Charles-Camille Heidsieck (1822-1893) founded the Charles Heidsieck Champagne Company with his brother-in-law Ernest Henriot in 1851. He was an adventurous man who set out to conquer the American market with the resolution to combine business with his great love of sport, shooting bear and buffalo. He quickly earned the reputation as a successful salesman and was nicknamed 'Champagne Charlie'. When he died, he bequeathed the firm to his eldest son, Charles-Marie-Eugène, who remained in charge until 1930 before stepping down to let his five sons continue the business.
The term "imperial photograph", describing a paper print larger than the commonly-used whole, half or quarter-plate sizes, was introduced to New York in 1856 by Matthew Brady, as a consequence of importing the Scottish photographer Alexander Gardner who had previously learned to make enlargements. Such portraits proved popular with wealthy sitters as they were considerably more expensive than the smaller and more common ambrotype portraits.