Archibald Slaymaker (1867-1939), the son of Amos Barr Slaymaker, owned and operated the Slaymaker-Whittier Dry Goods Store in Clarke's Gap, Virginia. The Archibald Slaymaker Collection includes carte de visite photographs, black and white prints, and glass plate negatives. The collection is largely family-centric, documenting the home and social life of the Slaymaker family in Virginia's Albemarle County during the years leading up to the Civil War. The collection also includes the typescript of a Slaymaker family history in the 20th century written by Addison Slaymaker, a Tampa resident and the donor of this historic photograph collection.
There are 19 carte de visite photographs in the collection, including shots of Jefferson and Varina Davis, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, John S. Mosby, Braxton Bragg, as well as other Confederate officers. There are also 31 black and white prints and 39 extant glass plate negatives that feature members of the Slaymaker family, African American children and families, houses, and buildings in Clarke's Gap. 46 of the original glass plate negatives have been digitized and are available online.
Invented and patented by Paris photographer Andre Disderi in 1854, the carte de visit, or card photograph, is a small photographic print, usually consisting of an albumen print mounted onto card stock. Carte de Visites are 2⅛ by 3½ inches, with paper mounts running slightly larger at 2½ by 4 inches. The process of creating and mounting cartes de visite did not become common in America until the 1860s, but by the Civil War they were enormously popular. Cartes de visite of notable figures became popular collector's items; on the home front, these portable portraits provided family keepsakes.
This collection includes fragile materials. Please contact Special Collections for more information on accessing the physical collection or use the digital surrogates available here.