Cincinnati Panorama of 1848

Patricia M. Van Skaik, Manager, History and Genealogy Department, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, was the keynote speaker at the Ontario Library Association Pre-Conference for the Ontario Genealogical Society Conference in 2010.

Her keynote address was called “Genealogy Data Buried in a Photograph: How One Library Brought Hidden Resources to Life.” The description of the lecture was “In 1848, Charles Fontayne and William Porter captured the earliest photographic representation of a city in North America. When 21st century technology was applied to the photograph, it revealed slices of life previously invisible to the naked eye. In addition, the Panorama links to a treasure of genealogical resources and has filled in research gaps for many family historians.”

It was very interesting to hear how they discovered the secrets hiding within the panorama. She left you wanting to learn more about what could be found in the panorama.

The Cincinnati Panorama of 1848 is now available to view online. When you click to explore the panorama you are taken to a section of the daguerreotype. If you click on Points of Interest you have several choices. Choose the point of interest you want to investigate further and you get a close up of the image.

One image has a point of interest called “Housework (Columbia Street between Ludlow and Lawrence Streets)” which shows laundry hanging on a makeshift clothes line and on the railings of the porch.

A point of interest on another image shows “Man with cart and a horse in the river (near Kentucky Shore).”

It would be nice if they had a transcript of Patricia’s keynote address to go along with this virtual library display.

If you have ancestors who lived in Cincinnati in 1848 this is a wonderful treasure to explore.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

  1. Heather Wilkinson Rojo’s avatar

    I saw Pat’s lecture on this photograph at the NERGC conference in April at Springfield, Massachusetts. I was fascinated, and spent much time that night on line at the Library of Cincinnatti website!

  2. Ruth Blair’s avatar

    It is a great lecture isn’t it Heather. It would be nice to see a video of the presentation on the panorama website. It would add to the experience.

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