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Daguerreian Society


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.)
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Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     
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10-21-97


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