"Ezra Greenleaf Weld, known simply as 'Greenleaf,' operated a daguerreotype studio in Cazenovia, New York, during a time of intense social and political turmoil. He opened his first studio in his home in 1845, when America began to witness the volatile events that led to the Civil War. At that time, instruction manuals on the daguerreotype process were widely available, and most small towns had at least one studio.
"Among the two thousand participants at the 1848 abolitionist convention in upstate New York, there were nearly fifty runaway slaves. This small image features the legendary Edmonson sisters, both dressed in plaid, and the famous orator and escaped slave Frederick Douglass, seated between the two sisters. This daguerreotype was given to imprisoned abolitionist William Chaplin, who had helped many of the attendees escape to freedom. The photographic record enabled Chaplin to share in the convention's success and to see the vastness of the assembled crowd." -- from the Art Museum Image Consortium