The Young Photographer.
Back of view is blank but it shows the same people as in the previous view: J.T. Heald, Stereoscopic Emporium, 421 Market Street, Wilmington, Delaware.
Tinted stereo-ambrotype of a family group looking at images. The gentleman at left holds a Brewster stereoviewer.
S. Hunter Smith, Abingdon, Ills. S. Hunter Smith is shown with his dulcimer and a Beckers stereoviewer. Image was taken by Roderick Cole of Peoria , Illinois. Born in 1828, Smith was known as “Little Smith, the dulcimer man” and was crippled at a young age and confined to a wheel-chair. Friends gave him a stereoscope and he eventually amassed a collection of over 4,000 views and 50 revolving stereoscopes with which he exhibited to the public. He was happily married and said that the stereoscope made his life worth living. Roderick Cole was a daguerreotypist from Peoria who is best known for his 1858 daguerreotype of Abraham Lincoln. On July 3, 1905, R.M. Cole wrote to Judge McCulloch, one of the founders of the Illinois Historical Library: ‘…the Photo you have of Abraham Lincoln is a copy of a Daguerreotype, that I made in my gallery in this city [Peoria] during the Lincoln and Douglas campaign. I invited him to my gallery to give me a sitting…and when I had my plate ready, he said to me, ‘I cannot see why all you artists want a likeness of me unless it is because I am the homeliest man in the State of Illinois.” Although principally located in Peoria, Ill. in later years, Cole reportedly learned the daguerreotype process in New York City in 1846. He traveled in New York, Vermont, Wisconsin and Illinois, opening a gallery in Galena, Ill. in late 1849. There he advertised daguerreotypes in the front room over the St. Louis Store, corner of Main and Hill Streets. Marrying in 1850, he opened the first permanent gallery in Peoria, Ill. in the fall of that year, at 31 Main Street. From 1854 to 1859 his gallery was on the second floor at 27 Main Street. In 1856 and 1857 he was listed at the corner of Washington and Fayette Streets. In 1858 he noted he had received awards at the state fairs for 1856 and 1857 for the best daguerreotypes, and also noted he was not connected with H.H. Cole in any way (one current source identifies H.H. Cole as his brother). He also advertised the gallery was operated by Mr. and Mrs. R.M. Cole. He sold his gallery to H.H. Cole in 1859, and retired from photography. He ultimately moved to Santa Barbara, Calif.