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Todd-Bingham picture collection

Call Number: MS 496E
Scope and Contents

SERIES I, PHOTOGRAPHS, contains those loose photographs and film negatives not originally arranged in family albums (see SERIES II) or those larger items organized in folios (see SERIES IV and V). Material in this series includes photographs of several family members arranged under the appropriate sections: Loomis-Wilder Family, Peck-Todd Family, and Todd Family. Copy prints and negatives produced from daguerreotypes (see SERIES VI) are also arranged here. Photographs of four prominent individuals in the collection are arranged in sections bearing their names: David Peck Todd, Mabel Loomis Todd, Millicent Todd Bingham, and Walter Van Dyke Bingham.

Addtional sections include People, which consists of photographs of family friends, associates, and notable figures collected by family members through the years. Astronomy and astronomers contains photographs of David Peck Todd's colleagues and contemporaries as well as related views of observatories, equipment, and astronomical phenomena. Miscellanea includes various sketches and copies of European artwork.

Loomis-Wilder Family

Among the notable relatives from Mabel Loomis Todd's family represented in this collection is her father Eben Jenks Loomis. He was a mathemetician-astronomer who served on the staff of the National Almanac (later the U.S. Naval Observatory). Several portraits of Eben Jenks Loomis are available (ca.1853-1913), with many of these dated 1895-1896. The elder Loomis also spent his later years with his daughter and son-in-law in Amherst, Massachusetts, and accompanied them on many travels.

Mahlon Loomis, an uncle to Mabel, was a dentist and pioneer in wireless telegraphy. A lone photographic portrait of him has survived, as have views of his gravestone, his Washington, D.C. office, and an undated photograph of his wife, Achsia (sic). Photographs of Nathan and Waite Barber Loomis (parents of Eben Jenks Loomis) are also included here.

Individuals from Mabel Loomis' maternal side of the family are also arranged in this section. Portraits of her mother, Mary Alden Wilder Loomis, and her grandmother, Mary Wales Fobes Jones Wilder, have been preserved. A group portrait of four generations of Loomis family women is also available. Photographs of John Augustus Wilder, who rose to the rank of colonel with the Union army during the Civil War form another cluster.

Peck-Todd Family

David Peck Todd's paternal and maternal ancestors are well-represented in this section. Several familial relations are pictured here, including his mother Rhonda Peck Todd and his father Serano Edwards Todd (Sr.). The latter was a noted-agriculturist, journalist, and author. Two early family members included in this section are Josiah Todd, grandfather to David Peck Todd, and Calvin Ingersoll (and wife), a minister.

David Peck Todd

Portraits of David Peck Todd date from 1864-1938 and include several profiles of Todd used in bibliographic and literary publications. Group portraits in which Todd is a figure are also arranged here. Under the sub-section "Miscellanea" are photographs of Todd with his wife, Mabel, as well as several photographs of Todd with airplanes and balloons—two fascinations of his.

Mabel Loomis Todd

Portraits of Mabel Loomis Todd date from 1860s-1932, and are quite numerous, befitting a lady of her literary and social status. Studio portraits of Mabel Loomis Todd are generally of high quality and consist of a variety of poses. Group portraits which include Mabel Loomis Todd are also included here. Among, the more interesting are those photographs which picture the casts of a Shutesbury, Massachusetts, theatre group. In addition to Mabel and David Peck Todd, individuals in the Dickinson family are also captured in these photographs.

Todd Family

Material in this section includes informal group photographs of David Peck Todd and his immediate family. The bulk of these items, however, consists of views of family residences. Interior and exterior scenes of the Amherst, Massachusetts, homes of the Todds, including "The Dell" and "Observatory House" are arranged here. Other residences pictured include homes in Fairhaven, Massachusetts, and Coconut Grove, Florida.

Millicent Todd Bingham

Photographs of Millicent Todd Bingham consititute the largest such group for any family member. There are pictures from almost every year between 1882-1966. A sub-section "Friends" includes several early schoolmates and teenage companions (1880-1905), some of which are identified.

The sub-section "Topical files" contains material used in specific publications: Ancestor's Brocades and Peru, A Land of Contrasts. A file for Vassar College includes items from 1902, 1939, and 1961. A group of 1931 photographs from the Congrès International de Geographie is also arranged here.

Walter Van Dyke Bingham

A small quantity of portraits from 1907-1952, and family photographs are arranged in this section. Photographs of homes which Millicent and Walter Bingham resided in are also included here.


This section consists of photographs of numerous friends, associates, and notable figures which were collected by Todd-Bingham family members. Of primary interest here are several photographs of Dickinson family members. Included in this group are: Emily, Lavina Norcross, Susan Gilbert, and William Austin Dickinson. Other Dickinson relatives, including a young Gilbert Dickinson and Katherine Sweetser Dickinson, are also pictured. Portraits of William Austin Dickinson include copy negatives and prints from two daguerreotypes (see SERIES VI).

Individuals with close personal ties to various members of the Todd Bingham family who provided photographs of themselves include Howard Hilder, Arthur Curtis James, Marta Milinowski, Simon Newcomb, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, George H. Palmer, and several members of the Avery and Stearns families. As was the custom of the day, the Todds collected photographs of prominent figures, among them Julia Ward Howe, Jenny Lind, and Henry David Thoreau.


This section contains the largest quantity of photographs and negatives in this series, a reflection of the extensive travel interests of David Peck Todd and family. Photographs from eclipse expeditions to Africa, Japan, Peru, and Russia are included here. Material from several other nations is also organized in this section. The Todds did not always visit each nation for which they accumulated photographs. For example, the photographs from Australia, a series of professionally marketed pictures (with index) on aborigines, were, no doubt, acquired to illustrate one of Mabel Loomis Todd's lectures. The photographs of France also contain a segment of commercial photographs. Other items reveal scenes of the military hospital at Angers, where Millicent Todd Bingham served in World War I.

Travels to Japan on expeditions (1887, 1896) are recorded in several folders of photographs. The people of the Ainu region of Japan are portrayed in their native costumes. The Todds were apparently the first outsiders to explore this area in 1896. Mounted photographs of the Mount Fuji terrain, the area David Peck Todd and his expedition surveyed in 1887, are also arranged here.

Photographic material on the failed Russian expedition of 1914 shows David Peck Todd at the Bobinsky estate, where the observations were to take place. Views of the countryside, of peasant life, and of Kiev are also included.

Stereopticon slides are a prominent type of photograph in this section. Files for Bermuda, Palestine, Switzerland, and the United States contain this type of material.

Photographs for the United States are arranged by state. Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Washington, D. C. are the states and areas represented by the greatest numbers of photographs. Maine materials include several folders of material on the Hog Island area, where the Todds maintained a summer home. This home later became the Todd-Wildlife Sanctuary-National Audobon Nature Camp, and photographs of this camp are included.

Massachusetts, where the Todd family resided for many years, is the subject of thirty folders of photographs. Of primary interest are the many views of Amherst, Massachusetts, including photographs of: "The Convent," a local school. attended by Millicent Todd Bingham; the Amherst Historical Society building; panoramic views of the town; street scenes: and stereopticon photos. Amherst College is also well-represented through photographs. Several campus buildings, individuals, and events (including commencements and sports) are arranged in this sub-section. Other Massachusetts cities and towns included here are Cambridge, Concord, Holyoke, and Sunderland.

Washington, D.C. photographs also contain scenes of family residences which sometimes include Eben Jenks Loomis as he sits outside the homes. "Henderson Castle" photographs picture an estate near the family residence, and among the photographs of public buildings is one of the Naval Museum of Hygiene.


This section consists of photographs relating to David Peck Todd's work in the field of astronomy. Astronomical equipment such as telescopes and celestial models are arranged in this section. Photographs of the sun's corona, eclipses, various planets and satellites, and the Transit of Venus are also included. Two folders contain portraits of astronomers. Among the luminaries are: Elias Loomis Percival Lowell, Uriah Atherton Boyden, and George B. Clark. Other scientific figures are also included here, such as Spencer Fullerton Baird.


This section contains sketches done by unknown artists and several photographic reproductions of European artwork.

SERIES II, ALBUMS AND SCRAPBOOKS, consists of thirty-two numbered albums and scrapbooks and three boxes of loose album pages assembled by various members of the Todd Bingham family. This material is arranged in sections which parallel the organization of photographs in SERIES I.

Loomis-Wilder Family

The first two albums in this series contain photographs of several members of the Loomis and Wilder families, ca. 1860s-70s. Although certain photographs are unidentified the albums include several portraits of Eben Jenks Loomis, George C. Loomis, Nathan Loomis, Mabel Loomis Todd, and Mary Alden Wilder Loomis. Wilder family members pictured here include John Augustus Wilder (in uniform) and Mary Wales Fobes Jones Wilder. In addition family friends from the Ammidon family and the Cutter family are pictured.

Todd Family

Albums three through thirteen contain photographs of members of the Todd family, of family residences, and of family trips to Bermuda and Cuba. Album five contains views of the Amherst, Massachusetts, area in 1903, and certain of these photographs include David Peck Todd. Albums nine and eleven consist of photographs of the Hog Island, Muscongus Bay, region of Maine with Millicent Todd Bingham and other family members included (ca. 1910-1912).

Album three contains several photographs of Mabel Loomis Todd as a young girl (ca. 1860s-1870s) and in her early adult years (1880s). These photographs are in rather poor condition and they do not duplicate items in SERIES I. Other family members and friends included in this album are: Naomi Todd Compton, Everett Cutter, Lavinia Norcross Dickinson, Eben Jenks and Mary Alden Wilder Loomis, the Newcomb family, Mrs. William F. Stearns, and David Peck Todd. Views of several interiors of Amherst residences are also found on these pages.

Millicent Todd Bingham

Albums fourteen through eighteen contain photographs of Millicent Todd Bingham from 1899-1907. Album fourteen is a compilation of photographs taken on a European trip to France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. Postcards of performers and scenes from the German Oberammergau Passionspiel (1900) are arranged in album fifteen. Scenes of the landscape, inhabitants, and sites of Chile (1907) are organized in albums sixteen and seventeen. Millicent Todd Bingham accompanied her parents on the astronomical expedition to Chile and Peru that year. Album seventeen contains photographs of the equipment and instruments used on the expedition. The enormous problems of transportation caused by the delicate nature of the equipment and the difficult terrain are immediately evident in these photographs. Album eighteen contains views of Peru in 1907.

David Peck Todd

Albums in this section relate to Todd's astronomical work at Amherst College and his many global expeditions. Album nineteen contains several large and well-identified photographs of Esashi, Japan in 1896. Actual photographs of the eclipse, the construction efforts at the site, and the buildings and individuals there are included. Both David Peck Todd and Mabel Loomis Todd appear in some photographs.

The new Amherst College Observatory is the major subject of albums twenty-one. through twenty-three. Photographs and negatives in these albums date from 1903-1907, when the observatory was under construction and newly opened. Numerous newspaper clippings and related correspondence are also contained in albums twenty-one and twenty-two.

David Peck Todd's interest in balloon flight as a boon to astronomical photography can be seen in photographs contained in album twenty-four. In 1908 Todd began experimenting with balloon flights from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, to help further his astronomical works.

Mabel Loomis Todd

Albums twenty-five through twenty-nine and three boxes of unbound album pages (Boxes 47-49) focus on the life and activities of Mabel Loomis Todd. Album twenty-five, a "minette" album contains a collection of miniature photographs of several friends of the young Miss Loomis. Album twenty-six contains miniature tintypes of several more friends.

Mabel's grandmother, Mabel Wales Fobes Jones Wilder, presented album twenty-six to Mabel in 1888. It contains photographs of several family members and friends including members of the Ammidon family, the Newcomb family, and Naomi Compton, David. Peck Todd, and Mabel Loomis Todd.

The unbound album pages are composed of mounted photographs which date ca.1895 -1917. These materials cover a vast range of topics and travels. Millicent's years at Vassar College (1897-1902 1903-1904; 1915) are portrayed as are travels to Japan, France, Tripoli, Italy, Peru, Chile, Germany, and Russia.


These three volumes (30-32) contain albums of uncertain origin. A postcard collection with views of Russia, Finland, and England is contained in box fifty. The majority of postcards detail artistic works or artist's conceptions of cities such as Kiev, St. Petersburg, Moscow, and London. Box fifty-one contains an album which may originally have been the property of Mrs. Mary E. Stearns. This album includes photographs of India ca. 1860s. The final album in this series contains color prints of Japanese scenes by an unknown photographer.

SERIES III, GLASS NEGATIVES AND LANTERN SLIDES, contains items transfered from the David Peck Todd Papers (Mss. Gr. 496B). This series is arranged in six sections: Glass negatives, Lantern slides, Oversize, Prints, Film negatives, and Folios. Glass negatives contains those original negatives which are either 4" x 5" in size or 5" x 7" in size. Lantern slides contains those photographic images reproduced as lantern slides for use in lectures and talks. Oversize consists of those original negatives which are 6 1/2" x 8 1/2," 8" x 10," 10" x 12," and 12" x 15". Prints is a section which contains positive reproductions of selected glass negatives and landern slides. Film negatives contains 35mm negatives for those lantern slides selected for reproduction in the Prints section. The film negatives were created to facilitate research use, since the production of positive prints from lantern slides is a difficult and expensive process. High quality reprints of these slides can now be made from the film negatives. Folios consists of those glass negatives too large for standard storage boxes.

Glass negatives

This section is arranged in several sub-sections: Todd family; Todd family friends; Todd family friends-groups and places; Africa, North; Africa, South; Africa, West; Chile, Dutch East Indies; Ecuador; Germany; India, Japan; Peru, Philippines; Russia; Spain, United States; West Indies; and Astronomy and textbook material.

The first ninety-one negatives in this section contain portraits of Todd family members and friends. Several members of the Stearns family of Amherst, Massachusetts, (and Amherst College) are included. Among these individuals are William Augustus Stearns, Frazar Stearns, and numerous children in the family. Many of these glass negatives are reproductions of photographs.

Thirty boxes, containing more than eight hundred negatives focus on the astronomical expeditions and world travels of David Peck Todd. These negatives are arranged by geographic area and include items relating to actual eclipse observations, such as "Coronas" or "Equipment," as well as "General" and "People" divisions for items which pertain to the native life, cities and towns, and sites encountered on these travels. Related material is also arranged in SERIES I, II, IV, and V.

The technical contributions David Peck Todd made to astronomical photography were outlined earlier. His expedition photographs document more than astronomical observations, however, as many items illustrate the various journeys, chart the work of expedition crews, and provide a vivid picture of numerous nations and foreign lands in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. No doubt Todd's photographic assistants deserve a share of the credit for these photographs. Among Todd's more notable assistants were a Mr. Ogawa of Japan, J. L. Lovell of Amherst, E. L. Thompson (Tripoli, 1905), and V. M. Slipher, who joined Todd in Chile in 1907.

Certain expeditions are particularly noteworthy for their varied photographic, scientific, and cultural achievements. The 1889-1890 excursion to S. Paul de Loanda, Angola, in Portuguese West Africa is a case in point. Geological, biological, and meteorological data was gathered in stops at the Azores, Sierra Leone, Capetown, Ascension Island, Saint Helena, and Barbadoes. Glass negatives depict the scientific and cultural aspects of this important expedition.

The 1896 expedition to Japan is also noteworthy for a variety of reasons. It was here that Professor Todd successfully tested his automatic photography technique which made a lasting impact on eclipse research. Mabel Loomis Todd also contributed a photographic first through her pictures of the Ainu people of Japan. She was among the first Western women to visit and study the Ainu people and their society. The numerous photographic materials in this collection related to the Ainu region and its people is most revealing. Several negatives also depict events in the long voyage from San Francisco to Hawaii and on to Japan. A group of negatives identified as those of the Japanese photographer Ogawa [K. Ogawa?] are also arranged here. His views of the expedition site, the surrounding area, and the Japanese people are striking.

The 1900 and 1905 expeditions to Tripoli, the 1901 expedition to the Dutch East Indies, the 1887 journey to Mt. Fuji and Shirakawa, Japan, and the aborted 1914 expedition to Russia are also well chronicled in this section. The 1900 expedition to Tripoli was conducted in conjunction with Percival Lowell. All photographs acquired in the observation became the property of Lowell. Thus, only views of the Tripoli area, the people and the expedition site are available. The 1901 trek to the Dutch East Indies, to study the longest total eclipse yet recorded—a full six minutes, took the expedition through Siam and the Philippines.

In 1907 Percival Lowell again asked Todd to head an expedition, this time to Chile and Peru to observe the planet Mars. Once more, all observation photographs (more than 12,000) became the property of Lowell. Todd also conducted high altitude studies in Peru and visited its observatories.

Also arranged under geographic headings are negatives depicting scenes from the German Oberammergau Passion Play (1900), views of India apparently supplied to the Todds by the Stearns family, and scenes of California and Massachusetts. The United States items for these states consist of views of Todd residences. Massachusetts material includes scenes of Amherst College and the Amherst Historical Society.

The last sixteen boxes in this section contain more than two hundred negatives. relating to the academic study of astronomy and Todd's textbook writings. These negatives include photographs of asteroids, eclipses, equipment, observatories, and telescopes, planets and satellites, spectra, stars, and x-rays, and miscellanea. Again, these items are often reproductions of items from other books. Approximately fifty negatives are positively identified as appearing in New Astronomy and Stars and Telescopes.

Lantern slides

This section contains an arrangement of lantern slides similar to that of glass negatives. The same geographic sub-sections are in use and the material again illustrates the many expeditions and world travels of the Todds. For a detailed exploration of the various expedition travels consult the description for Glass negatives.

Panama and Sweden are two nations with slide material for which there are only lantern slides. Panama items include approximately fifty slides of the building of the Panama Canal. These items are copies of photographs generally accredited to the Panama Canal Company. Slides of Sweden consist of eighty-two items, the bulk of which illustrate the participants and events of the 1912 Olympic Games at Stockholm, Sweden. These slides were useful aids in illustrating lectures. No doubt many of these slides were prepared for Mabel Loomis Todd with that in mind.


This section contains those glass negatives too large to be stored in conventional negative boxes (52-92) These boxes (159-67; Glass negative folios 1-2) contain those negatives 6 1/2" x 8 1/2," 8" x 10," 10" x 12," and 12" x 15". Cross references in the Glass negativessection provide access to these items.


This section contains the positive photographic prints from Glass negatives and Lantern slides, arranged as these sections are arranged. The numbered prints available are listed under the appropriate headings used in Glass negatives and Lantern slides.

Film negatives

This section contains 35mm film negatives for those lantern slides which have been reproduced as positive prints. To constantly reproduce photographs from lantern slides is both expensive and time-consuming, thus film negatives have been created for selected slides.

SERIES IV, SMALL FOLIOS, consists of twelve folios which hold those photographs, prints, drawings, and memorabilia too large for standard storage boxes. Boxes 173 and 174 contain several views of Amherst College buildings as well as scenes of "The Convent," a private girls' school run by Mary E. Stearns. Boxes 175 and 176 consist of views of the Bobinsky estate in Russia, site of the aborted 1914 eclipse observations and the observatory in Capetown, South Africa. Box 177 includes a group of color prints by a professional photographer-artist from Japan. In addition to these artistic depictions of Japanese women and daily life, there are several photographs of the Ainu people of Japan, ca. 1896. Box 178 also contains woodblock prints, drawings, and artwork of Japanese subjects. Boxes 179 to 184 contain photographic portraits and sketches of David Peck Todd, Mabel Loomis Todd, Eben Jenks Loomis, and several family friends. There are also color prints from Bermuda (1905), the Columbian Exposition (1893), and Europe (ca1910). Please note that boxes 173-184 were originally numbered Folio 1 through 12.

SERIES V, LARGE FOLIOS, contains those items generally larger than the twelve by fifteen inch size limit for SERIES IV, SMALL FOLIOS. Box 185 contains portraits, class photographs, maps, certificates, and posters of Millicent Todd Bingham. Included here are materials from her Vassar College years and certificates from two geographic societies.

Box 186 contains similar material for David Peck Todd, including astronomical drawings and charts as well as certificates, diplomas, and portraits.

Box 187 contains items pertaining to Mabel Loomis Todd. Among these materials are her sketches, certificates from the Daughters of the American Revolution, and posters announcing her lectures.

Boxes 188 and 189 contain miscellaneous material. Prints from Japan as well as surveys of family property in Fairhaven, Massachusetts are arranged here.

Please note that boxes 185 to 189 were originally numbered folios 1-5.

SERIES VI, DAGUERREOTYPES, contains over forty daguerreotypes, tintypes, and ambrotypes of Loomis, Wilder, and Todd family members. Two daguerreotypes of William Austin Dickinson, one of Susan Gilbert Dickinson, and several unidentified items are also arranged here.

Among the portraits included in this series are: Collette, Eben Jenks, George, Mary Sears, Nathan, Sarah Elizabeth Denham, and Waite Jenks Barber Loomis. John (Reverend), Mary Alden, and Mary Wales Fobes Jones Wilder. One ambrotype is identified as "M. W. Warner." Many items are undated but span dates for those items which are dated are 1855-1870.

SERIES VII, PAINTINGS, are in 6 boxes. One painting, "Mabel Loomis Todd at Matsuba," is signed by Howard Hilder, a close family friend.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research. Due to the physical nature of the materials in series III and VI, staff supervision is required.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright status for collection materials is unknown, though much of the material in this collection is likely in the public domain. Transmission or reproduction of materials protected by U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) beyond that allowed by fair use requires the written permission of the copyright owners. Works not in the public domain cannot be commercially exploited without permission of the copyright owners. Responsibility for any use rests exclusively with the user.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Consists of material transferred from manuscript collections 496A-D.


Arranged in seven series: I. Photographs, 1850-1966. II. Albums and Scrapbooks, 1860-1917. III. Glass Negatives and Lantern Slides, 1870-1910. IV. Small Folios, 1870-1915. V. Large Folios, 1874-1921. VI. Daguerreotypes, 1840-1879. VII. Paintings, 1837-1920.

Related Material

Loomis-Wilder Family Papers (MS 496A)

David Peck Todd Papers (MS 496B)

Mabel Loomis Todd Papers (MS 496C)

Millicent Todd Bingham Papers (MS 496D)

Todd-Bingham Memorabilia Collection (MS 496F)

50 Linear Feet (94 boxes, 33 folios, 2 volumes)
Related Names
Todd family
Language of Materials