Sam Houston, Unpublished Ninth Plate Daguerreotypes of the Texas President, Governor and US Senator, and His Wife Margaret Lea Houston

Lot of 2 ninth plate daguerreotypes, one of Sam Houston (1793-1863) and one of his third wife Margaret Lea Houston (1819-1867). Both are unpublished and were given by Margaret Lea Houston to the children of her and Sam's friends John Sage Williams and Amelia Jeanette Day Williams. The John Sage Williams was a Washington, DC, resident who became friends of the Houstons during Sam's tenure as a US Senator (1846-1859) and is the great-great-grandfather of the consignor. His son Charles Fremont Williams, to whom the two daguerreotypes were gifted following Sam's death, was a colonel in US Marine Corps and worked for the Bureau of Printing and Engraving during the Lincoln administration.

Harold Pfister's Facing the Light: Historic American Portrait Daguerreotypes, published by the Smithsonian for the National Portrait Gallery and  considered the authoritative resource regarding daguerreotypes of prominent Americans, lists seven located and 11 unlocated original photographic portraits of Sam Houston, and the image offered here appears on neither list. It is very similar to a sixth plate daguerreotype in the Texas State Archives made by an unknown photographer ca 1856-1859, which Pfister notes was probably taken in Texas due to Houston wearing a linen duster. He appears to wear the same duster in the image offered here and is of the same age, with the same confident facial expression, and strikes the same crossed-arms pose. The only difference is the necktie and placement of the arms, so it is likely the two images were taken in the same session, or at least by the same photographer. It may have been taken while Houston was in Texas in the months between his leaving the US Senate and being elected Governor of Texas in 1859.

Accompanying the are other items given by Margaret Lea Williams to Alice G. Williams at the same time as the daguerreotype, including 4.5 x 6 in. trimmed photograph of Margaret Lea Houston, a leather portfolio with gilt designs and lettering, M. HOUSTON TO Alice G. Williams, and three brass desk pieces.


Both are housed in leatherette cases that have glued to a fabric backing for display in a frame.

Estimate: $10,000 - $20,000
Price Realized Including Buyer's Premium

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