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

There is a new site on the web that you don't want to miss. It is a monumental effort: the site is stunning in presentation and vast in its content. "American Photographs - The First Century" is the premiering feature of "Helios - National Museum of American Art; Photography Online." Don't even go there if you have only a few minutes to stay...you'll be doing yourself a disfavor. Make yourself a pot of coffee, shut the door, sit back, and plan on staying for awhile. Daguerreotypes? Of course, but you'll want to see the rest as well. (I'll also suggest that if you have a choice, visit the site with Netscape rather that Microsoft's Internet Explorer as the site uses javascript; Netscape seems to handle better the site than Explorer.) The URL is: http://www.nmaa.si.edu/Helios/ Now for the news: On this day (December 23) in the year 1852, the following notice appeared on page 1 of the "Boston Daily Evening Transcript": - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - WELCH'S ENGRAVING OF WASHINGTON. Mr. Editor: In last Thursday's Transcript it was my object to make known what the publisher had omitted, viz: that Mr. Welch engraved from daguerreotypes by Messrs. Southworth & Hawes. I should have added that Mr. Welch came to Boston one year ago today, Dec. 21st, having previously neither commenced his picture, nor seen the portrait. Mr. Welch was diligent to obtain all that could aid him to produce an exact copy, and when he saw the daguerreotypes knew that he neither could need or desire more. He, of course, at the time studied the original and compared the copies with it, and then returned to Philadelphia, and engraved his picture. Mr. Welch has shown greater powers as an artist in engraving this picture, from daguerreotypes, in four or five months, than though he had spent three years in doing the same thing with the portrait before him. I trust this statement, when taken with the one I made under the signature of S., together with the most unqualified declaration of my confidence in Mr. Welch, as a perfect gentleman and an accomplished artist, will, at least, not be objected to by his friends or by "Justice." I should not have replied to the article signed "Justice," in Monday's Transcript, had not the writer made use of Mr. Folsom's name and letter, which "if he has copied correctly" only shows an unintentional mistake of Mr. Folsom's, evidently an indefinite expression, and not designed to establish dates. When facts are required as to the time, the words "two or three years" must be changed so as to read nearly eight months. I will only add that one motive for noticing this engraving was to make known to the public the value of daguerreotypes, and the aid daguerreotypists may afford engravers in their sphere of the fine arts. I shall make no reply to anything further upon this subject, not endorsed with the writer's signature, and hold myself accountable for the article signed S. in last Thursday's Transcript, as also for the preceding communication. ALBERT S. SOUTHWORTH. Artists' Daguerreotype Room, 5 1/2 Tremont Row, Boston. ----------------------------------------------------------------- 12-23-96

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