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Jerh. Donovan Rossa ; Bryan Dillon ; Thomas Duggan ; Chas. Underwood O'Connell.
[Thomas A. Larcom photographs collection, 1857-1866 [Mountjoy Prison], Volume 2, 1866, Plate 80]
New York Public Library
Courtesy of The New York Public Library www.nypl.org, Image ID: 1111428
The two albums originally belonged to Sir Thomas Aiskew Larcom (1801-1879), the permanent Under Secretary for Ireland from 1853 to 1869, which includes the period covered by the albums. Harriet Fyffe Richardson (b.1872), author of Pioneer Quakers (1940), provided the albums to Stanford University at an unknown date; New York Public Library acquired them in 1953.
The 1866 volume is slightly larger than 10 x 8 inches, and contains rectangular albumen prints, also about 4 x 3 inches, mounted four to a page with individual captions. Laid inside the second volume is a letter from the photographer (whose signature is illegible) to Larcom: "You asked me some months ago to get you the photographs of the convicted and untried political prisoners who have been confined in Mountjoy. // I now send you a most unique 'Book of Beauty' . . . The camera is bad, but I am about to get a better, a really good one."
Identified as felons and Fenian political prisoners, the subjects of the photographs in these two albums include some of the leaders of the Fenian Brotherhood and its Irish wing, the Irish Republican Brotherhood. One of these, the early activist Jeremiah O'Donovan Rossa (1831-1915), recounted sitting for his portrait:
After being shaven I was led to have my picture taken. The photographer had a large black-painted pasteboard prepared, with my name across it in white, and, pinning it across my breast, he sat me in position. I remained sitting and looking according to instructions until he had done, and he never had the manners to tell-what artists never fail to tell me-that I made an exceedingly good picture. [O'Donovan Rossa's prison life: six years in six English prisons (1874) p.73]