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

On this day (June 12) in the year 1852, the following article appeared in "Gleason's Pictorial" (vol 2, No. 24, pg377): ---------------------------------------------------------------------- The following text accompanied a wood-engraving portrait of "The Brothers Meade, daguerreotypists, New York,": THE BROTHERS MEADE. The Brothers Meade have been too long well known and appreciated both in this and foreign countries to require any very extended eulogium upon their character and merits. Their works speak for themselves. Commencing, as most of our operators have done, in an humble way, they occupied a small room in Down's Buildings, in the city of Albany, in the year 1842. In 1843 they removed into the Albany Exchange. Their exertions were crowned with success, and upon their arrival in New York, they established one of the most agreeable resorts to which the lovers of art could wish to retire. The brothers, ambitious to excel in the art to which they had devoted themselves, spared no pains or expense in rendering their collection of pictures equal to any others taken; and with the name and fame of Daguerre fresh and warm in each heart, they went forward with untiring energy in the glorious work. They not only imitated the improvements of others, but they succeeded in making other improvements themselves, which have become very popular. The first was a great improvement in the chemically colored background patented by Chapman, for which they were awarded a medal by the American Institute. From 1842 to 1843, The Meade Brothers practised with eminent success in different towns and cities of the United States, and had permanent establishments in Buffalo and Saratoga Springs, all of which they have since sold out, together with their Albany establishment, and are now permanently located at 233 Broadway, New York, where they have been nearly two years practising with their usual success. We cannot better give an idea of the extent of their reputation, than by quoting the following from the Albany Express: "Their reputation extended, and now their name is heard in every place in the Union, and in many places in the Old World, where they have visited, or where the art is known." In 1847 and 1848, Henry Meade went to Europe, and travelled through all the principal cities of England, France and Germany. Few will believe that this art, of only a few years existence, has grown to be of so much importance. In 1848, after the return of Henry, Charles R. Meade visited Europe for the same purpose as his brother. The most important business accomplished by Charles, was his taking the portrait of Daguerre, the inventor, which was obtained with the greatest difficulty. He visited him at his chateau, Brie Surmarne, and it was through the influence of Madame Daguerre that he was at last successful. They now possess the only daguerreotypes of Daguerre in this country; as he has always objected to sitting, and until this time, had steadily refused. There is a fine lithograph of him published by d'Avignon, New York. Mr. Meade also took some fine views in Europe. In 1846 they sent views of Niagara Falls in elegant frames to the king of the French and the emperor of Russia, for which they received presents and complimentary letters. These letters were published at the time all over the United States. There are many plans, we are told, which they have in operation, that will tend to elevate them still higher. In fact they are constantly doing, and a great portion of their success may be attributed to original ideas, and an enterprising liberal spirit. They forwarded by the St. Lawrence, twenty-four splendid daguerreotypes, elegantly framed, for exhibition at the World's Fair, London, which were among the most splendid and perfect daguerreotypes ever exhibited. Four of the pictures were peculiarly appropriate for the fair of all nation. They represented the four quarters of the world, Europe, Asia, Africa and America. The first represented by a beautiful group, surrounded by the arts, the second by an Asiatic in costume, on a divan, cross-legged, with pipe, etc., the third by two negroes naked, excepting a tunic from the waist to the knees, the fourth by a group of Indians. They have been much admired, and have attracted the attention of all true lovers of art. The brothers employ in their establishment ten assistants, and have a collection of nearly one thousand pictures, to which they are constantly making additions. It may be truly said that they occupy an enviable position. Young, and of pleasing and agreeable manners, they have many friends, and few enemies, and their talent as artists in their profession has won for them a very high character and standing. ----------------------------------------------------------------- 06-12-95

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