Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz (1807–1873) was a Swiss scientist specializing in biology and geology. He is shown seated in the photograph with Benjamin Peirce (1809–1880) a professor of mathematics at Harvard University. According to numerous sources, the photograph shows Peirce pointing on the globe to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Harvard is located.
The globe is evidently a 12-inch terrestrial globe made by the Schedler family of globe makers. This can be deduced by the distinctive style of the cast iron stand of the globe in the rococo taste.
Antoine Sonrel was a photographer and engraver. He emigrated from Switzerland to the United States in the mid 19th century and was affiliated with Louis Agassiz throughout his career.