Samuel J. Reader lived in Shawnee County, Kansas Territory, and participated in some free state activities. He wrote about his daily life (including descriptions of the Battles of Indianola and Hickory Point) in his diary, which he used as the basis for an autobiography he illustrated with drawings and watercolor paintings. This photograph is a copy that Reader made from a daguerreotype taken of him in 1855 at age eighteen. The copy was produced on March 1, 1894, in La Harpe, Hancock County, Illinois.