Frederick Douglass, one of the most famous abolitionists of the 19th century, is also one of the most widely photographed. However, a mysterious daguerreotype of Douglass is stumping historians. Now, researchers at the University of Rochester are trying to figure out how the early photograph of Douglass ended up in Syracuse.
In late January, the Onandaga Historical Association loaned the full-plate daguerrotype to the River Campus Libraries at the University of Rochester. A daguerreotype is a photograph chemically printed on a piece of metal and was considered the world’s first commercially printed photographic process.