Sunday, May 17, 2015
Portrait of Dorothy Catherine Draper – The first human portrait taken in the United States
This portrait of Dorothy Catherine Draper was originally taken by her brother Dr. John William Draper (1811-1882) in his Washington Square studio at the New York University in 1839 or 1840, within the first year of Louis Jacques Mande Daguerre's announcement in Paris of his invention of the daguerreotype process. Draper built his own camera and made what may be the first human portrait taken in the United States, after a 65-second exposure. The sitter, his sister Dorothy Draper, had her face powdered with flour in an early attempt to accentuate contrasts.