Key Collecting Areas: Collecting Thoreau

44.  Photographic portrait of Henry David Thoreau, from the 1861 E. S. Dunshee ambrotype. 

Dunchee ambrotype of Thoreau

Undated cabinet card (albumen print mounted on card stock) after the Dunshee ambrotype.  From CFPL Photofile.  Gift of Loring Coleman, 2001.

E. S. Dunshee took the last photographs of Thoreau—two slightly differing ambrotypes—on August 21, 1861, in New Bedford, Massachusetts.  This copy image is from a later cabinet card reproduction of one of the originals.

Late in the nineteenth century, the Concord Antiquarian Society (predecessor of the Concord Museum) held both copies of the Dunshee ambrotype, one a gift from Walton and Anna Ricketson (children of Thoreau’s New Bedford friend Daniel Ricketson), one from George Tolman, who had received it from Sophia Thoreau.  The Sophia Thoreau/George Tolman copy disappeared from the society in 1910 and resurfaced at the auction of the Stephen Wakeman collection in 1924 (it was item number 1049 in the Wakeman catalog).  Its present location is unknown.    


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This image may not be reproduced in any form, including electronic, without permission from the Curator of the William Munroe Special Collections, Concord Free Public Library, Concord, Mass.