This talk presents a selection of African American daguerreotypes, cartes de visite, melainotypes, stereoviews and cabinet cards from the Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection, which contains the largest number of portraits of enslaved people from Maryland.
In building his collection over 45 years, Kelbaugh researched the stories behind many of the African Americans in the images. His talk recounts some of the stories and resources used in his research.
Kelbaugh began collecting Civil War photographs in the 1960s and his focus broadened when he began collecting daguerreotypes in 1971. Today his collection numbers over 500 photographs, prints, documents, books, and other three-dimensional objects. Several images originally from the collection now reside in the Library of Congress and National Museum of African American History and Culture.
He is a charter member of the Daguerreian Society and contributor to The Daguerreian Annual. He was the guest curator and lecturer for the “Securing the Shadows: The Daguerreotype in Maryland” exhibit for the 2012 Daguerreian Symposium at the Maryland Historical Society.
His publications include The Directory of Maryland Photographers: 1839-1900, Introduction to Civil War Photographs, Introduction to African American Photographs: 1840-1950, and Maryland’s Civil War Photographs: The Sesquicentennial Collection in 2012. He also guest curated the exhibition and wrote the catalogue for the Maryland Historical Society’s 2006 landmark exhibit “The Civil War in Maryland: An Exhibit of Rare Photographs.”
For the last 10 years he has served as an on-air appraiser for Maryland Public Television’s “Chesapeake Collectibles.” Though retired from teaching American history, he continues as an active collector and researcher today while working on a new book about The Ross J. Kelbaugh Collection of African American History.
Presented on February 13, 2021.