University Archives and Special Collections
Home Policies & Forms Collections Exhibits Genealogy Resources Research Sources
A Medley of Memorabilia
Exhibit DisplaysExhibit Home
Portrait of Samuel D. Gross
An Unknown Instrument
Intubation Case for Adults
A Jefferson Photograph Album
Histories of Jefferson Medical College
A Silver Tray from India
The John Scott Medal
Colored Glass Medicine Bottles
The Founders' Medal
Daguerreotype of Samuel H. Fisler, MD
Oral Specula
A Napoleonic Wine Bottle
S.D. Gross's Manual of Military Surgery

Click on a thumbnail to view its display

Daguerreotype of Samuel H. Fisler, MD

Daguerreotype of Samuel H. Fisler, MD.

Daguerreotype of Samuel H. Fisler, MD

This daguerreotype of Samuel H. Fisler (1813-1893), an 1844 graduate of Jefferson Medical College, was taken at the time of his graduation. Named for its inventor, Louis Jacques Daguerre, the daguerreotype is one of the earliest forms of photography.

Introduced by Daguerre in 1839 the process involved a series of rather involved procedures. First the photographer coated a copper plate with silver then cleaned and polished it. Then the photographer placed the plate in a box and exposed it to iodine fumes for five to thirty minutes. This produced a fine coating of sensitized silver iodide on the plate which was then placed into a camera and exposed to light. After exposure, the photographer placed the plate into another box containing a pan of heated mercury. When the mercury fumes brought forth an image on the plate, it was removed and washed it with a mixture of water and salt or soda then dried over a flame. Each daguerreotype is a unique item since it is a direct positive image without a negative.

This daguerreotype is one example of the portraits preserved in the Art/Photo Collection of the University Archives and Special Collections. The Archives has several others of these relatively rare cased photographs, including an early daguerreotype portrait of Jefferson's founder, Dr. George McClellan.

Many of the images in the Art/Photo Collection have been digitized and placed online as part of the Philadelphia Historical Digital Image Library (PHDIL).

Previous DisplayNext Display

Jefferson home

The University Archives and Special Collections is a unit of
Scott Memorial Library, Thomas Jefferson University
1020 Walnut Street · Philadelphia, PA 19107
215-503-8097 / 215-503-2477

Ask an Archivist
Please send comments about this page to Michael Angelo (
Disclaimer & privacy policy
Copyright ©, Thomas Jefferson University
All rights reserved