Fitz, Henry Jr.

A brass refracting telescope by John Bryne, New York, signed and dated 1880 with accessories, box and tripod

p4A ItemID E8942323

Henry Fitz Jr. (1808-1863)

An early experimenter and businessman in the art of the photography, Henry Fitz Jr. of Baltimore opened the first daguerreotype portrait studio in Maryland in the summer of 1840 at 112 Baltimore Street.

Little is know of Fitz’s early commercial photographic work as he is best known to photographic historians through his association with Alexander Wolcott and John Johnson. The latter two collaborated in the development of the Wolcott camera, an early daguerreian camera that used a small reflecting mirror to intensify light, making a faster exposure possible. Fitz was experienced in the optical field and ground and polish the reflector for the Wolcott and Johnson cameras.

In November of 1839, Fitz took a daguerreotype of himself using a Wolcott camera. This early image, now in the Smithsonian Institute, portrays a young man posed with his eyes closed due to the estimated five-minute exposure time in bright light. Fitz’s career as a commercial daguerreotypist was short lived and he only made images until the fall of 1842. He is perhaps better know as a lens-maker, optician and telescope maker of note, later residing in New York City.


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