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Early Photographic Formats and Processes in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Historical Context

A tintype of a woman. Tintypes, first known as ferrotypes or melainotypes, were cheap variations of the ambrotype. First described by Adolphe-Alexandre Martin in France in 1853, the tintype was patented by Hamilton Smith in the United States in 1856. Instead of being placed on glass, the collodion emulsion was coated on thin iron sheets that were enameled black. Easy to make and inexpensive to purchase, tintypes were popular among soldiers in the Civil War and remained in use through the 19th century (Ritzenthaler, et. al., 35-36).


E.E. Wilson Photographic Collection, 1855-1953
The E. E. Wilson Photographic Collection consists of images of Wilson, a Corvallis native and Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) alum, as well as his family and friends, the OAC campus, Corvallis, and other locations around the Pacific Northwest. The collection also includes images of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and photos of Siletz tribe members. Tintypes in the collection can be found in Box 05 (#0335, 0439b, 0460e, 0578a, 0720, 0824, 1351-1352, 1355, 1362).

Betty Lynd Thompson Papers, 1916-1980
The Betty Lynd Thompson Papers were created and assembled by Thompson, a dance instructor at Oregon State University from 1927 until her retirement in 1972. The Papers include correspondence; teaching materials and student papers; writings by Thompson on a variety of topics; publications pertaining to dance instruction; dance programs, clippings, and ephemera; photographs; and motion picture films. Tintypes in this collection can be found in Box 05; subjects include Thompson's family and friends.

William Appleman Williams Papers, 1877-2012
William Appleman Williams (1921-1990), an influential American historian and writer, was a member of the History faculty at Oregon State University from 1968-1986. He is regarded to be a founder of the "revisionist school" of American diplomatic history. A prolific author, Williams's The Contours of American History (1961), was named, by the Modern Library, one of the 100 best non-fiction books written in English in the twentieth century. The Williams Papers consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, books, photographs and memorabilia. The tintypes in this collection - found in Box 4.001, Folder 2, and Box 5.001 - are primarily of William's ancestors.

Agnes Gregson Collection, 1870-1971
The Agnes Gregson Collection consists of materials assembled by Gregson primarily documenting her student years at Oregon Agricultural College in the late 1910s and early 1920s. Gregson earned a BS in Home Economics in 1921. The single tintype in this collection is found in Box 01; the subject is unidentified.

Elvin A. Duerst Papers, 1929-1999
The Elvin A. Duerst Papers are comprised of materials relating to his education and career as an international agricultural economist.  The collection includes records from his time as an agricultural economics student at Linfield College, Oregon State College (BS 1937) and the University of Illinois (MS 1939) and materials documenting his professional work in agricultural transportation and infrastructure projects, economic development planning, and foreign aid coordination. The single tintype in this collection features an unidentified couple on a bicycle (Box-folder 53.1).

Mark Clyde Phillips Collection, circa 1857-1961
The Mark Clyde Phillips Collection is comprised of materials generated and collected by Phillips, an Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Superintendent of Heating. Included are materials documenting Phillips' education and career at OAC (1897-1947) including correspondence, course materials, certificates and diplomas, a patent, and professional literature. The collection also contains Phillips family genealogical records and mementos including an autograph book, a manuscript account of the life of James T. Phillips (Mark Clyde's father), and several deeds and patents. Also present are materials documenting the Crawford family (Mark Clyde's second wife), including a genealogical record, an autograph book and photo album, and a scrapbook. Photographic prints, real photo postcards, and a tintype of Mark Clyde Phillips and other members of the Phillips and Crawford families are also present (Box-folder 2.1, image #41).

Edward C. Allworth Photograph Collection, circa 1880s
The Edward C. Allworth Photograph Collection consists of family photos - some formal and some casual - taken by photographers based in Europe and Canada. The collection is comprised of ten cartes de visites, nine cabinet cards, eighteen prints of various types and one hand-colored tintype (Box 01). Several of the studio images included in the collection bear the marks of professional photographers based in Glasgow, Paris and Toronto. While most of the images are studio portraits, the collection does include a handful of candid photos and landscape images.

Digital Resources