Daguerreian Society

Before I give today's item, I want to pass along the following notice:
- - - - - - 

I received this note from Ron and Anne Coddington:

      Just a note to let you know Image Magazine's third issue is now
      online!  Inside, you'll find a profile of veteran daguerreotype
      collector Mark Koenigsberg, an article on the history of the
      daguerreotype in Argentina, a colection of images from Union 
      College's class of 1864, a vintage image and article on the
      Reading, Pa., Grimshaw Silk Mill disaster, and the Image I.D.
      contest.  The URL is:

* * * * * * *

The following anecdote appeared in "The National Magazine" (New York) 
Vol. 9 (July 1856) pp. 85-86:

   CALIFORNIA SCENES.--Our California papers are getting to be as full 
of humor as the sands of her rivers are of golden treasure.  One 
facetious editor makes us shake our sides over a scene he witnessed in 
a daguerrean gallery, and which he describes in a very amusing style. 
The poor artist had hung out a very handsome and showy sign over his 
door, on which was painted in large letters, "Babies taken at all hours 
of the day in two seconds."  This sign soon caught the eye of a middle-
aged woman; but we will let the Californian tell his story in his own 

   "'Bless the Lord for that!' exclaimed the woman, who, with three or 
four young ones in her arms, stood gazing upon the happy announcement. 
'Bless the Lord! Relief has come at last! Babies taken at all hours. 
I'll go right in and let him take his pick out of mine. I'm tired of 
   "She started in, but was met by the worthy artist himself, who was 
on his way to the street.
   "'Good morning, my dear madam; walk up. What can I do for you to-
   "Two of the children commenced crying.
   "'Are you the man that takes babies?'
   "'O yes, with the greatest ease.'
   "The old lady cast a lingering look at her young brood, as if she 
was bidding them adieu forever.
   "'I guess you ain't particular what kind of babies you take?'
   "It matters not, madam; I have taken all kinds.'
   "The woman gave the artist a suspicious look, as much as to say, 
what kind of a man are you?
   "'You have taken all kinds! Then I guess you'll have no objection to 
taking these brawling things here?'
   "O! it would give me pleasure, madam, to take these crying babies. 
had I not better take all of them at once?'
   "The woman drew back in astonishment.
   "'All at once!' said she. 'And do you pretend to say that you will 
take all these dirty, good-for-nothing, squalling brats at once?'
   "'Nothing would give me more delight,' answered he, in his usual 
agreeable manner. 'I have taken more than that at once, fifty times.'
   "'Well, you can take them,' said she, as she ap-proached him; 'but 
before you do so I would like to know what you are going to feed them 
   "The artist saw his mistake, and attempted to back out.
   "'On second thought,' he said, 'I will not take your interesting 
little group. It would be cruel to deprive a mother of so many of her 
beautiful children.'
   "'O! yes,' she insisted, 'you can take them.'
   "But, my dear madam,' commenced the artist, turning away in alarm, 
'recollect that--'
   "'Never mind that. Take them along. There's plenty more at home.'
   "The artist was compelled to explain the mistake, and the woman left 
in disgust."

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

Return to: DagNews 1998

galleries society info what's new feedback
resources homepage search

Copyright 1995-2005, The Daguerreian Society -