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

First a brief item of interest. . . The March/April issue of "Civilization / The Magazine of the Library of Congress" features the portfolio "Tools of the Trade" with text by William Howarth. The portfolio features twelve occupational daguerreotypes from the collection of The Library of Congress. The illustrations are large, in color, and are marvelous. If you act now, you may still find it in the news stands. Back issues will be available for $8.00 from: Civilization Library of Congress Associates P.O. Box 420235 Palm Coast, FL 32142-0235. * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * On this day (April 26) in the year 1851, the following anecdote appeared in the "Allegheny Enterprise": -------------------------------------------------------- An Odd Subject for a Daguerreotypist. Saturday last was a dull drizzling day--one of those days when old Sol has the same excuse for non compliance with his implied engagements with the Daguerreotypist, that his pale sister Cynthia has for a non- fulfilment of her share of the gas contract. In such weather the sun is not expected to take good Daguerreotypes nor is the moon in a condition effectually to light the streets; though we believe she is held to the letter of the almanac, and never excused on account of weather. But to the matter in hand. It was just one of those days, more comfortable to imagination than experience, and Mr. C., the Daguerreotypist was sitting before the fire with a few friends, when a rap was heard at the door. "Come in," was the prompt response, and they did come in. Two tall gaunt looking wire-grass boys strode into the middle of the room, where they halted, casting their eyes about the apartment in mute curiosity and astonishment. "Can I do anything for you to-day," said Mr. C. They made no reply, but conversed together in an under tone for a moment. Presently one of them turned to the questioner, and asked in a loud tone, "Do you make them what-d'ye-callums-Them the doggerytypes here?" "Yes sir, we take daguerreotypes here!" "That's it!" remarked the companion of the first speaker - giving his fingers a sudden snap at the same moment. "Them's the things, Bill! But ding darn me if I could think of the name." "Well," said the first speaker, what do you ax for taking a dogerreotype, as you call 'em?" "That depends upon the size, style of case, &c. What size picture do you want!" said the artist; at the same time pointing to the specimens lying on the table. The couple consulted together again for a moment when the first speaker replied, "I want one of them that shuts up in a leather book like, and what a body can toat in their pocket!" "Like this," said Mr. C. showing them a picture in a case of the ordinary size. "That's just the thing, stranger; and now what do you ax/" "Our price for that size is three dollars." Both the visitors whistled! "That, sir, is the regular price, and is low enough for a good picture," remarked Mr. C. carelessly. The two whispered together again for a few seconds. "Well, stranger, I believe I'll go it. How long will it take now, to make it?" "In this light it will take a little longer. But a few moments will be sufficient. Walk this way to the sitting room." "Never mind." Said the speaker, "I can jest give you the description of the creeter here, and I'll com back in an ewer." "The description!" said the artist, with some surprise. "Yes," said the other. I want to git a fust rate pictur of my horse Red Eagle. He's a bright sorrel, with a star in his face, two white fore fee, and his tail..." "Where is your horse?" interrupted Mr. C. "Down in Montgomery. He's jest a little the hansomest piece of horse- flesh down in them..." "Very likely," said Mr. C., "but I can't take a picture of your horse in Montgomery." "What!" exclaimed the man, "can't you doggerytipe a horse?" "Yes, I can take a picture of a horse, but I must have him before me." "But, bless your soul, man, I know every hair from his snout to his fetlock. He's a bright sorrel, as I told you, with a switch tail, and a star in his face, and two white..." "But that won't do," interrupted Mr. C., "to take a daguerreotype, we must have the subject to be taken before us." Both the men regarded Mr. C. with looks of mingled incredulity and chagrin. "Then you say you can't doggrytipe a horse?" asked one. "Not unless he is standing before me." "Yo can't," said the other. "Come Bill," said his companion, "I've had enough of yet doggrytipe. It's nothing, but a humbug, no how. Let's go the printin' office and get one printed, for I'm dad fetched if I ain't bound to have a pictur of Old Eagle 'for I leave this ere burg!" Whereupon they both took an abrupt leave of the artist, indulging, as they went, in no very complimentary terms of comment upon the Daguerrean Art, and the artist, "who couldn't doggrytipe a horse." --Savannah News (cited from a re-type in the January/February 1996 Daguerreian Society Newsletter (Vol. 8, No. 1) ----------------------------------------------------------------- 04-26-96

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