Daguerreotype to Digital

A Brief History of the Photographic Process

Albumen Prints
Period of Use: 1850 - ca. 1890

Example of albumen

The Albumen print was the most common photographic print used in the nineteenth century, and represents 80% of all surviving 19th century photographs. Albumen prints can vary in color from purple to chocolate brown. They fade to yellow, and the highlights are often yellow. Because the paper was extremely thin, albumen prints were almost always placed on a thick mount. Unmounted prints would curl, crack and/or tear easily.

Example of albumen

Albumen Prints come in a variety of sizes:

  • Carte de Visite—1 1/2" x 2 1/2"
  • Cabinet—6 1/2" x 4 1/2"
  • Promenade—7 1/2" x 3 3/4"
  • Boudoir—8 1/4" x 5"
  • Imperial—10" x 7"
  • Panel—13" x 8"

Examples of Albumen Prints

Example of albumen The camp barber Soldier and boy posing with wooden gun