Alexander Hesler (Alexander Hesler)

Alexander Hesler

Daguerreotypist/Photographer. Hesler’s family left Canada in 1835 and removed to Vermont where he attended school. By the time he turned twenty he moved to Racine, Wisconsin and began working in a hardware store. He realized that his main interest was in photography so he moved to Buffalo, New York where he received his training and started his career as an photographer. In early 1849 he moved to Galena, Illinois, but by 1853 felt the lure of the big city and moved to Chicago and opened an art studio in the Metropolitan Block. He spent much of his time photographing the upper midwest which included a photograph of Minnehaha Falls which reportedly inspired Longfellow to write the poem, “Hiawatha.” ┬áBy 1857 he started to concentrate on contemporary themes which included the upcoming presidential election in 1860. He photographed Abraham Lincoln (then without his beard) from 1857 to 1860 and his photograph from an 1860 sitting was used for Lincoln’s first presidential campaign. Many of his daguerreotypes are exhibited in the Smithsonian and his photographs of Lincoln remain some of the best of his works as well most representative of Lincoln at a time of his rise to prominence as President. Hesler was considered the preeminent photographer of his day and his photographs continues to bring large prices at New York auctions houses. Northwestern University called him “one of the most prominent and respected photographers of his era.” and the Chicago Tribune wrote that “he was for many years the most famous daguerreotypist in the United States.” (bio by: Saratoga)


  • July, 12, 1823
  • Canada


  • July, 07, 1895
  • USA


  • Mound Cemetery
  • Wisconsin
  • USA

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