2020-01 Putnal
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This lot is closed for bidding. Bidding ended on 1/18/2020
JOHN BROWN "ALBANY" ALBUMEN PHOTOGRAPH. Excessively rare albumen photographic print, 4 1/2" x 6" to larger paper mount, depicting infamous abolitionist JOHN BROWN (1800-1859), best known for his armed takeover of the federal armory at Harpers Ferry in October of 1859, in an attempt to foment an armed slave revolt. The photograph is a chest-up view of Brown, minus his famous beard. It is a version of the "Albany" print, made in February, 1857 by an unknown printer in Albany, New York as an art-enhanced version of an earlier portrait, attributed to photographer Benjamin Battels taken at Akron, Ohio in August, 1855. The Akron image was made during Brown's initial journey from New York to Kansas, during which he raised funds and arms for the violent resistance to slavery which was brewing there at the time. At the end of 1856 and through 1857, following his massacre of pro-slavery settlers at Pottawatomie Creek (May, 1856), Brown returned east to raise additional funds for his cause. At this time, William Barnes, secretary of the New York State Kansas Committee, suggested that Brown sit for a photograph during their meeting in Albany. Brown was by that time suffering the effects of Bell's Palsy (a type of facial paralysis), so he instead commissioned an unknown printer to enhance and reprint the 1855 Akron image. He distributed these retouched, reprinted images during his fundraising tour. One copy, still extant, was inscribed to Franklin Sanborn, one of the "Secret Six" committee which funded Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry. Another copy was given to Brown's daughter, Ruth Brown Thompson, who later donated it to the Chicago Historical Society, at which time she erroneously stated that it was made in 1855. The print presented here is mounted on a 6" x 7 1/2" paper backing, which bears the illegible remnants of a pencil inscription on the reverse. An extremely rare, original view of Brown, in very good to fine condition.
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 Scarce John Brown Albumen Photograph

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Current Bidding
Minimum Bid: $2,000.00
Final prices include buyers premium.: $2,500.00
Estimate: $3,000 - $5,000
Auction closed on Saturday, January 18, 2020.
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