Posts tagged ‘1860s’

Polar Hayes: The Life and Contributions of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D. (American Philosophical Society Memoir 262, ISBN: 9780871692627)

Polar Hayes: The Life and Contributions of Isaac Israel Hayes, M.D.
(American Philosophical Society Memoir, ISBN: 9780871692627)
by Douglas W. Wamsley (Hardcover, 547 pages, 2009, $75.00)

Polar Hayes
In the mid-19th century as an ambitious young country expanded its horizons westward, Dr. Isaac Israel Hayes, a young physician from an Orthodox Quaker family in the rural farmland of Pennsylvania, turned his eyes to the North.

As a member of the harrowing American arctic expedition under the command of Dr. Elisha Kent Kane in search of the lost British explorer Sir John Franklin, Hayes became obsessed with making his own mark in the far northern polar regions.

He organized his own privately funded voyage to the Arctic in 1860, during which he claimed to have reached a ‘farthest north’ and to have stood on the edge of the fabled “Open Polar Sea,” a mythical ice-free zone in the high northern latitudes.

Through his own hard fought experiences, combined with the knowledge learned from native Greenlanders or Polar Eskimos, he successfully influenced the course of Arctic discovery, causing perceptive explorers to follow his guidance and lead. Directing the same ambition to humanitarian and social causes, during the devastating U.S. Civil War and as an elected politician in New York State during its Gilded Age, Hayes served the ‘public good’ for a decade, with accomplishments as far reaching as his Arctic service, but little recognized even during his lifetime.

In this book, which draws upon Hayes family papers, the little viewed diaries from Hayes’s own expeditions, as well as other unpublished primary sources, the story emerges of a remarkable but forgotten explorer, writer, politician, and humanitarian who epitomized the rugged and restless spirit of adventure and individualism of 19th-century America. Illustrations.

“Polar Hayes” has been nominated for the 2010 William Mills Prize [PDF], which honors the best Arctic or Antarctic nonfiction books published throughout the world, according to the Polar Libraries Bulletin.

“All aspects of Hayes’ life are packaged in a marvelously researched book that effectively uses valuable primary source material, some of it newly discovered,” writes Hal Vogel in Arctic Magazine (December 2009) [PDF]. “Wamsley’s thorough knowledge of his subject and environment can often be seen when he refers to collateral polar events and personalities that were influenced by Hayes.

“His descriptions of the Kane expedition from the perspective of Dr. Hayes are especially noteworthy. They alone make a worthwhile read. Dr. I.I. Hayes lacked a biography, but deserved one. Now he has one that deserves its place among our best polar biographical literature.”

“Lawyer and independent scholar Wamsley has written and lectured extensively on 19th-century Arctic exploration and explorers,” writes Book News in a review. “Here he narrates how Hayes (1832-81), a Quaker physician from rural Pennsylvania, got a taste of Arctic exploration early then became a leading advocate of it as a means of advancing science and geography. Overcoming public apathy, he organized and led the first privately funded American expedition to find the North Pole, thus initiating the modern pole race.”

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July 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm Leave a comment

Tintype in America, 1856-1880 (American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-2, ISBN: 0871699729)


Read more about our selection of books on 19th century photography. >>


Tintype in America, 1856-1880
(American Philosophical Society Transaction 97-2, ISBN: 0871699729)
by Janice G. Schimmelman (Paperback, 270 pages, 2007, $29.00)

Tintype in AmericaA history of the ferrotype or tintype in American photography, from its origin in the 1850s until 1880.

Schimmelman, Professor of Art History, presents a history of the technological development of the tintype and its manufacture, and touches upon a number of issues relating to the cultural and social aspects of the tintype. She lays an interesting groundwork for thinking about the class dimensions of Victorian aesthetics and about the political economy of taste.

The heart of the book is the extended accounts of the improvements in the presentation of the images and of the inventors and businessmen who made the improvements and advanced their careers in the business. Raises important issues in art history and the history of photography. Includes over 200 reproductions of actual tintypes.

[A]n excellent resource for collectors, researchers, and nineteenth-century photography enthusiasts,” writes Dennis O. Williams in The Daguerreian Society Newsletter (20:2, May-July 2008) [PDF].

“Schimmelman guides the reader through the book in a chronological fashion that the reader can easily follow. Through the writing of this text, her passion for the photographic history of the tintype has indeed been preserved. The organization of the book is splendid. Along with the wealth of written history to complement the story, Schimmelman includes examples of patent drawings and photographic advertisements. Exemplifying the depth of research that went into this book, a reference section concludes each chapter. ”

People posing for tintypes.
Tintype in America, 1856-1880, p.48.

The journal Early Popular Visual Culture (8:2, May 2010) adds: “This is not the only book on the tintype photograph, but it is probably the most comprehensive, being based on years of collecting and research by the author, with information culled from books, photographic journals and newspapers.”

“As the author puts it, these images offer ‘small windows into American life.’ The book is good on the themes of these photographs, and Chapter 9 is arranged thematically, dealing with such subjects as death and remembrance, Americans at play and work, and beloved children.

“Elsewhere in the book the author covers the invention and development of the process, various kinds of studios and albums, and double exposures, as well as techniques for retouching and colouring tintypes.”

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July 7, 2010 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment


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