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

For today (September 1) I'll give the following text, found under the heading "Salad For the Photographer", from "The Philadelphia Photographer" Vol. 7, No. 81 (September 1870) pages 330-331: *- - - - - - - - - THE INTRODUCTION OF PHOTOGRAPHY INTO AMERICA.--The brother of Professor Morse, addressing a Sunday-school of which the Professor had been, in former years, a superintendent, says: "Prior to the relinquishment of his profession as a painter, however, your first superintendent was the instrument, in the hand of Providence, of introducing into this country (America), that great (I may say the greatest) wonder of our age, the new art of photography. Photography, under the name of the daguerreotype, it is well known, was invented by the celebrated Daguerre, a French artist, who exhibited his first collection of specimens to the members of the French Academy of Sciences, in Paris, early in the year 1839. My brother was in Paris at the same time, exhibiting his telegraph to the same persons. Brother artists and brother inventors, thus brought together, each was invited to examine the other's invention; and my brother became earnest in his desire to introduce the Daguerreotype into America. On his return to New York, in April, 1839, he inspired me and my younger brother with a portion of his own enthusiasm. He was then entirely destitute of pecuniary means; and after ascertaining what was wanted to enable him to gratify his and our wishes, we removed the central part of the roof of our six-story building, covered it with a skylight, furnished the new chamber with camera and the other apparatus of photography, and, having thus completed the first 'tabernacle for the sun' erected on the western hemisphere, placed your first superintendent there to fix, for inspection through all time, the perfect image of men and things, as the great Painter, from his tabernacle in the heavens, flashed them upon the silvered plates. It was in that chamber that he who first practised the art of training in your Sabbath-school in 1816, trained the young men who went forth rejoicing from New York into every part of our land, to work the wonders and display the beauties of the new art, eliciting admiration from all beholders, and from the devout the exclamation, which four years afterward passed in an instant through the wire from Washington to Baltimore, to be recorded there, while it was echoed everywhere: "What hath God wrought!'" -------------------------------------------------------------- 09-01-98

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