Thomas Easterly (1809-1882) was one of the early daguerrians in the United States. Born in Vermont, Easterly began learning the daguerrotype process in 1841. Seven years later he moved to St. Louis where he ran a successful portrait studio. However, his interest in making landscape images set him apart from many of his contemporaries, who considered fieldwork with daguerrotypes to be technically daunting and not financially profitable. Easterly’s plates are not only a significant record of the changes taking place as St. Louis became a prosperous city; but also the work of a man with a unique vision for documentary as art. In the 1860s, when ambrotypes and tintypes had become more popular with the public, Easterly stubbornly refused – on aesthetic grounds – to adopt the other processes and suffered financial ruin as a result.