JF Ptak Science Books Post 2350
Building on some reaching and questionable physical identification work of Sir Francis Galton, Raphael Pumpelly tried to make photographs of what scientists looked like.
At a scientific meeting of the National Academy of Science in Washington D.C. Pumpelly (along with Dr. (Thomas Mayo) Brewer and the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, (Spencer F.) Baird) undertook the experiment to determine whether or not there was a certain composite "type" in groups of academicians. He employed the justly-named head of the photography department at the Smithsonian, Mr. (Thomas Mayo) Smillie, to make a series of 2-second exposures of the scientists upon a single glass plate. Two seconds per portrait was not long enough to make a defined portrait for a single sitter, but if there 15 or 30 such exposures on the same plate it was seen that collectively there would be a strong impression. The resulting portraits are interesting in their won way, but probably not without the backstory.