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L(ouis) F(rederick) Brehmer [US, 1868 - 1949]
Cecropia Moth
Autochrome, circa 1915. 4.25 x 3.25 inches 
The Cecropia (Hyalophora cecropia) is the largest wild silk moth native to North America, with a wingspan of five to six inches. This Autochrome is a lantern slide, but when it was found, someone had attached a string to it so that it could hang in a window. Fortunately, the image survived this treatment.

With excellent rendering of colors and fine details, Autochrome plates were sometimes used as scientific tools-- recording specimens for botanists and entomologists and other researchers. Although not a part of Albert Kahn's project, scientific uses such as these represent another way the Autochrome created a true "Archive of the Planet."

Brehmer was a professional photographer in Rutland, Vermont. Starting around 1899, he produced more than a dozen illustrated books showing local architecture and scenery, published in partnership with his brother Philip. He later issued photographic postcards, made a series of panoramic landscape photographs in Vermont, and (during the 1920s) photographed President Calvin Coolidge. Although Brehmer's photographs are in the Library of Congress and George Eastman House, his Autochromes are virtually unknown.


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Thanks to Carol Johnson, Stephen Perloff, Joan Hostetler and Mark Jacobs for research assistance.
Additional information: "Band of Brothers: Philip, Louis and Bertram Brehmer" by Jean Brehmer Swain, Rutland Historical Society Quarterly, Vol XXV, No. 1 (1995)
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