Daguerreian Society

Before I get to today's item, I want to mention the new addition to The 
Daguerreian Society web site. In conjunction with The Oakland Museum (who 
will be mounting a major exhibition of cased California images early next 
year,) we have added a new gallery of nine California daguerreotypes. The 
URL is:

As always, the latest additions is included in our "what's new" page at:

We will be moving to a new URL shortly. After the move, we hope to make our 
(long-overdue) site-search engine functional.
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On this day (February 28) in the year 1843, the following text appeared in 
the "Daily National Intelligencer" (Washington, D.C.):
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I presume you would like to know who makes money in New York in these 
Jeremiad times.  I can hear but two classes--the beggars and the takers of 
likenesses by daguerreotype.  It's an old contradiction in human nature 
(very likely the basis of the parable of the camel and the needle's eye) 
that we give more as we have less to give: and with the late twin increase 
of poverty and pity, the beggars of New York have correspondingly 
increased. . .Daguerreotypying, which is now done for a dollar and a half, 
is the next most profitable vocation.  It will soon be difficult to find 
man or woman who has not his likeness done by the sun (Apollo fecit) as it 
was, before the rain of portrait painters, to find one without a profile 
cut in black.  A Frenchman has opened a shop in Fulton street for the sale 
of apparatuses for daguerreotyping, so that any pedlar can take up the 
trade.  Some beginnings have been made in copying in colors, and one man 
has altered his sign to "photographer."  Should an improvement be made 
hereafter by which an artist could correct the variations made by the 
imperfectness of the perspective and the convexity of the lens (for these 
daguerreotypes are very incorrect after all), the immortality of this 
generation is as sure, at least, as the duration of the metallic plate.

(Cited from Welling "Photography in America, The Formative Years" page 41)
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1997

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