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

On this day (August 17) in the year 1850, the following advertisement appeared in the "Boston Daily Evening Transcript: - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - T O D A G U E R R E O T Y P E A R T I S T S . Any one with a practical knowledge of taking good Pictures, and who has the necessary apparatus, together with 300 or 400 dollars, and who would like to spend a winter in the beautiful climate of the West Indies, may hear of a good opportunity to realize a considerable sum by the above outlay, in connection with the adver- tiser, who is well acquainted with the country and lan- guage, having passed two or three years there. Address at M B. French's Daguerrean Apparatus Warehouse, 109 Washington street. 3t aug17 - - - - - more... - - - - - - - - - This account appeared in the August 1895 issue of the "St. Louis and Canadian Photographer" (Vol.13, No.8, pg 355-356.) I include it in today's DagNews as it is a first-hand account of how a town interacted with a an itinerant daguerreotypist. NEARLY HALF A CENTURY. A FEW days ago a short article, from the pen of the best known and most popular man in our profession, appeared in the Cleveland press, entitled "An Independence Ball." It was retrospective, and carried one away into the classic year of 1850, when the writer made a professional trip to what was then the "West." To Painesville and Kirtland, Ohio. His description written in the smooth, suave style of his ordinary conversation was a interesting to me as it must have been to many others. Mr. Ryder is quite entitled to be called a '49er, and I understand his search for gold with a buffing wheel was as successful as if he had carried a cradle, as he claims he is the only photographer alive or dead on earth who has ever used a Mormon temple for a daguerreotype or photo gallery, but it is just the sort of thing we might expect. If the amethystine gates of the golden city could be coaxed to swing ajar for any live man, that man is J. F. Ryder, beyond any manner of doubt. I enclose a letter from a gentlemen in Kirtland who well remembers Mr. Ryder's visit and describes his appearance at that time: "MR. DUMBLE: "Dear Sir,--Mr. Ryder's 'Independence Ball' has recalled that balmy day in May or June, 1850, when he first came to Kirtland. We had done most of our seeding and Spring work, and a number of the neighbors had gathered about the front door of Gus. Bump's tavern, talking over the prospects, when Bob. Briggs drove up in his buckboard, and with him a stranger. We didn't see many new faces in these days, and every one was curious to know who the new man was. Some said he was a doctor; we needed a doctor pretty bad just then, and so far as we could tell from his face he was just the chap we wanted. There was considerable 'fever and shake' around, and the town expected an addition to the population so that we naturally hoped he was an M.D.; others thought he was a minister or a land agent. He seemed about nineteen or twenty years of age, with fresh complexion, and was dressed in city clothes, as it seemed to us a little too fine for first impressions on plain, Western people. To tell the truth we didn't like him a bit, and remarks were made of an uncomplimentary nature. Bye and bye, when Gus. had put away his traps, the stranger walked quietly up to where we sat and gave us the time of day. Then, like the gentleman he was, he asked us to take something. He was no minister, that was certain. Well, in two or three minutes that fellow had made friends with all the men around Bump's tavern, and that meant the whole town. Then he showed us some pictures, the slickest things we had ever seen, and when he asked if he could use the temple for a few weeks he got it, you bet. If he had asked for a town and a dozen wives he'd have got them, too. Well, he took every one for twenty miles about, and when he left I'm blamed if it didn't seem like a public calamity. Many a pretty girl cried, and even sealed women, who ought to have known better, cast longing eyes up the road as he drove away. They long remembered the soft brown eyes of the young picture man. "Hoping these few lines may not be without interest, I am, as ever, yours, Jas. Clark." ----------------------------------------------------------------- 08-17-96

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