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

Two items today, the second of no particular date, but of interest nevertheless. - - - - - - - - On this day (October 21) in the year 1843, the following notice appeared in the "New-York Weekly Tribune" (one of several articles in the same paper describing an agricultural and manufacturing fair held at "Niblo's") Fair of the American Institute. The attractions of the Great Fair continue undiminished, and crowds of citizens and strangers still throng its spacious halls. We hope to speak of it even more fully than we have yet done before it closes. The articles exhibited which in our opinion possess decided merit are so numerous that we shall not attempt to notice them in detail, but confine ourselves to a few brief notices of those to which our attention was particularly directed. The first articles which arrest the attention of the visitor on his entrance, are the WAGONS, SLEIGHS, BOATS, STOVES and KITCHEN RANGES. The Ranges of Mr. PIERCE are No. 1 on the catalogue, and from actual experience in the use of this range, we can only say that if any of the others are as good as Mr. Pierce's, no one will find fault with them. ..(omitted paragraphs in the article describing cloth, lamps, silk, a screw-driving machine, a combination lock, a steam rotary engine)... There are a number of specimens of DAGUERREOTYPE LIKENESSES. We noticed a beautiful one of VAN LOAN'S, a man with a pipe in his mouth, which we recognized as most accurate and natural. ..(The article ends with descriptions of blacking material, a washing machine, perfume and other products. Thanks to Joe Bauman for this item.) * * * * * * * * From "Doesticks: What He Says" by Q. K. Philander Doesticks, P.B. [psedu. Thompson, Mortimer Neal] (New York: Edward Livermore, 1855) [Wright 2, 2492] "First edition of the humorist's first book, preceded by two pamphlets..." (Chapter 19 discusses Chatham Street and the Bowery. From the chapter, I cite paragraphs four through eight.) Chapter XIX "Side Shows" of the City. (p. 161-2:) Here abound those impassive wooden Indians of some tribe extinct, save in these civilized localities, who stand in the doors of seven by nine tobacco- factories, offering in persevering silence perpetual bunches of basswood cigars to the passer-by. Here are plentifully sprinkled multitudes of three-cornered shops where patient and eager women, so sharp and shrewd at a bargain, that he who buys must have all his wits about him, offer for sale the most incongruous assortment of second-hand property; from a last year's newspaper to a complete library, from a pint-cup to a seventy ton yacht, from a brass night-key to a steam-engine. Here too, almost every other doorway is ornamented with daguerreotypes of distinguished personages--negro-dancers duly equipped with banjo, tamborine and clappers--militia officers rigged out in all the glory of feathers and tinsel-- supreme rulers of Know-Nothing Lodges, resplendent in the full regalia of that astute and sapient order--and whole dozens of pictures of the beauteous model artists who exercise their modest calling in that vicinage; whose names are fanciful enough, but whose physical embellishments are not always the ones commonly attributed to the mythical characters they represent. "Kitty Clover" with splay-feet and dirty silk tights as "Venus Rising from the Sea," "Lilly Dale" cross-eyed and knock-kneed, as the "Greek Slave"--"Kate Kearney," with eyes rolled up, mock-pearls in her hair, in an attitude which must be exceedingly trying, as "Morning Prayer," or a trio of clumsy squaw-like damsels with smirking faces and stumpy limbs, as the "Three Graces." Not only are all these works of art exhibited gratis by the public-spirited habiters of Chatham Street and the Bowery, but they have an infinity of other exhibition, which cannot be classified as either gratuitous, theatrical, or amphitheatrical, to see which a fee is demanded, moderate but peremptory, trifling but inevitable. (The narrative continues with a description of what must have been "Barnum's Museum." -G.E.) -------------------------------------------------------------- 10-21-97

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