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

On this day (October 19) in the year 1839, the following article appeared in the "New-York Mirror" (Vol. 17, No. 17, p. 135.) If not the first, this is certainly one of the earliest public exhibitions of the daguerreotype in the U.S. One could only wish that the author had been more impressed by the daguerreotypes so as to provide more than this passing mention. - - - - - - - - - Fair of the American Institute at Niblo's--It will be two weeks on Monday since the opening of this noble exhibition. A greater variety of articles than have been presented on any former occasion, will be found here, and the crowds of spectators, who have visited the exhibition, have been we believe, more numerous than heretofore, during the same space of time. The spacious area of Niblo's garden is almost entirely covered with masterpieces of art and mechanical workmanship and ingenuity. The covered walk from Broadway is filled with beautiful specimens of carriage manufacture--sleighs of elegant pattern, gigs, barouches, and other vehicles, some in a very novel style. Passing these, we come upon a row of stoves, grates, and cooking ranges of every variety of shape. The saloons present a striking array of fancy articles of every description. Here are head-coverings and feet- covering; hat, caps, slipper, some of very dainty workmanship; shoes, and boots, that rival in beauty the best Parisian; delicate specimens of shell-work and wax-work, confections, perfumery, brushes, silver and plated ware, capes, ruffles, turbans, jewellery, optical instruments, cutlery, and other matters. We might as well attempt to catalogue Broadway as to give a list of all of them. In the galleries are hung maps, pictures, samplers, and many ingenious masterpieces of the pen, brush, and needle. The admirable miniatures by Hite will be found well worthy of examination. Passing into the side saloon, you are surrounded by the evidence and promises of what is yet to be done in the manufacture of silk in the United States. These cannot fail to be regarded with great interest, not merely as results but as beginnings of results. Beyond we have portraits, and the first efforts of the Daguerreotype in this country; cotton prints, sheeting, broadcloths, woollens, musical instruments. In the lower side saloons we have beautiful specimens of cabinet-ware, chairs, tables, bureaus, wardrobes, bedsteads, and sofas. A fine mantel-piece of white marble, and another of fine black American marble, will excite particular admiration. The Cochran cannon is perhaps one of the most remarkable inventions in the room. Not the least of the attractions of the Institute consists in the cluster of fair faces, of nature's own workmanship, to be seen among the spectators. A fair specimen of the beauty, as well as of the mechanical skill of New-York, may here be witnessed; and we do not doubt that the most satisfactory prizes that the Institute can offer, may be obtained in this department. -------------------------------------------------------------- 10-19-97

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