“Oh, infinite volumes of poems that I treasure in this small library of glass and pasteboard!” Writing in 1859, American polymath Oliver Wendell Holmes marveled at the world of monuments, landscapes, and objects seemingly made present through the illusion of stereographs. The invention of photography nearly coincided with the development of stereographic technology, optical devices that melded scientific knowledge with curious wonderment. Photographic stereographs soon became popular. By the turn of the century one major publisher, Underwood & Underwood, was producing 25,000 images per day, industrializing a medium that promised to bring the world closer than ever before.
Gallery label from 2019