The Taft Museum of Art Exhibits Rare 19th-Century Photos of Cincinnati

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Imagine with us, now, an art curator’s dream: an overlooked cache of 19th-century glass-plate negatives is discovered, prints are commissioned, and the images ultimately make their debut at a museum. It only took 130-plus years for this particular dream to come true. Forgotten Cincinnati: Photographs from the 1880s came about when collectors passed along a stash of photos printed from photographer Walt Burton’s trove of antique negatives to the Taft, which the museum has displayed alongside two of the original plates. Taken together, the photos give a rare day-in-the-life glimpse of 1880s Cincinnati, revealing old corners of our city—such as Fourth and Race—that are now built up, altered, or in some cases, gone forever.

Fourth and Race Streets, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, 1888 or 1889.
Fourth and Race Streets, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, 1888 or 1889.

Collection of Mike Hoeting

Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Under Construction, August 4,1888, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from original glass plate negative, 1888.
Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad Bridge, Under Construction, August 4,1888, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from original glass plate negative, 1888.

Collection of Jeffrey J. McClorey

Christie Chapel, Court & Wesley Avenues, West End, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, between 1888 and 1892.
Christie Chapel, Court & Wesley Avenues, West End, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, between 1888 and 1892.

Collection of Mike Hoeting

Looking East along the Ohio River, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, late 1880s.
Looking East along the Ohio River, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, late 1880s.

Collection of Mike Hoeting

Fourth and Race Streets, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, 1888 or 1889.
Fourth and Race Streets, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, 1888 or 1889.

Collection of Mike Hoeting

7th and Plum Streets with Streetcar Track and St. Paul's Cathedral, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, late 1880s.
7th and Plum Streets with Streetcar Track and St. Paul’s Cathedral, gelatin silver contact print, 2013, from glass-plate negative, late 1880s.

Collection of Jeffrey J. McClorey

Thru March 5, Taft Museum of Art, taftmuseum.org

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