Galleries of Friendship and Fame A History of Nineteenth-Century American Photograph Albums Elizabeth Siegel

Publication date:
01 Jun 2010
Yale University Press
216 pages: 254 x 178mm
49 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


Galleries of Friendship and Fame is the first comprehensive investigation of the origin, development, and practices of 19th-century American photograph albums. In this fascinating book, the author argues that the album—whether functioning as family record, parlor entertainment, social register, national portrait gallery, or advertisement for photography itself—helped transform the nature of self-presentation at the cusp of modernity.

This handsome volume examines carte de visite and cabinet card albums from their introduction in the United States in 1861 through the rise of the snapshot at the century’s end. By examining a wealth of previously overlooked primary materials, this study offers a completely new understanding of photograph albums, revealing how they emerged, how they were marketed and sold, and how families displayed and told stories through them. Galleries of Friendship and Fame addresses the history of technology and innovation, the interconnectedness of the commercial and domestic spheres, and the ways photography helped shape notions of identity, family, and nation in a rapidly changing America.

Elizabeth Siegel is Associate Curator of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago and author of Playing with Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage.

"Siegel discusses the phenomenon and its various aspects thoroughly and accurately and speculates intelligently about causes and consequences in this scholarly, well-researched, well-written book."—W. S. Johnson, CHOICE

"I am pleased to have this book on my shelf. . . . An attractive book. . . . The forty-nine illustrations are appealing and useful, clarifying and elaborating on points Siegel makes in the text."—Sarah McNair Vosmeier, The Register of the Kentucky Historical Society