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  The research archive of Gary W. Ewer regarding the history of the daguerreotype

On this day (February 24) in the year 1840, the following notice appeared in "The Evening Star" (New York) Vol. 7, No. 128 (24 February 1840) not paginated, but the notice appears on the second page: - - - - - - - To the Editors of the Evening Star: Gentlemen: I have just been shown a note in your journal of last evening, under the signature of Francois Gouraud, in which an impression is attempted to be made, that any success with which I have met in the Daguerreotype process is owing to "two months instruction" from him. Allow me to correct this impression. Some two or three weeks before the arrival of M. Gouraud in this country, I produced several photographic paintings of more or less perfectness, by following the minute directions of M. Daguerre, one of the first copies of whose work, descriptive of the process, was in my possession. When M. Gouraud arrived with the beautiful collection of photographic paintings, made by M. Daguerre and several amateurs of Paris, he professed to be the intimate friend and pupil of the great discoverer.--Under these circumstances, I interested myself to procure for Mr. Gouraud every facility, both for his exhibition and proposed lectures. I make no merit of this, since I felt that I was but repaying to the friend of M. Daguerre the kind attention shown me by that amiable and distinguished man, and others of his scientific and liberal minded countryman, while I resided in Paris; and I was likewise desirous of possessing, in common with others, that minute knowledge of the instruments and the process, without which, I was repeatedly assured by M. Gouraud, I could produce nothing of consequence. M. Gouraud was gratuitously lavish in his promises of teaching me a thousand little circumstances, not in the book of M. Daguerre, absolutely necessary. It will suffice, at present, to say that after the "two months instruction," as his is pleased to term it, I learned (what ought to have occurred to me before) that the great discoverer, M. Daguerre, had been faithfully minute in his description, both of his instruments, and the photographic process, and that M. Gouraud either possesed no knowledge of the subject beyond the published account of M. Daguerre, or if he did, that he very studiously kept it to himself; at least he revealed nothing new to me which, on experiment, I have not proved either frivolous or useless, and consequently have discarded. The manipulation, by which I produced the photographic paintings, praised by many gentlemen of the press, is not that of M. Gouraud, nor do I owe to him a single hint in any part of the process. My instructors have been, primarily, M. Daguerre's honest account of his own process, my own experiments, in conjunction with my colleague in the University, Professor Draper, and Dr. Chilton, the distinguished chemist, of Broadway. All the instruction professed to be imparted by M. Gouraud, I have felt it necessary to forget. I will only add that the notices, by the various editors, of my photographic painting, was spontaneous on their part, and their comparison of it with Daguerre's own productions, was an opinion for which I certainly am not responsible. It was shown to them by a gentleman interested in furnishing the public with the silver plates, to give the ocular proof that the material which he could furnish was adapted to the purpose. I remain, gentlemen, Your obd't servant, SAM'L F. B. MORSE. New York, Feb. 22d, 1840. -------------------------------------------------------------- 02-24-00

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