HALF-PLATE DAGUERREOTYPE OF OHIO CONGRESSMAN, BUSINESSMAN AND RAILROAD EXECUTIVE PETER W. STRADER

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Item Code: 846-189

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This half-plate sized daguerreotype portrait of Strader (1818-1881) likely dates to the late 1840s or very early 1850s and shows him seated, from the waist up, resting his elbow on a table next to him. There is no case, but the image is matted and glassed with seals intact. The mat has no photographer’s mark, but a slightly later portrait of him with family by James Ball of Cincinnati is known. Strader’s name is written across the reverse of the plate: “Peter Wilson Strader,” which is repeated in more recent pencil across the top of the seal.

The Biographical History of Northeast Ohio contains the following eulogy, obviously adapted from contemporary obituary: “HON. P. W. STRADER died on Friday afternoon, February 25, 1881, in his sixty-third year, at his home on Prospect street, Ashtabula, Ohio, and on the following Monday his sorrowing family bore his remains to Cincinnati for interment. He was a remarkable man. From childhood to the end of his life's journey he has been a constant toiler in this world. Born in Warren county, New Jersey, No vember 6, 1818, he came with his parents to Lebanon, Ohio, the following year. At twelve he found occupation in a printing office, where he remained three years. At seventeen he was found identified with steamboat interests on the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and their tributaries, and continuing in this business until he was thirty, having during this time gathered together an extensive property…. In 1848, at the age of thirty, he left the rivers, and for the succeeding twenty years devoted his time and energy to extensive operations in railroads, banking and insurance. During this time he was officially connected with the Little Miami, Columbus & Xenia, Ohio & Mississippi, and Cincinnati, Hamilton & Dayton railways; at the same time connected with express, fast freight and sleeping-car lines, street railways, insurance and banking, besides participating in the organization of the omnibus and transfer companies of Cincinnati, Louisville, St. Louis, Memphis and Nashville. In 1868 he was elected to Congress from the First District of Ohio–the first Democrat ever elected from this district. He was selected as a candidate as being the only man in the party at that time who could be elected. His eminent ability, known integrity and universal popularity gave him a triumphant election. He carried into his Congressional labors the same untiring force of will and vigor of execution that he had exhibited in his business affairs, and served his term with credit and distinction. Declining to run again for Congress, he returned to his former work, and in 1872 became prominently identified with the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati & Indianapolis Railway. Two years later he joined in the incorporation of the Union Depot Company, and Union Railway and Transit Company of St. Louis, and of the Union Railway and Transit Company of Illinois. The multiplying cares and responsibilities incident to his extensive labors so impaired his health that in 1874 he sought retirement from business in the hope of regaining health. This hope was partially, though never fully, realized. In 1876 he made Ashtabula his home, and though almost worn out, he had, since coming here, organized and developed several business enterprises, and manifested in his last effort the same tireless energy which in his younger days…”.

The plate has good clarity and exhibits just minor wipes to the left of his chin, upper arm and mid-torso.  [sr]

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