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Paul Botten-Hansen (1824-1869) was a bibliographer and literate. He was born in Gudbrandsdalen and grew up in miserable conditions. In 1847 he started studying. From 1856 he was an assistant at the National Archives of Norway.

Botten-Hansen became assistant professor at the University Library in 1860. In 1851 he edited the magazine ”Andhrimner” together with Henrik Ibsen and Aasmund O. Vinje, and then ”Illustreret Nyhedsblad” from 1851 to 1856.

The archive contains personal papers, his own and other people’s manuscripts and biographical information, as well as 65 water colour paintings and drawings and 16 photos. A couple of these photos are reproduced as xylography in Illustreret Nyhedsblad for 1857, and are among the oldest photos on paper in Norway.
These photos were taken during Prince Karl’s journey in Norway in 1856.”The crown prince was accompanied on his journey by a photographer, Mathias Hansen, who brought with him transportable instruments for the practice of his art...As photographs these pictures not only benefited from the fact that they could truly capture the object, but also that they could be reproduced in an extensive number.” (Illustreret Nyhedsblad 22 November 1856). In addition to Mathias Hansen (1823-1905), Marcus Selmer (1819-1900) is represented in the archive, among others. Both started as daguerrotypists and were pioneers as photographers in Norway.

The archive was bought by the National Archives in 1871 and added to a gift from Professor L. Daae and og Director General of the National Archives M. Birkeland in 1888. Apart from the imagery the archive makes up 0,2 shelf meters.