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Adams Sherman Hill (1833-1910) was born in Boston and graduated from Harvard University in 1853. After graduation, he passed the New York bar and worked as a law reporter for papers in the city including the “New York Tribune” and “The New York Evening Post”. He also worked for “The Chicago Tribune”. He published articles in the “Atlantic Monthly”, “Putnam’s Monthly Magazine”, “The National American Review”, and “Scribner’s”. Returning to Harvard, he began teaching rhetoric and oratory. He became the Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory. He was the author of many texts: “Principles of Rhetoric”, “Our English”, “Foundations of Rhetoric”, and “Beginnings of Rhetoric and Composition”. It seems he is famous for being a stickler on grammar and writing as well as for having proper manners. He thought after a trip to the “West” (our midwest now), that it was wholly untamed out there, but that it had promise.

In 1853, John Adams Whipple (1822-1891) had the best (or the second best, depending on your preferences) daguerreotype and photography studio in Boston and was one of the premier photographers in the country. Harvard had for several years been sending its senior class to Whipple to have daguerreotypes and salt prints made of each member. Some of these images are extant in the Harvard University Archives. Many colleges and universities in the 19th and early 20th centuries favored certain artists like this. I don’t believe another dag of Hill exists though. Whipple and his later partner James Wallace Black were both marvelous experimenters in the photographic field – with Whipple’s crystallotype, Black’s early salt prints of New England scenery, photographs through microscopes, images of the moon, and Whipple’s 1860 view of Boston taken from a balloon being standouts. In addition to all of that, Whipple’s daguerreotype’s were wonderful.

The sixth plate offered for sale here, of Hill, is presented in one of his typical vignetted styles, in a three-quarter profile. The image has been professionally resealed an is in good condition with some little mold spiders here and there as well as some edge tarnish. The push button case is original and is slightly worn in spots. At the very bottom of the mat, the mat is stamped “Whipple’s Patent.” On the back of the dag (see second scan) is scratched “A.S. Hill”. See third image for a later image of Hill pulled from Wikipedia. This image wasn’t available to me when I owned this image a decade ago. Ah, the benefits of technology!