Box CameraDaguerreotype of an interesting man
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    Posted 9 years ago

    (1 item)

    My 5th great-grandfather, Lieutenant Samuel Treat, served in the militia in Boston, and later at Castle William in Boston Harbor during and after the American Revolution. During this time, he sat for a portrait in his Continental Army uniform. In the 19th century, a daguerreotype was made of the original painting and has been handed down in our family through the years. I inherited it from my grandfather's estate in 2000.

    The black and white photo is of the daguerreotype, and the color photo is a corrected and colorized version of the original portrait based on what I thought it may have looked like. I am very interested in finding out who bought it, where it is now, and who the original artist was.

    From genealogical evidence, I believe the original portrait went from Lt. Treat to his daughter Abigail Thayer (Treat), then to his granddaughter Frances Loomis (Thayer). Frances had one child, Frederick Loomis, but this is where the trail went cold. Frederick never married, and I have no proof he ever owned it. It resurfaced 50 years later in the collection of Herbert R. Lawton of Boston, who sold it at auction as part of his collection in April of 1937. The trail goes cold again at this point.

    I believe the dag may have been made at the request of Abigail Thayer's half-brother, Lucuis Junius Brutus Treat, as it has come down to me from this branch of my family.


    I've added pictures of the case. It's leather with an embossed floral pattern on both sides. The image on the velvet insert on the inside of the front of the case is a lyre featuring elaborate scrollwork. Based on the mat and preserver alone, I suspect it dates back to the early 1850s. I'm almost positive it was made in the Boston area, but I can't find any markings on it to indicate who made it. I know Southworth and Hawes was well-known at the time, but I know there were others operating around that time.

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    1. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      What a great family treasure.

      It was very common to copy earlier "images" whatever form. I have seen copy images of small ivory portraits to large oil paintings.

      A photograph of the entire daguerreotype may reveal the format of the original image. Photographs of the case may also shed some light on the era of the copy image.

    2. scottvez scottvez, 9 years ago
      The matting looks like 1850s.

      At this time period there were numerous photographers in Boston-- I see nothing to suggest S& H or any other photographer for that matter.

      If you haven't taken it out of the case already, it would be worthwhile to take it out. Photographers often left advertising in the cases. There is also the possibility of a family note.

    3. Marshall_Stack, 9 years ago
      I've had it out of the case twice, and couldn't find anything that would identify the maker. The only thing of note was that the corners of the plate were clipped off; I don't know if this was a standard technique, or a hallmark of a particular daguerreotypist. The paper tape is mostly degraded, so the next time I take it apart will be to reseal it.

      Thanks for your help!

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