Robert Cornelius project materials laid out

Robert Cornelius Daguerreotype Project

Advancing knowledge, increasing access

The Robert Cornelius Daguerreotype Database Project aims to create an online database of the extant photographs of Robert Cornelius. Credited with taking photography's first "selfie," Cornelius was an early American photographer who made many contributions to the daguerreotype process in the mid-19th century.

The Project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The project team:

  • Rachel Wetzel, former CCAHA Senior Photograph Conservator
  • Adrienne Lundgren, Library of Congress Senior Photograph Conservator
  • Edward Vicenzi, Research Scientist at the Smithsonian’s Museum Conservation Institute
  • Mike Robinson, modern-day daguerreotypist
  • William Stapp, former Curator of Photographs at the National Portrait Gallery
  • Andrew Robb, Head of Special Format Conservation in the Conservation Division of the Library of Congress
  • Beverly Brannan, Curator of 20th-century Documentary Photography at the Library of Congress
  • Sarah Weatherwax, Curator of Prints & Photographs at the Library Company of Philadelphia
  • Paul Messier, Head of Yale University's Lens Media Lab

Learn more about the project from the Facebook page and Instagram account.


The 1830s were a dynamic time in photographic experimentation. On either side of the Atlantic, scientists and amateur hobbyists alike traded techniques and guarded discoveries as they sought to capture the world around them in a still image. The first widely-used method of photography was introduced...