The McAllister & Brother firm descended from the Scottish émigré´ John McAllister Sr. (1786-1866) who operated a store in Philadelphia from the late eighteenth throughout the nineteenth century. The business, originally a cane and whip manufactory, evolved over the years to become a spectacle shop and later the premier opticians’ shop of the city. The shop sold lenses, cameras, and stereoviewers and served a major role in the development and the promotion of early photography.
The McAllister & Brother Stereograph Collection comprises some of the oldest photographic views of Philadelphia church exteriors and interiors. Issued circa 1860-circa 1863, the photographs provide images of such prominent religious structures as Christ Church, St. Peter’s Church, Gloria Dei, and St. Mark’s Church.