Daguerreian Society

On this day (January 11) a young girl addressed the following letter to 
her a fictional tale targeted at a juvenile audience.  
Her grandmother replies February 3, and youāll have to wait until then 
to hear the reply. (And yes, the year of this letter is also quite 
- - - - - - - - - -

From "Grandmother Leeās Portfolio." (no author stated) Illustrated by 
Hammatt Billings (Boston: Whittemore, Niles, and Hall. 1857) PP. 63-66:

                  CHAPTER XXXIII.


                                        LONGMEADOW, January 11, 1837,

DEAR GRANDMOTHER:  Iām only going to write you a short letter today, 
just to put in a package that mamma is to send you by express.
  But I must tell you a little about it, for probably you will see what 
are the contents of the box before you read my letter.
  Last Friday, mamma dressed Mabel and myself with particular care, 
putting on our best frocks, merely saying papa would take us all into 
the city.
  On our way, she told me that your birthday came next week, and she 
wished to send you a present, and that she could think of nothing that 
would be more acceptable than pictures of your granddaughters.  She 
said she should have Frankās taken also, the very next time he came 
  We went to Mr. Shine, who takes the best daguerreotypes; but I 
certainly thought we should never reach his rooms: we had to go up 
stairs after stairs, till mamma almost fainted, she was so tired.
  When we reached what would be called the attic, but which was 
beautifully finished off with several large, airy rooms, we were warm 
  Papa said the light was better about taking pictures to be so high 
up, where you could have a clear sweep of the sky, than to be lower 
down, and have only what light could come in through small side 
  Youād have laughed to see how we became cool; on one side of the 
room, there was something that looked like a large windmill, and it was 
twirled round and round, swift as breeze; and all we had to do was just 
to take some chairs and sit in them before it, and we were fanned down 
at a rapid rate, I can tell you.
  Mamma was afraid Mabel might get weary or sleepy; so she had her sit 
for her picture first.  A man was so kind as to play on the piano, that 
the music might please her; and papa went off and stood on one side, 
where he would not be in the way, but in such a position that Mabel 
could look at him and smile.
  They had to try three times before mamma was satisfied; and then we 
all thought the likeness was perfect, and that Mabel looked as cunning 
and pretty as possible; so mamma had the man take two or three copies, 
that we might have one at home for us, after sending one to you.
  Then came my turn; and after a great deal of arranging, the very 
first attempt proved an excellent one.  If you should only think so 
too, grandmother, we shall be delighted.
  Papa has put Mabelās and mine into oval velvet cases; and mamma and 
he hope you will accept them, with their best love.
  Your birthday; dear grandmother!  The whole world ought to greet you, 
you are such a treasure.  May you be free from every ache and pain, and 
may our heavenly Father, whom you love so dearly, bless you with all 
his blessings.
  Dear, dear grandmother, with a heart running over with love, I am 
your affectionate

(I'm of the opinion that the daguerreotype gallery described in Amy's 
letter is in actuality a description of the Boston "steam 
daguerreotype" gallery of John Whipple. --G.E.)
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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