An Original Daguerreotype of Oliver Cowdery Identified

During my graduate studies I took on the project of obtaining photographic images of each apostle of this dispensation. The task proved difficult, but I found photographic likeness for all but seven members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. My interest in collecting daguerreotypes has continued since that day, and it has led me to the discovery of what I believe is an original daguerreotype of Oliver Cowdery.

One criterion for authenticating an image is to see if the clothing fashions worn in the photo correspond to the person’s age in that time period. Many websites have viewable copies of daguerreotypes. One of the best sites to find photographs of early clothing styles is the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. On the evening of February 6, 2006, I was studying images thought to contain 1840s clothing styles, when daguerreotype 1363 (fig. 1) came up. This original daguerreotype, located at the Library of Congress Archives in Washington, D.C., was entitled “Unidentified man, half-length portrait, with arm resting on table with tablecloth.” There were also more facts about the daguerreotype on the information page. I surmised that the portrait may contain the image of Oliver Cowdery. As I gave more consideration to this newly discovered image over the next few days, I decided to do a preliminary comparison between the image and other likenesses of Oliver Cowdery.

Published in BYU Studies Quarterly 45:2
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