A Hartford resident for twenty-five years, Eliphalet Bulkeley was a highly respected leader in the political, judicial, and business affairs of both his state and local community. A graduate of Yale, Bulkeley studied law and later practiced in East Haddam, Connecticut, where he also assumed the presidency of the local bank. In 1847, following service as judge of the Probate Court, county judge, and several terms in the Connecticut state legislature, Bulkeley moved to Hartford, where he enjoyed a flourishing legal practice. He served his adopted community in a number of capacities, ranging from commissioner of the School Fund and chief judge of the City Court to Speaker of the House. Bulkeley's later years were devoted principally to the life insurance business. After first organizing the Connecticut Mutual Company, he founded the Aetna Life Insurance Company and served as its president from 1850 until his death at the age of sixty-eight. Regarded as one of the most successful financial managers in Hartford, Bulkeley was eulogized as one whose "integrity was undoubted and [whose] exactness as a business man was unequaled." He also supported various philanthropic concerns and on at least one occasion made a donation to the American Colonization Society.
The handsome silver-bordered case that houses this portrait was introduced in 1853 by the Hartford firm of F. R. Slocum & Co. This case design was subsequently patented by Halvor Halvorson in March 1856.
Quarter-plate daguerreotype, circa 1853
Image courtesy The Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT