Archive for June, 2009

Cherokee National Orphan Asylum

Tuesday, June 30th, 2009

by William D. Welge, Research Division Director

Bill Welge here with a bit of important genealogical information for those looking for Cherokee ancestors. On microfilm roll CHN – 66 will be several folders regarding the Cherokee National Orphan Asylum. Occasionally the files will include the names of those individuals who are residents at the home. For instance there is a list of 48 females with their names, age, some with date of birth, what district in the Cherokee Nation they were born, their guardian and the guardian’s Post Office address. This is of particular importance because it is in between the Cherokee 1890 census and the United States census of 1900. The youngest resident is 9 years old and the oldest is 19 years old.

More to come……

Ambrotype Images: 1855-1861

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

by Beverly Mosman, Assistant Photo Archivist

6510 – Ambrotype: Richard Vaill, son of Reverend William F. Vaill. 1862-1936. Dr. Joseph Thoburn Collection

Research by photographers after 1851 led to the development of the Ambrotype in 1854. The Ambrotype used a colloidal emulsion which after processing held the image on glass. A layer of black paint was applied to the back of the glass plate to allow reflected light to display it as a positive image. Usually a brass cover mat and a protective glass plate were placed over the Ambrotype before being sandwiched together inside a protective case the same type and size as the daguerreotype.

The Ambrotype quickly became popular with photographers since the process was easier to prepare and cheaper than the daguerreotype. Production peaked between 1856 and 1857 due to the post production expense of the protective case and the fragility of the image.


23268.CP.A.2 Cherokee Indian Robert Wallace. c. 1858.

Many Ambrotypes are discarded when the black paint on the back side of the glass plate begins to flake. This problem is easily remedied by placing black mat beneath the Ambrotype, emulsion side up. The oval shaped damage in image #23268.CP.A.2 usually occurs when the brass cover mat slides across the emulsion surface on the glass image.

Few examples of Ambrotypes have been found dated after 1864.

The above information was originally gathered by Chester Cowen, Photographic Archivist, Oklahoma Historical Society, from the following references:

Felduebel, Thomas, THE AMBROTYPE OLD & NEW, Graphic Arts Research Center, Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 1980, VIII, 51 pages.

Welling, William, PHOTOGRAPHY IN AMERICA: THE FORMATIVE YEARS 1839-1900, University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, NM, 1978, X!, (3), 431 pages.

What We Lack

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009


by Jill Holt, Curator of Textiles

The purpose of Found in Collections is to share information about interesting items that are in our collections. I am going to stray from that purpose to discuss items that we lack. As we developed our most recent exhibit “Another Hot Oklahoma Night, A Rock and Roll Exhibit,” it became very apparent that we lacked numerous items of clothing in our textile collection. While we have many examples of men’s tuxedos and formal wear, we have relatively few examples of everyday men’s clothing. I had to search diligently to track down blue jeans, cardigan sweaters, sport shirts, penny loafers, and sneakers to add to our collection and be used in the exhibit.

Society has adopted a more casual attitude towards saving and preserving clothing especially men’s clothing. As the curator of the textile collection, I realize the need for us to begin a concerted effort to add to our collection of both men’s and women’s clothing with a focus on clothing from the 1950s to the present. I would like to use this forum to make a plea to the public to consider donating vintage clothing items to the Oklahoma Historical Society. So, clean out your closets and bring us your platform shoes, your tie dye shirts, your go-go boots, your disco shirt, and any other clothes that are in good condition.