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

On this day Edward Everett Hale took pen in hand and composed this letter to his brother, Nathan. Cited from Edward E. Hale, Jr., "The Life and Letters of Edward Everett Hale" (Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1917) pp. 72-73: - - - - - - - - - - - TO NATHAN April 15, 1840. I have taken my first Daguerreotype, with almost perfect success. It is of the church at the South End nearly opposite the head of Orange St., [Mr. Mott's] and is quite equal to some of the worst of Mr. Gourand's, which I think quite encouraging for the first. It is very much like one he had of Quincy market which I don't think you have seen. It is perfectly distinct, and the faults are such as are easily explained and remedied. I stood to be taken in it, Francis opening and shutting the camera, but unfortunately I stood against a dark background so that nothing but my legs which come against the white stone of the steps, and my face and shirt bosom are visible. It was in the camera twelve minutes apparently just the right time for the light. The scheme for the family Daguerreotype class is pretty much given up. I have hitched on J. J. Dixwell's and we are to have the first lesson tomorrow. There is sundry news passing in the family of which other scribes will inform you. I am dreadfully tired and have just finished mending a glass syphon which is in use for Daguerreotype distilling by the agency of an alcohol blowpipe, and successfully. Tonight the Amphictyonic Council of the Sunday School met. Queer and ridiculous. Since then I have been to Dr. Jackson's to bring home Sarah. I only get over the page to say Good Night. Yrs. ever, EDWARD. -------------------------------------------------------------- 04-15-99

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