Saturday, February 6, 2016

Letter to John B. Jervis from 1839 about the Construction of the Aqueduct

This letter from H T Anthony was posted from Tarrytown, New York on January 10, 1839, and was addressed to John B. Jervis, the Chief Engineer for the construction of the Croton Aqueduct at the New York Water Commissioners Office concerning masonry, for the Croton Aqueduct on which Anthony was working at the time and which Jervis was overseeing.  The text reads:

 “Enclosed [not present] I return you a corrected copy of the final account of section 30.  At the suggestion of Mr. Allen I included in my certificate the total amount of the account.  I forgot to state, in explaining the cause of the mistake on 41 that I compared the total amount of the November estimate with the estimate published in the commissioner’s report of January 1838 & finding them to coincide very nearly I was induced to examine the calculations less rigidly than I should otherwise have done.  I have since examined the published estimate & find that the masonry in that is calculated for the erroneous length. Very Respectfully, Your Obedient Servant, T. J. Anthony”  

Henry Tiebout Anthony (1814-1884) is best known as a member of the New York Knickerbockers baseball team. He played in the very first organized baseball game, held at Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1846.  He was also a famous photographer and the vice president of the E. & H. T. Anthony & Company, which was the largest manufacturer and distributor of photographic supplies in the United States during the 19th century.  He had a close business relationship with Mathew Brady.

H T Anthony, c. 1860

In 1828, Henry Anthony entered the Columbia College and graduated with honors four years later. After that, he worked intermittently as a civil engineer, at the Erie railroad, Croton Aqueduct and Hudson River Railroad, and as a clerk at the Bank of New York. In 1839 he became interested in the new art of photography, which he learned along with his brother Edward.  Soon after Edward established his photography firm, Henry joined him in 1852, the firm becoming the E. & H. T. Anthony & Company.  It was the forerunner of the famous Ansco Photograph company.

Within the company, Henry was responsible for the manufacturing department and improved the use of colloidal and paper printing processes. In 1855, he became the editor of the Annual Bulletin of Photographic Invention and Improvement, which was published by the company in altered forms until and after his death in 1884. He died suddenly, a few days after being hit by a passing vehicle while crossing a street in New York.

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