The 
Daguerreian Society


On this day (November 7) in the year 1898, Samuel C. Busey, M.D. 
addressed the Columbia Historical Society (Washington, D.C.) on the 
topic, "Early History of Daguerreotypy in the City of Washington." I've 
taken extracts regarding the Plumbe galleries from Dr. Busey's address 
which was published in "The Records of the Columbia Historical Society 
of Washington, D.C." Volume 3, 1900; pp. 81-95
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


  In the Washington Directory and National Register for 1846, "compiled 
and published by Gaither and Addison," which, with other useful 
information, contains the "names, residences and employment of 
citizens" of this city at that date, I find the following:

  Plumb's Daguerrian Gallery (Concert hall Building), on Penn. Ave., 
between 6th and 7th Sts." Page 69.


Among the advertisements, in the same volume, I find the following, 
printed in black ink on pale yellow paper:

                  PLUMBE
       NATIONAL DAGUERRIAN GALLERY,
                   And
            PHOTOGRAPHIC DEPOT,
               Founded 1840.
Awarded the medal, Four First Premiums and Two Highest Honors, by the 
Institutes of Massachusetts, New York, and Pennsylvania, for the most 
beautiful Colored Daguerreotypes and best apparatus.
  CONCERT HALL, PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE,
            WASHINGTON.
251 Broadway, New York.
75 Court street, Boston.
136 Chestnut st., Philadelphia.
205 Baltimore street, Baltimore.
56 Canal street, New Orleans.
127 Rue du Temple, Paris.
32 Church street, Liverpool.
Broadway, Saratoga.
Market street, St. Louis.
Main street, Dubuque.
Jefferson st., Louisville, and
Main street, Newport.
Portraits taken in any weather, in exquisite style.

  The following opinions of the press are selected promiscuously from 
an (almost) indefinite number:
       (From the National Intelligencer.)
  Plumbe's Daguerreotype Miniatures are decidedly the most perfect 
specimens of the art ever produced in this city.  We have just seen an 
admirable likeness of Speaker Davis, which, apart from its fidelity, is 
unexceptionally the most artistic picture we have ever seen, and fully 
realizes all that the most fastidious can desire.
  We would recommend such of our friends as desire a counterfeit 
presentment of their features to make application to Professor Plumbe, 
at Concert Hall, Pennsylvania avenue.
       (From the United States Journal.)
  The Plumbe National Daguerrian Gallery, at Concert Hall, is an 
establishment whose superior merits are deserving the notice of all who 
feel an interest in the progress of the beautiful art of Photography; 
particularly those who wish to obtain elegant and life-like portraits 
of themselves or friends.
  Professor Plumbe has brought this wonderful art to a wonderful degree 
of perfection where further improvement seems problematical.
  The Professor's Gallery has been recently fitted up in elegant style, 
and its walls covered with a large number of new pictures, including 
those of many members of Congress and other distinguished individuals.
  We are pleased to learn that this ingenious artist is now engaged in 
taking views of all the public buildings in Washington, which are 
executed in a style of elegance that far surpasses anything of the kind 
ever seen.  It is his intention to dispose of copies of these beautiful 
pictures, either in sets or singly, thus affording to all an 
opportunity of securing perfect representations of the government 
buildings, whose intrinsic value is hardly exceeded by their worth as 
specimens of the most wonderful art ever discovered.
       (From the New York Journal of Commerce.)
   The pictures of Plumbe are remarkable for their fidelity and 
distinctness, and delicacy of color.  In saying that the Professor 
stands at the head of the Photographic art in this country, we but 
endorse an opinion universally prevalent.
       (From the New York Morning News.)
   Plumb's Portraits.--The distinguishing points in this artist's 
pictures are the distinctness with which every feature is produced on 
the plate, and the happy arrangement of lights and shades which render 
the whole figure so prominent, that seen in a strong or subdued light, 
the beauty and exactness of the picture are equally apparent.
       (From the New York Tribune.)
   A delight for after-years.--In after-years to retain in our 
possession the likeness of some one who has been beloved by us, is a 
delicious, even while sometimes a melancholy, pleasure.  Such a 
pleasure can any one enjoy who patronizes Professor Plumbe, the 
celebrated Daguerreotype artist in Broadway.  His pictures stand 
unrivaled by any in the world.
       (From the New York True Sun.)
   To those who love.--How cold must be the breast that does not love.  
How fickle the heart that wishes not to keep the memory of the loved 
for after-times.  Such cold and fickle hearts we do not address; but 
all others we advise to procure miniatures of those they love, at 
Professor Plumb's life-copying Daguerreotype establishment.
   Portraits taken in fair and cloudy weather at all hours.
   Perfect satisfaction warranted in all cases.

. . .in the Washington Directory and Congressional and Executive 
Register for 1850, complied and published by Edward Waite, the 
following is found:

Plumbe's Daguerrean Gallery, Concert Hall, W. side Pa. Av, btw. 6 & 7 
sts.

  Also the following advertsiments:

            Daguerrean Gallery, &c.
            PLUMBE NATIONAL GALLERY.
         Concert Hall, new Brown's Hotel.
   The proprietor of this well-known, highly popular, and long 
established Emporium of Photography, in order to keep pace with the 
rapidly increasing and extensive patronage, has found it necessary to 
make many new arrangements and additional improvements in the several 
departments, all of which tend to class this establishment with the 
most complete in the Union, possessing such facilities and advantages 
as to enable the proprietor to turn out specimens of the Daguerrean 
Art, which are pronounced by competent judges superior to any produced.
  By the addition of Mammoth Camera Apparatus and powerful Lenses, of 
an improved construction, lately imported from Germany and France, at 
considerable cost, the proprietor is also enabled to introduce 
Photographic Portraits of the largest size and of as unique finish as 
have ever been taken.  The style of these Portraits cannot fail to 
induce a decided demand, and for family groups must be greatly admired.
  In the Chemical Department, may important improvements have been 
developed, which greatly facilitate the "Sitting," and give an 
exquisite tone and finish to the Picture.
  The Photographic arrangements are such, too, as obviate the 
heretofore unpleasant methods of sitting; for, by the combination of 
large Graduating Sky and Side Lights, a most complete artistic effect 
of beautifully blended lights and shadows is the result; thereby doing 
away entirely with the ghostly hues, distorted visages, and murky 
impressions ordinarily taken, and giving instead roundness of figure, 
bold relief, and general life-like appearance, which constitute the 
qualities of perfect Daguerreotypes.
  The repeated failures and inconveniences heretofore materially 
affecting the taking of Children's Miniatures are entirely overcome.  
Such can now be produced in perfection in a second or two of time.
   Portraits and Miniatures finished in a variety of styles, and every 
effort made to please.  The public are solicited to visit the "Plumbe 
Gallery," and inspect the numerous beautiful specimens of art.
                                                          B.P. PAIGE.


(As always, original errors of grammar/spelling maintained including 
the variant spelling of "Plumbe."  --G.E.)
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Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     
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11-07-97


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