Daguerreian Society

After my 01-11-99 posting about microscopic daguerreotypes, Joan 
Hostetler responded with the following, which I've saved in queue for 
today (March 25):

   "Your posting today about microscopic daguerreotypes has reminded
me of an early Indiana daguerreotypist who mentioned the idea of
viewing daguerreotypes of the moon with a microscope. I'm trying to
determine the extent of his use of daguerreotypes in the classroom. 
Unfortunately, a campus fire would have destroyed his daguerreotype 
apparatus, and I've not yet found confirmed examples of his work. His 
many letters to his brother and father in Philadelphia are, 
unfortunately, written in Latin--but the word "daguerrotypio" is used. 
I hope to have a Latin professor translate them when I return to IU 
this Spring. The letters also mention G. Henry--who is probably the 
amateur daguerreotypist George Henry who exhibited at the Franklin 
Institute in Oct. 1840."  --Joan Hostetler

"The Extra Equator" vol. 1, No. 2, (March 25, 1841) page 112:

   Heliography.--A few days ago we employed a moment of leisure in the 
College Laboratory [Indiana University], which has been recently built 
and furnished for the Chair of Chemistry and Natural Philosophy, and is 
now occupied by Prof. WYLIE and his class. That which particularly 
occupied our attention was the apparatus for heliographic drawing, 
which Prof. W. has in progress of construction and now nearly finished, 
and a print of the daguerreotype representing a corner of Ninth and 
Market streets, Philadelphia. 
   Our readers know, that making pictures by the Daguerreotope [sic] is 
the recent invention or discovery of a French artist, Mons. Daguerre. 
The picture is obtained by means of a camera obscura, and made 
permanent, upon a burnished silver plate, by the mere operation of the 
light. But, before the plate is ready for the picture, it has to be 
submitted to the action of several chemical agents, requiring a nicety 
of application and address which we did not stay to learn. The picture 
itself, however, when obtained in this way, is a most splendid 
exhibition. It gives, not only the exact outline and perspective, but 
the most accurate shading of every tint of color, even up to nature, as 
perfectly as you can obtain the shadow in a camera. It is really a 
magnificent triumph of art and the dazzling polish of the plate, for 
the ground, seems only to heighten the effect of the drawing or print, 
as we would better like to call it.
   There is no copy-right incumbrance upon this invention. The French 
Government, if we are correct, rewarded the fortunate discoverey [sic] 
with a large sum of money and made the knowledge and use of the art a 
free gift to all.
   The importance of this discovery is understood by every one, but its 
value can be hardly appreciated till by its means, we come into the 
actual possession of the miniatures and pictures of whatever may be 
stereotypes in our dearest and holiest recollections.

Joan provides the following notes:

-The Extra Equator was a "weekly devoted to science & literature," 
published in Bloomington, Indiana by John Dale and A. E. Drapier.

-"Prof. Wylie" was Theophilus A. Wylie (1810-1895), a native of 
Philadelphia and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania who was a 
professor of natural philosophy and chemistry at Indiana University

Here are some excerpts from his diaries (located at the Indiana 
University Archives):

Jan. 3, 1841: Have been busy teaching as usual & getting a 
daguerreotype apparatus made...Friday AM began to arrange my 
camera...Saturday busy with the camera obscura.

Jan. 13, 1841: It occurred to me while in a revery that perhaps it 
would be possible to daguerreotype the moon and planets and then view 
the plates by a microscope. If this could be done it would be an 
excellent way of turning the microscope into a telescope.

Apr. 1, 1841: I have much to do this vacation--I want to ramble a 
little after some minerals--I want to study some mathematics--I want to 
try my daguerreotype apparatus--I want to fix up the laboratory and the 
library--I want to make some apparatus for electromagnetism. All these 
things for college & some things about home. I feel a nothing-to-do-
ishness coming over me which I fear will keep me from doing any thing. 

Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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