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John Adams Whipple

Also Known as: John A. Whipple

Grafton, Massachusetts 1822

Boston, Massachusetts 1891


An innovative member of photography's first generation, Whipple attempted his first daguerreotype in the winter of 1840, "using a sun-glass for a lens, a candle box for a camera, and the handle of a silver spoon as a substitute for a plate." He experimented widely with the photographic process. With his partner, James Wallace Black, he developed the process for making paper prints from glass negatives (crystalotypes). His photographs of the moon and planets, made as early as 1848, were among the first to be taken of these subjects.

In addition to making portraits for the Whipple and Black studio, Whipple photographed important buildings in and around the Boston area, including the house occupied by General George Washington in 1775 and 1776.

Merry A. Foresta American Photographs: The First Century (Washington, D.C.: National Museum of American Art with the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1996)