Snapshot in Time

Restoration experts make a startling discovery that an 1848 daguerreotype hides a wealth of insight into life in a pre-war riverside town

In 2006, conservator Ralph Wiegandt flipped on his Zeiss Axio stereomicroscope and peered at the surface of an 1848 daguerreotype. The Cincinnati Public Library had entrusted him to clean its prize possession, a rare five-and-a-half-foot-long, eight-plate panorama photograph of the city’s waterfront. Working out of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, he found the image’s surface strewn with corrosive particles, as he had expected. But at the same time extraordinary details from the image jumped out at him: letters on a billboard, a face in a window.Read more »

Out of the Shadow of Ruin

Pride lies at the heart of efforts to renovate a historic district in Cincinnati.

Writing in 1962, Lewis Mumford noted that “The forces that have formed our cities in the past are now almost automatically, by their insensate dynamism, wrecking them.… The prevailing economic and technological forces in the big city have broken away from the ecological pattern, as well as from the moral inhibitions and the social codes and the religious ideals that once, however imperfectly, kept them under some sort of control, and reduced their destructive potentialities.” Read more »