C. Brewster Coulter lantern slides, circa 1860-1900

Overview of the Collection

C. Brewster Coulter lantern slides
circa 1860-1900 (inclusive)
0.8 linear feet, (4 document boxes)
Collection Number
This collection contains 204 lantern slides with photographic images of both the Civil War era in the United States and 1800s Spain, Italy, China, as well as various eras of the American West. The slides were used by College of Puget Sound history professor Calvin Brewster Coulter, Jr., who taught at the university from 1945 to 1979.
University of Puget Sound, Archives & Special Collections

Collins Memorial Library
1500 N. Warner St.
Tacoma, WA
Telephone: 2538792669
Access Restrictions

This collection is available for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Calvin Brewster Coulter, Jr. was an Assistant Professor of History and Political Science at the College of Puget Sound from 1945 to 1946. He was made Associate Professor of History at CPS in 1946 where he remained until retirement in 1979. Coulter held a bachelor's degree (1938) and a masters degree (1940) from Columbia University. He received a second master's degree (1942) from Princeton University where he also acquired his Ph.D.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

This collection holds 204 lantern slides, possibly used for teaching by College of Puget Sound (now University of Puget Sound) history professor C. Brewster Coulter. Most of the slides in the first three boxes relate to the US Civil War period (April 12, 1861 – May 9, 1865). The fourth box contains slides relating to missionary work in China with a variety of images of Chinese people, places, and work-related activities. The remaining original annotated envelopes in which the slides were previously housed have been retained, although the handwriting is difficult to read.

Lantern slides are transparent photographs made on glass that have to be viewed with the aid of an item called a magic lantern. The magic lantern was an early precursor to the slide projector. The 17th century saw the invention of the first lantern slides. They were created by hand painting illustrations onto glass. Light was then projected through the glass. Photographic lantern slides such as those in this collection weren't used until ten years after the invention of photography in 1849. Slides consist of two pieces of glass that are pressed together. One piece of glass holds the image, while the other piece protects the image from degradation. The slides in this collection are 3.5 in x 4 in size.

Most of the slides are in black and white, but some slides have been colored using paint. Depending on the age of the lantern slides, the paint is probably transparent oil paint, watercolor, or aniline dyes. Color specifically designed for lantern slides wasn't developed until the 20th century, which is later than the dated slides in this collection.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Missionaries
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Geographical Names

  • China