Thomas P. Collins

(1823 - 1873) American


Thomas P. Collins and his brother David C. Collins were the sons of Cynthia Painter Collins (1791-1880) and Simeon Collins (1786-1866). Both brothers worked as daguerreotypists and photographers, at times running their studio together in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but often working independently or with other partners. Well known for their work, the Collins brothers received many honors (including two silver medals) and photographed celebrity clients on occasion, including politician Lewis Cass and actor Edwin Forrest. Together, the Collins brothers produced a total of about 33,000 daguerreotype images.
By 1849, the brothers' daguerreotype studio was the sole support for the entire family. Daguerreotype collector and scholar Rebecca Norris describes the Collins family as "a socially conscious and politically progressive 19th century family, active in both the abolitionist and women's rights movements" (Daguerreian Annual, 2006). The family home, the Thomas Painter House, built in 1695, was located in West Haven, Connecticut.
Thomas married Elizabeth Weatherby Chapin in 1847 and they had four children. After his marriage he left Philadelphia and established himself as a daguerreotypist in Westfield, Massachusetts.
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