[Grist Mill]

Object Details


[Grist Mill]


Unknown maker, American




about 1845




6 x 7.5 cm (2 3/8 x 2 15/16 in.)

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At this grist mill, grain was turned into flour and logs were cut into lumber with sawing machinery, seen here at the right rear of the mill. This detailed view depicts black and white people working together, farm animals including a rooting sow with her nursing piglets at the front center, and various pieces of farming machinery.

Although the photographer is unknown, the scene is not entirely anonymous: a hand-written note attached to the daguerreotype case describes this scene as the "Flour Mill where Willard Calkins learned his trade." The note also identifies the man dressed in white in the doorway as Calkins. This daguerreotype provides a rich glimpse into the commercial life of an American village in the early 1850s.

Hidden Witness: African Americans in Early Photography (February 28 to June 18, 1995)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), February 28 to June 18, 1995
The Art of the Daguerreotype (April 14 to July 12, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), April 14 to July 12, 1998
The American Tradition and Walker Evans (July 10 to October 28, 2001)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), July 10 to October 28, 2001