To Make Their Own Way in the World: The Enduring Legacy of the Zealy Daguerreotypes



ISBN: 9781597114783 Category:


To Make Their Own Way in the World is a profound consideration of some of the most challenging images in the history of photography: fifteen daguerreotypes of Alfred, Delia, Drana, Fassena, Jack, Jem, and Renty-men and women of African descent who were enslaved in South Carolina.

Photographed by Joseph T. Zealy for Harvard professor Louis Agassiz in 1850, they were rediscovered at Harvard’s Peabody Museum in 1976. This groundbreaking multidisciplinary volume features essays by prominent scholars who explore such topics as the identities of the people depicted in the daguerreotypes, the close relationship between photography and race, and visual narratives of slavery and its lasting effects. With over two hundred illustrations, including new photography by Carrie Mae Weems, this book frames the Zealy daguerreotypes as works of urgent engagement.

Copublished by Aperture and Peabody Museum Press

Additional information

Weight 1476 g
Dimensions 24.4 x 17.5 cm
Publisher name Aperture Foundation
Publication date 20 January 2021
Number of pages 448
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Ilisa Barbash, Molly Rogers, and Deborah Willis
Dimensions 24.4 x 17.5 cm
Weight 1476 g

Ilisa Barbash is visual anthropology curator at Harvard University's Peabody Museum and author of Where the Roads All End: Photography and Anthropology in the Kalahari (2016).

Molly Rogers is associate director of the Center for the Humanities, New York University, and author of Delia's Tears: Race, Science, and Photography in Nineteenth-Century America (2010).

Deborah Willis is chair of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School of the Arts and co-author of Envisioning Emancipation: Black Americans and the End of Slavery(2013).

Carrie Mae Weems is an influential contemporary American artist and author of The Hampton Project (Aperture, 2001), Kitchen Table Series (2016), and Strategies of Engagement (2018).

Henry Louis Gates Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University.