Did You Know? 1870’s.

From The Isaac Wetherby Photography Collection

In July 1854, Isaac Wetherby arrived in Iowa City, opening a photography shop in a small second-floor office on Clinton Street. Throughout that first fall in Iowa City, when he wasn’t pre-occupied with customers, Isaac would venture about Clinton Street, experimenting with “non-professional” outdoor pictures – photos which, at the time, had little market value. But today, these outdoor shots have become Wetherby’s best known photographs, and the most history-laden pictures of early Iowa City.

Pictured here it a very rare CDV card from Isaac Wetherby’s Iowa City studio featuring a photo of Old Capitol on University Square. When comparing this photo with other Wetherby shots of Old Capitol – we believe this one was taken in the mid-1870’s.

A CDV – carte de visite – was a type of small photograph (2.5″ x 4″) used in similar ways as passport photos today and usually featured pictures of individuals. This classic shot of Old Capitol was probably placed on a CDV display card and used as a sales sample for those wanting to buy a larger version of the photograph.


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