Daguerreian Society

On this day (August 24) in the year 1849, Nancy Southworth Hawes penned 
the following letter to her brother, then absent--having gone to the 
gold fields of California:
- - - - - - - - -

                             5 1/2 Tremont Row
                                 Aug. 24, 1849

Dear Brother,--
       Here I am at 5 1/2 Tremont Row as usual, except, that instead of 
being upstairs, I am staying most of the time in the Exhibition Room. . 
. . .
. . . . . .Our last customer to-day has been Laura Washburn (now Mrs. 
Maynard) of Tennessee.  She with her husband and children has been 
visiting her friends in Royalton, and they are now on their way back.  
This morning she is having some work done at Miss Conley's [dressmaker] 
and her husband came in to look at the daguerreotypes.  After looking 
them over, and expressing his admiration of them, he stepped back to 
Miss C's door and requested a lady to come in and look at two or three.  
I was busy on the other side of the room.  I did not see her face at 
all, as the she only stopped a moment, but as she passed out of Miss 
Conley's a second time, she caught a glimpse of my portrait [a life 
size oil painting by Hoyt] and immediately exclaimed "There is one of 
my sold scholars!" and walked in.  I did not recognize her, though she 
insisted upon my doing so, until she called her little boy and said, 
"This child's name is Washburn,"  Now do you recollect me?"  She stayed 
an hour or two and had her daguerreotype--was very agreeable and 
       Mr. and Mrs. Sherwin were in last week; they did not know that 
you had left us [absent in California for two years] Mrs. Sherwin is as 
pretty as ever.  Mr. Dorr is a constant visitor here, whenever in the 
city.  Kellogg is back again with the Greek Slave and other pieces of 
statuary by Powers.  "Proserpine," "The Fisher Boy" "General Jackson"  
The Proserpine is called very beautiful, and is the same as the one Mr. 
Brooks offered you to copy.
       Grace Greenwood, too, is in this vicinity.  She called here last 
week, shook hands cordially with me!!, admired the daguerreotypes, saw 
her own at the door, and did not even request to have it taken away; so 
you see I intend to like her very much for the future.
       We have been getting up a new style for pictures, which I think 
will be rather pleasing.  We have only made two, and they are liked 
well.  They are made by covering the middle of a French plate, and 
copying on the outside one of the borders from a picture in Moore's 
Book of Beauty then cover the border, and in the centre take a 
likeness.  It gives a very pretty finish to the picture and, by 
experimenting, I think we shall be able to make some very pretty things 
in this way.

(The letter continues, but I do not possess a reference copy of the 
remainder.  This text is cited from a later transcript of an original.  
This transcription is from the collection of the George Eastman House.  
It is believed that during the period the collection was still in the 
Hawes family possession, they went through the correspondence and 
extracted parts of certain letters, keeping the originals for 
themselves.  Words in brackets were obviously added by the later hand.
   Two examples of the style of pictures to which Nancy refers in the 
last paragraph can be seen as plate 23 & 24 of Sobieszek, Robert A. and 
Odette M. Appel, "The Daguerreotypes of Southworth & Hawes."  The 
correct title for "Moore's Book of Beauty" is " The Beauties of Moore: 
A Series of Portraits, or, The Poet's Gallery of Beauty" and the 
specific border used in the extant examples is from a plate entitled 
"Black and Blue Eyes.")
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 -