Fine half plate copy daguerreotype of Eliza Clayland Tomlinson and William Barclay Foster, the parents of American composer Stephen Foster (1826-1864). This image is published in Stephen Foster, American Troubadour, by John Tasker Howard. The consignor purchased the daguerreotype from a flea market in Massachusetts.
William Barclay Foster (1779-1855) became a prominent Pittsburgh merchant early in his life. He served three terms in the Pennsylvania State Legislature and was the first collector for the Pennsylvania Canal, a position that led him to move to Allegheny City, where he twice served as mayor. During a business trip to Philadelphia, William met Eliza Clayland Tomlinson (1788-1855) while she was visiting family, and they went on to get married on November 14, 1807 in Chambersburg, PA. From there, the Fosters traveled by horseback to Pittsburgh, where they settled for the remainder of their lives. In 1814, William bought a tract of land on a hillside overlooking the Allegheny River, laying out the plans two years later for the town of Lawrenceville, which he named after Naval Captain James Lawrence who died heroically during the War of 1812. William is identified as the founding father of Lawrenceville.
The Fosters had ten children, the youngest being Stephen Collins Foster (1826-1864), who went on to become the pre-eminent songwriter of the 19th century in the United States and is acknowledged as the "father of American music." William & Eliza Foster both died in 1855, Eliza passing within a few months after her husband.
Condition: Housed in full case; tarnish ring where plate meets mat; resealed, but remnants of original seal included behind image.