The earliest photograph of Portsmouth dates to the 1840s. Long before Brownies, Instamatics, Polaroids and digital cameras -- even before postcards -- there were photographs and tourists willing to buy them. Lewis and Charles Davis were among the first photographers to set up shop in Portsmouth. They recorded thousands of images from 1856-1903 and sold them as heavy-backed "studio" cards and double-imaged stereoscopic cards. The Davis brothers' collection, archived at the Portsmouth Athenaeum, is one of the best existing records of the Seacoast in the Victorian era.
Few homes in the 19th century were without an affordable stereoscopic viewer that presented a "3D" vision of popular scenes. Over 160 of these images from the Davis collection have been published in "Around Portsmouth in the Victorian Era." This sampling includes historic houses, the nearby navy yard, the Isles of Shoals, historic houses, downtown and family scenes. A dozen of the best photos are republished below. (JDR)
Also in our Early Photo Series:
(includes lots of pictures, links, info)
(sold millions of stereocards!)
Victorian Portsmouth Gallery
All photos courtesy Portsmouth Athenaeum from "Around Portsmouth in the Victorian Era," Arcadia Publishing, 1997. Use only with permission.
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Around Portsmouth in the Victorian Era
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