Daguerreian Society

Two items for today. . .

On this day (January 25) in the year 1840, the following brief news item 
appeared in the "New-York Observer" (Vol. 18, No. 4):

THE DAGUERREOTYPE IN SPAIN.--At Barcelona, according to the Monituer 
Parisien, a fate was got up not many days since, on the first exhibition of 
the Daguerreotype.  An immence crowd assembled in the square, where the 
instrument was set up, with banners and music, and so great was the contest 
for the impression, when taken, that it was disposed of by lottery.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The following article appeared in the January 1895 issue of the "St. Louis 
and Canadian Photographer" (St. Louis, Missouri. Vol. 13, No. 1, page 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Leaves From the Diary of a Photographer.

  Some sitters would endure with patience the long sittings required for a 
picture during the early days of the Daguerreotype, others would consider 
it a great hardship.  One old gentleman, the head of a large dry goods 
house, wished twelve pictures for his children and friends; of course he 
must site twelve times.  He seemed to get along very well for the first 
five or six, but he became sleepy, and we had to wake him up at every 
subsequent sitting.
  We always kept sticking wax to keep wing-shaped ears from standing out 
from the head, and often used a wad of cotton to fill out hollow cheeks. 
 The ladies called the plumpers.
  A mother on bringing her daughter for a picture said: "Now make me darter 
look nice, its for the gentleman that's payin tentions to her."
  A clergyman who wore an old-fashioned high white cravat carried his head 
so high that I could not get a picture without showing his nostrils.  It 
was he, that a talkative woman made a remark about.  She said, "When that 
man dies, the undertaker will not have much trouble, as he is already laid 
  The best advice I ever heard as to expression was from a country girl to 
her intended.  She said, "Now, Josh, kinder smile and kinder don't."
  The door is slowly opened, and an old colored man modestly enters, taking 
his hat off, and making a low bow; he wants his telegraph taken wid out no 
hat on."
  A boy and his sister sits for a group; as they come from behind the 
screen the boy asks, "Does it make any difference if you rub your nose?" 
 He is told it does.  "But why did you do it?"  "Because a fly was walking 
over my nose and I brushed him off."
  Pat does not like his picture, with arms akimbo he says, "Me nose turns 
up and me mouth turns down, and I'll not have it at tall."
  Judge------ was sitting for a picture, and his friend said, "Now, Judge, 
look dignified, just as you did the last time you sentenced a man to b 
hung."  The Judge said, "I don't know about that, as that man was 
  A man once told me his picture looked like the devil.  I told him I could 
not say as to the likeness, as I had not seen that personage, but sometimes 
a resemblance ran all through families.
  Pat brought a small case, and said he wanted his picture in it life size. 
 He was told the box was too small to hold a life-size picture.  He stood a 
minute and said, "Then take it with the legs hanging down."
  A country man went out to get his boots blackened, as he was to have a 
dead taken for a locket.
  An old lady called out in the middle of the sitting, "Stop it, stop it, I 
  A prominent clergyman after sitting in several positions said, "I wanted 
to move that time."  I asked him if anything annoyed him, he said, "No, I 
think it was pure cussedness."
  In one of the city galleries the proprietor had a show case in which he 
exhibited pictures which the sitters failed to call for, he labeled it, 
"Shades of the departed."
  A letter from Wisconsin asks me to send the writer the pictures of Queen 
Victoria and all her daughters if I have them.  He is told that she had not 
been in lately, but the first time she was in with the girls he should 
receive them, if they had their best clothes on and were willing to sit.
  A man gave me his address, Salt Lake City.  He was a Mormon, and said he 
had three wives.  I told him I would take a picture of the four heads of 
the family if he would bring them all in, without charge, as he was the 
most married man I had ever met.  He said he had not brought them along, he 
was afraid of the dry goods stores; his pocket book might not be equal to 
the demands.  I asked him how their duties were divided so as not to 
conflict, he said, "That was easy enough, that one helped him in his 
grocery store, another kept house, and the third dressed and spanked the 
children."  And he said, "number three was about the busies one of the 
  On showing a husband the proofs of his wife's picture the operator threw 
one aside, saying it would not do, as she had allowed the end of her tongue 
to show.  Let me see it said the man, I did not know there was any end to 
  A photographer advertised to take deceased persons at their residences. 
 He might find it difficult, as chemicals do not work well in hot climates.
  A mother brought a bouncing baby for a picture.  As the operator came out 
of the dark room with his plate she was spanking the baby.  He remonstrated 
with her, as she would spoil the expression.  She said it was color she was 
after, as he always had such a good color after being well spanked.
  A lady said she wished to be taken two ways, "standing in her hat and 
sitting in her cap."  As you please, but it is not usual for ladies to 
stand in their bonnets, and it would ruin your cap to sit in it.
  A Frenchman, having received the photograph of a lady, enquired, what was 
usual under the circumstances.  He was told to compliment it, and say its 
beauty is very rare.  "I beg to make the acknowledgment madam, zee beauty 
is very scarce."
  "Did you read in the papers about the man who had a cat photographed on 
his head by the lightning?"  "Well," said Swipes, "I don't see anything 
wonderful about that; I once had a gridiron printed on my head without the 
lightning."  "How did that happen?"  "My wife did it."
  A young lady said, "That photographer is a handsome man, but I don't like 
him; he said I must take the chewing gum out of my mouth and keep my lips 
still.  I wouldn't keep my lips still just to get a picture.
  A graduating class of twenty-three young girls were taken in a group; 
they all kept still the required time.  The teacher said they had never 
kept still and stopped talking so long before in their lives.  They made up 
for lost time by all talking at once for the next fifteen minutes.
  "You will take my picture easy," said a husband, "but my wife cannot stop 
talking long enough to have hers."
  As a boy with red hair goes behind the screen, his father says, "Now, 
Mike, stand straight, and hold aisy while the gentleman draws yer picter, 
you'll not be taken wid a black head anyway."
  The operator arranges two chairs for an engaged couple; the gentleman 
suggests that one chair will be sufficient.
  Stout people always wanted to be taken a little thinner, as they were 
stouter than usual just then.  Thin people always wanted to be taken a 
little stouter, as they were thinner than usual just then.  Large people 
wanted to look smaller, and small men always wanted to be taken to look 
  Homely men wanted to look handsome.  Homely women, well, we didn't have 
any.  Somebody had said, "There is no woman so homely as not to be a pink 
in somebody's eye.
  A husband said, "He did not expect a handsome picture of his wife, he did 
not marry her for her beauty, but because she was good.  The wife 
retaliates by saying, she did marry him for his good looks, but they did 
not wear well; all faded out in the first washing.
  A man had gone into politics, and his picture came out in a newspaper; on 
seeing it his wife began to cry.  He asked her why she cried.  She said, 
"If I had known you looked like that I never would have married you."
  It is said that a French woman on cleaning a fish discovered the likeness 
of the fisherman in one of the eyes of the fish.  Like other fish stories 
this needs confirmation.
  An old lady on being told to look at a bird on a stand said, "La, sus, I 
thought I must look in the spout."
  General Logan had several sittings, and on looking at the pictures on the 
walls, say a man of considerable notoriety who had swindled him in a 
business transaction.  He said, "I suppose you take any and everybody as 
they come along, and would take the devil if he would sell."  I told him 
that was so, and I supposed "old Beelze" would sell well around Washington. 
 The General said "that's the place to sell him."
Abraham Bogardus.

(original errors of spelling/grammer maintained --G.E.)
Posted for your enjoyment.       Gary W. Ewer      

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