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

On this day (November 29) in the year 1839, Francois Gouraud sent Thomas S. Cummings an invitation to a private "first view" of daguerreotypes brought from Paris. Cummings prefaces a transcript of the invitation: - - - - - - - DAGUERRE.--The extension of the daguerreotype--"singularly termed the marvelous process of drawing:--and the many varieties which have sprung from it, broadcast throughout the land, makes anything connected with its introduction a matter of interest. The following letter gives its presentment; and from its peculiar phraseology, is preferable to anything that might be given in its place. Could Daguerre's pupil see the beautiful specimens which now adorn the galleries of such establishments as Brady, Gurney, Fredericks, and others, and compare them with the feeble specimens he brought with him, he might well be astonished. Thomas S. Cummings: Dear Sir--As the friend and pupil of Mr. Daguerre, I came from Paris by the British Queen, with the charge of introducing to the New World the perfect knowledge of the marvelous process of drawing, which fame has already made known to you under the name of "The Daguerreotype." Having the good fortune to possess a collection of the finest proofs which have yet been made, either by the most talented pupils of Mr. Daguerre or by that great artist himself, I have thought it my duty, before showing them to the public, to give the most eminent men and distinguished artists of the City the satisfaction of having the first view of perhaps the most interesting object which has ever been exposed to the curiosity of a man of taste; and therefore, if agreeable to you, I shall have the honor of receiving you on Wednesday next, the 4th December, from the hour of 11 o'clock to 1 o'clock, inclusive, at the Hotel Francois, No. 57 Broadway, where this invitation will admit you. I remain, sir, your most obedient servant, FRANCOIS PAMSEL, NEW-YORK, 29th of Nov., 1839 Cited from Cummings, Thos. S., "Historic Annals of the National Academy of Design" (Philadelphia: George W. Childs, 1865) pg. 157-8. I will also mention that Philip Hone describes his visit, also on December 4, to the private show by Gouraud. Hone's journal entry for 4 December 1839 is available on The Daguerreian Society website at: http://www.daguerre.org/resource/texts/hone.html -------------------------------------------------------------- 11-29-97

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