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John William Draper
Unitarian Congregational Church of the Messiah, Broadway, New York
Daguerreotype, 1/4 plate
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Id number: PG*72.72.B155, Catalog number: 72.72.B155, Accession number: 304826
Daguerreotype of Unitarian Congregational Church, New York City. On the Washington Square campus of the New York University, Samuel F.B. Morse and Dr. John W. Draper operated together one of the first American photographic studios for a short time, from 1839 to the early 1840s. Collaborating on this quarter-plate daguerreotype, the partners achieved a clear photograph of the Unitarian Congregational Church of the Messiah, on the east side of Broadway across Waverly Place, New York City, from their rooftop studio in the fall of 1839 or winter of 1840. Morse quickly refocused his professional career on the perfection of a working telegraph, while Dr. Draper continued to work in scientific photography with his sons for the remainder of his academic career at the University.
Curatorial Note 10.24.2013: It may be contested that this image is taken from a rooftop because so much of the street is visable. It can be argued that the camera was at ground level. stp