The title and identification of the sitters is on the verso of the photograph in pencil on this very large salt print. The commission was set up to monitor the 1856 Presidential elections.
As indentified on the verso, the members include (standing from left to right) Colfax, Ia (Ind.); Watson of Ohio; Maj. Oliver, Mo; Gen. Spinner, NY; (seated left to right): Hickman, Pen; Smith, Al (or all); Israel Washburn, Maine, Chairman; Bingham, Ohio; Stephens, of Ga MC.
Many of the men played important future roles. Stephens became Vice President of the Confederate States; Colfax became VP of the United States under Pres. U.S. Grant, but later became involved in the Credit Mobilier of America scandal; John Armour Bingham was named special judge advocate in the trial of the conspirators against the life of President Lincoln; Francis Spinner was appointed by President Lincoln as Treasurer of the United States and successfully urged the employment of women in the Treasury Department.
Provenance: From the Col. John R. Johnston album. Johnston was a colorist and painter for the Jessie Whitehurst studios in the late 1850s. He was also a performer and a singer. Because his collection of images has a number of performers/actors in it, it is possible that some were acquaintances of Johnston's, whom he shared billings with. It is possible that he also practiced photography himself as an amateur and an aid to his portrait and landscape work. The family originally lived in Cincinnati and then moved to Baltimore around 1855-56. The album was put together during the mid to late 1850s.
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Medium Salt print from wet plate negative
Photo Date 1856c Print Date 1856c
Dimensions 9-1/2 x 12-5/8 in. (241 x 321 mm)
Photo Country United States (USA)
Photographer Country United States (USA)
Contemporary Works / Vintage Works, Ltd.