Richard Small Ayer, a Virginia member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1870 to 1871, is the subject of this photographic portrait. The Maine-born Ayer later returned to his home state, where he served as a member of the Maine House of Representatives in 1888.
This glass-plate image is part of the Brady-Handy Collection of negatives at the Library of Congress. The collection combines the work of Mathew B. Brady and his nephew Levin D. Handy, who ran several photographic studios in Washington, D.C. The majority of the negatives are portraits taken during and after the Civil War, but the collection also includes views of Washington, D.C.