go to HOME


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

On this day (April 10) in the year 1848, the following anecdote appeared in the "Salem Gazette" (Massachusetts): - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 'Do you take people's heads off?' asked an up country wagoner of a Daguerreotypist the other day. 'We take Daguerreotype likenessess,' was the reply. 'Well, I want two.' 'Sit down here, sir,' said the artist, placing him in the chair, and fixing his head in a fair position to receive a proper light. The country man, when all was ready, put on the most diabolical face imaginable--scowling like a hyena and grinning like a wild cat. 'That will never do, sir,' said the operator, half laughing and half angry. 'You go on,' replied the countryman; "I want it just so, and my money's as good as any body's.' The transfer was made--and another of a still more horrible expression--eyes distended and cheeks puffed up. When the work was done, the artist asked the countryman if he wanted to frighten his lady-love. "I've got nothing to do with love.' was the reply. 'I jist wanted 'em to put on my mantel-piece to home--and when folks look at 'em, I'll tell 'em they represent Benton and Kearny making faces at each other." (This anecdote also appeared in the 9 March 1848 "New Orleans Daily Delta." More about the anecdote, and the references to Benton andKearny, can be found in the article by Thomas Kailbourn, "Art Imitateslife..." in the "The Daguerreian Annual 1991" pp. 139-40. --G.E.) -------------------------------------------------------------- 04-10-97

Return to: DagNews