Since the publishing of an article in the University of the Sciences Bulletin in spring 2007, and subsequent exhibition at the Marvin Samson Center for the History of Pharmacy, a new discovery has surfaced on alumnus and famed photographer Frederick Gutekunst P’1853.
A Gutekunst daguerreotype has surfaced in the collection of William B. Becker, Director of PhotographyMuseum.com. The daguerreotype bears Gutekunst’s business stamp with the address of his studio at 706 Arch Street. This is the first example of a daguerreotype by Gutekunst that has come to light.
Until recently no daguerreotype photography could even be attributed to Gutekunst. Documentary evidence now indicates that soon after receiving his diploma, Gutekunst contributed several daguerreotypes to the Franklin Institute’s 23rd Exhibition of American Manufacturers.
The daguerreotype is the earliest practical means of photography. Descriptions reached Philadelphia from Paris on September 25, 1839. That same day, Joseph Saxton created the first photograph in city history. The day also coincided with Frederick Gutekunst’s eighth birthday! Saxton’s daguerreotype is now preserved at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania as the oldest surviving photograph in America.
A daguerreotype is a labor intensive process that utilizes direct photographic imagery upon sheets of silver plated copper. The process creates a unique one-off image with a distinctive mirror surface which can not be directly duplicated.
Many thanks go out to Mr. Becker for sharing his daguerreotype with us.
Photo Credit: © Wm. B. Becker Collection/PhotographyMuseum.com