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Double Exposure Two: Stereographic Views of the Jersey Shore (1859 to 1910) and Their Relationship to Pioneer Photography

Author: Moss, George H., Jr.

Description: Sea Bright, New Jersey: Ploughshare Press, 1995. Hard cover with dust jacket. First edition (2,000 copies). $29.95.

Double Exposure Two is a revised and expanded version of Double Exposure, issued in 1971. The original book, considered a classic, is scarce because half the 2,000 copies burned in a warehouse fire and it was never reprinted. Consequently, this publication is most welcome.

George Moss, the official Monmouth County Historian, is a renowned collector and historian of the Monmouth County shore, which was America's most popular tourist area in the mid-Victorian era. Presidents Garfield and Grant and thousands of other Americans made it their summer headquarters, building gingerbread cottages in Asbury Park, Long Branch, Ocean Grove and other towns.

Double Exposure Two is divided into two main sections. The first is a history of photography, tracing the development of the daguerreotype, ambrotype, tintype, and photography on paper (e.g. cartes-de-visite and, especially, the stereograph). Although some of the photographers mentioned and illustrated were from New Jersey, Moss' scope here is quite wide. The outline of this story has often been told before in general and more specialized histories of photography but what makes this section of Double Exposure Two really exciting are the illustrations. Drawing exclusively on his own remarkable collection, Moss provides fascinating examples of images, photographer's labels, newspaper advertisements, and excerpts from early publications. Included is the entire second chapter of Humphrey's, A Practical Manual on the Collodion Process (1857), concerning collodion wet-plate cameras.

The second part of the book addresses stereographs of Monmouth County, by photographers based locally as well as elsewhere. This section is organized alphabetically by photographer and includes a biography of the photographer and a list of every known view by publisher with selected examples of their work. While the views are of great interest to anyone interested in Victoriana, the information about the photographers is absolutely vital to curators, historians, and collectors. Here again, Moss reproduces the backs of photographs and advertising, making available valuable details about how the photographers marketed their services.

Of all the Jersey Shore photographers, the most prolific publisher of stereo views was the Pach Brothers firm, which issued at least six hundred. Some of their stereographs were also issued (without credit) by other photographers and Moss provides a valuable service in tracing the relationships among these images. Although there is considerable information here about the Pach Brothers, Moss provides much more in another book, Those Innocent Years: 1898-1914; Images of the Jersey Shore from the Pach Photographic Collection, recently reprinted in softcover ($25.95). Both books are very reasonable priced for their size and quality.

Gary D. Saretzky is Coordinator, Public History Internship Program, Rutgers University and Archivist, Monmouth County, New Jersey. Copies of both books are available from: Saretzky Online

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