In 1957, Princeton received a wonderful donation of photography books from David H. McAlpin, class of 1920. These included many reference books and serials from the Camera Club of New York’s library (sold in 1955); in particular a set of Wilson’s Photographic Magazine.
When Dr. Edward L. Wilson (1838-1903) began the publication The Philadelphia Photographer in 1864, it was the only photographic magazine in the United States. In 1885, the magazine’s name was changed to Wilson’s Photographic Magazine and its central offices removed to New York City. As Wilson’s Photographic, the magazine was published semimonthly from 1889 to 1892. Issues published on the first Saturday of the month included an original albumen print and those published on the third Saturday held a photogravure, photo-engraving, or photolithograph. Beginning January 1893, the magazine became a monthly and each issue included at least one original print.
The following is a brief section of Wilson’s obituary printed in The American Amateur Photographer:
“[Wilson’s] first service was to secure a modification of the copyright law of 1831 so as to include photographs. In 1865 he organized and led the opposition of the fraternity to the so- called Bromide Patent. This fight continued over several years and eventually resulted in the upsetting of the patent, by which decision photographers were freed from a grievous tax. The stamp law was modified in 1866 and completely removed in 1868. In this year Mr. Wilson was foremost among those who organized the National Photographic Association, of which the present Photographer’s Association of America is the successor. In 1873 the National Association held at Buffalo, N. Y. what was probably the most successful photographic gathering ever held in America. A special number of The Philadelphia Photographer, comprising some 224 pages, reported this convention in detail, being published within two weeks after the close of the Convention—a remarkable journalistic feat at that time.”