Harvey R. Marks

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MARKS, Harvey R. (1821-1902) USA. Baltimore-based photographer who became the first person in the world to photograph Japanese persons who happened to be a shipwrecked crew.

The Eiriki-Maru, with a crew of 18 Japanese, got shipwrecked in the Pacific Ocean and was brought to San Francisco in Feb. 1851. The rescued crew were among the first Japanese to visit the U.S. even before Japan's first official diplomatic mission that visited in 1860.

The crew stayed in San Francisco until March 1852 when they were taken to Hong Kong. Marks, from Baltimore, Maryland, photographed the castaways (including Sentaro or Sampachi/Simpatch, the ship's cook nicknamed Sam Patch who accompanied Commodore Perry's squadron to Japan and pictured above) in 1851 or 1852 and thus became the first to photograph Japanese subjects. The photos were published in the Jan. 22, 1853 edition of Frank Leslie's Illustrated News.

A few of the daguerreotype portraits have survived, now in the possession of the Kawasaki City Museum and the Yokohama Museum of Art.

Read more about this story at Old Japan.