||Attributed to Frederick Gutekunst
||Paul Morphy (1837-1884) and Lewis Elkin (?-1901) are the chess players in this early albumen photograph, believed to have been taken in the studio of Frederick Gutekunst (1831-1917). Morphy (seated at right), the world famous 19th century chess player, visited The Athenaeum chess club in October, 1859, en route to his native New Orleans from a European tour. Lewis Elkin, an Athenaeum chess player, served on the Board of Directors from 1893 until his death in 1901. Elkin's estate provided a substantial trust fund which to this day benefits The Athenaeum.
This photograph appears as the frontispiece for Gustavus C. Reichhelm's "Chess in Philadelphia" (1898).
Both men are dressed in dark suits and wear white shirts with bow ties. They sit in elaborately carved and upholstered ballon back side chairs. The chess board rests on a small table between them, which is covered with a floral cloth. The background is plain and the floor has a pattern of large and small square tiles.
This photograph is currently on display in The Athenaeum's second floor "Chess Room."
Follow the moves of an 1857 game played by Elkins and Morphy in this
||Albumen photograph on paper