Sep 28, 2017 - Sale 2455

Sale 2455 - Lot 214

Price Realized: $ 11,250
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 15,000
(PHOTOGRAPHY.) McClees, James E. McClees' Gallery of Photographic Portraits of the Senators, Representatives & Delegates of the Thirty-Fifth Congress. 292 [of 293] salted paper prints plus one duplicate. [6], iii pages of printed front matter. 8vo, publisher's 1/2 morocco, moderate wear; lacking front free endpaper, lacking Capitol frontispiece, closed tear through second portrait (Hamlin) with early repair, minor wear to a few others, minor finger-soiling; small photograph of a Union soldier captioned "Johnson" mounted on front pastedown. Washington, [1859]

Additional Details

one of the earliest photographically illustrated books published in the united states (the first appeared in 1853), and probably the most lavishly illustrated one published before the Civil War. James Earle McClees (1821-1887) was primarily a Philadelphia photographer, but these photographs were done at his satellite studio in Washington by him and his assistant Julian Vannerson. The images are printed directly onto the leaves and bound, rather than mounted into the volume.
The frontispiece is an image of the United States Capitol, followed by a title page, 4 index pages, and one leaf for each of 311 congressmen. 292 of these congressmen are depicted with salted paper prints, and captioned with facsimile manuscript signatures. As with other known copies of this work, the remaining 19 congressmen are represented only by their facsimile signatures on otherwise blank pages.
The 35th Congress met from March 1857 to March 1859, with Democratic majorities in both houses. During this period, N.Y. Representative Daniel Sickles shot his wife's lover and then made the first successful use of the temporary insanity defense in American history. This Congress also admitted Minnesota and Oregon as new states.
Many of the members of the 35th Congress went on to play leading roles in the Civil War, on both the Union and Confederate sides. Among the better-known members whose photographs appear here are senators Jefferson Davis, Stephen Douglas, Hannibal Hamlin, Samuel Houston, Andrew Johnson, William Seward, and Charles Sumner; and representative Alexander Stephens. The 1859 date stamped on the backstrip appears accurate, as those congressmen who left office early such as Nathaniel Banks do not appear, while those from the new states of Minnesota and Oregon are depicted. Goldschmidt and Naef 110.