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Art History Students Explore the AS Williams III Americana Collection

Students in Dr. Lucy Curzon’s class, Photographic Discourse (ARH 400W), recently visited the AS Williams III Americana Collection to examine 19th-century cartes-de-visite. Cartes-de-viste were usually small albumen print photographs the size of visiting cards that were made and then traded among friends. They became particularly popular in the United States during the Civil War. Curzon’s class was studying these objects as examples of the popularization of photography after its initial patenting in 1839.

The A. S. Williams III Americana Collection, housed at UA’s Gorgas Library, is an extensive collection of Americana. Assembled over forty years by insurance executive and bibliophile A.S. Williams III of Birmingham, Alabama, the collection is an exceptional archive of southern history and literature in size, rarity and scope.

For more information about the programs in the UA Department of Art and Art History, go to this page or contact the department at (205) 348-5967.