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  Albert S. Southworth and Josiah J. Hawes

Albert S. Southworth (1811–1894)
Josiah J. Hawes (1808-1901)

Albert Sands Southworth and Josiah Johnson Hawes formed a partnership in 1843 and established the photography studio of Southworth & Hawes. The business was located at 5 1/2* Tremont Row, in Boston's Scollay Square. Hawes began his career as a portrait painter and then studied photography in Boston with Francis Fauvel-Gouraud. Southworth was a student of Samuel F.B. Morse.

This partnership was productive for making many valuable portraits during the next twenty years. Equally important to the many historic portraits they produced, were their contributions to the development of the photography process and equipment. Among the more important may be mentioned the invention of the swing polishing plate holder, the double swing-back camera, the reflecting stereoscope, the multiplying camera, and the curtain plate holder. The first stereoscopic views seen in this country were made by Hawes, as was the idea of the vignette.

In the spring of 1846 Southworth & Hawes daguerreotyped the sun in the course of an eclipse, using the object-glass of a telescope as an aid. The pictures were pronounced of surpassing excellence. They also made some fine daguerreotypes of the moon.

Another important invention by Southworth & Hawes was an arrangement of triple lenses by which straight lines could be copied, and which was of considerable service to engravers.

In 1846-1847, Southworth & Hawes together invented a camera by means of which several different pictures could be produced on the axis of the lens successively at different periods.

In 1852 they discovered a method of making stereoscopic views so as to avoid all distortion.

In 1853 they perfected a grand parlor stereoscope presenting pictures of the dimensions of life.

In 1854 they secured a patent for a movable plate-holder which they invented. They also devised a method for softening prints to any degree of mellowness.

In 1857 Mr. Southworth originated a method of photographing disputed handwriting so as to assist in its identification for the legal profession involving disputed, obscure, or partially obliterated handwriting. Mr. Southworth has devoted his almost exclusive attention in this direction for several years post.

In 1862 the partnership dissolved. Hawes continued to make photographs and Southworth went on to lecture about photography.

The work of Southworth & Hawes was of the highest technical and artistic quality. Their history lives on today in the hundreds, if not thousands of images the two premier American daguerreotypists created.

1872, The Phrenological Journal, History of Photography
April 1898, Demorest’s Family Magazine, New York

* Location may have been possibly renamed to 19 Tremont Row in later years.

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2010-01-01 00:00:00

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