A SURVEY OF DAGUERREIAN LITERATURE
by John Wood
from The Daguerreian Annual 1991
The annotated bibliography I prepared for The Daguerreotype: A Sesquicentennial Celebration was, as I admitted, not a scholarly production but more of a reading and looking list for people interested in learning about the daguerreotype and seeing as many reproductions as possible; however, the large number of publications on daguerreotypy in the past two years quickly put it out of date. This survey, therefore, is an update but with an added scholarly dimension.
Though more "scholarly" than the previous one, this by no means purports to be that seriously needed scholarly tool, the annotated bibliography of daguerreian literature. Such a work would be of great service to art, photographic, and social historians. It would also be an ideal project for a doctoral candidate in one of several fields. The literature of the daguerreotype, though considerable, is by no means extensive, and such a project is still within the capacity of a single individual.
For the present, the researcher must make do without such a bibliography by consulting a variety of sources: Richard Rudisill's excellent annotated bibliography of daguerreian literature in Mirror Image (see below); Laurent Rosens' and Luc Salu's History of Photography: A Bibliography of Books (London & New York, 1989) with some 11,000 entries; the original and then the second revised edition of Frank Heidtmann's, Bibliographie der Photographie deutsch-sprachige Publikationen der Jahre 1839-1984 (Munich, 1989), containing nearly 25,000 entries; Albert Boni's Photographic Literature: An International Bibliographic Guide (New York, 1962); Robert Sennett's Photography and Photographers to 1900: An Annotated Bibliography (New York, 1985); William S. Johnson's Nineteenth-Century Photography: An Annotated Bibliography 1839-1879 (Boston, 1990); M. Susan Barger's Bibliography of Photographic Processes in Use before 1880: Their Materials, Processing, and Conservation (Rochester, 1980); Gary Edwards' International Guide to Nineteenth-Century Photographers and their Works: Based on Catalogs of Photographic Dealers and Auction Houses (Boston, 1988); the annual indices to History of Photography; Michael Pritchard's The Photographic Collector: A Cumulated Index, 1980-1985 (Bushey, Hertfordshire, 1988); the various bibliographies in the standard books on the daguerreotype; and the information on daguerreotypy in the various national histories of photography, such as Lee Fontanella's La historia de la Fotografia en Espana, Bjorn Ochsner's Fotografiet i Danmark 1840-1940 or Jan Coppens' Een camera vol stilte: Nederland in het begin van de fotografie, 1839-1875, and so forth.
In that earlier bibliography I had only included titles available in most libraries or through most any library's inter-library loan service. I had, therefore, excluded nineteenth century texts, articles appearing in journals, and rare, difficult to obtain volumes. I have now added a good many such works, while excluding the standard, general histories of photography and most of those secondary sources I'd originally cited often only for the sake of a single fascinating image, in the hope that this survey will be of greater use to the scholar than the previous one but still serve as a helpful reading and looking list for the passionate amateur.