Daguerreian Society

On this day (August 10) in the year 1901, the following obituary 
appeared in "The Boston Herald":
- - - - - - -

                OLDEST IN THE WORLD.

               Dean of Photographers
                 Dies at Age of 94.

              Josiah Johnson Hawes, a
                 Famous Bostonian.

             He Was the First American
               Disciple of Daguerre.

   Josiah Johnson Hawes, the oldest photographer in the world, died in 
Crawford, N. H., Wednesday, after a brief illness.  He was in his 94th 
year, and resided at 61 Temple street in this city.  He was in active 
business until a few months ago.

   Mr. Hawes was born in Wayland.  He began life as a painter of 
portraits in oil, and of miniature on ivory.  One day he learned that 
M. Gouroud, the representative of M. Daguerre, about whom and whose 
work something was known in this country, had come to Boston to tell 
the Boston artists more about the wonderful discoveries which made the 
sun do the work of the pencil and the brush.
   Mr. Hawes listened to the lecture which M. Gouroud delivered in the 
old Masonic Temple, and saw the works on exhibition there.  An 
acquaintance began which culminated in Mr. Hawes taking the agency and 
acquiring the control of the processes of which Daguerre was the 
   The process would be thought of little value today.  The time of 
exposure was so long--from a half hour to three hours--that the process 
was useless for anything but landscapes and still life, the interiors 
of stores which do not advertise, the district messenger boy in motion, 
and the progress of rapid transit.[sic]

   This was in 1841.  Two years later Dr. Draper of New York made some 
discoveries which reduced the time of exposure from one-half hour to 25 
seconds.  This was a great step.  It made possible the taking of 
portraits, and although the process was different, was really the 
beginning of photography.
   Then is was that the studio in the top of the old brick building at 
19 Tremont row was fitted up, and Mr. Hawes, with Albert Southworth as 
a partner, began the business which he so long conducted.  The skylight 
that lighted the studio was the first built for such purposes in 
   The studio stood in surrounding very different from anything there 
today.  Opposite was the residence of Gov. Hutchinson.  Behind, on the 

   [...apparent break in photocopied text...]

and Wendell Phillips and Mrs. Louise Chandler Moulton, then a young 
woman; and Prescott, the historian.  Here too, are Julian Hawthorn and 
his sisters, and Julia Ward Howe and Lucy Larcom.
   Here is one of the great family of Rothschilde, who had a partner 
here in Boston, and was visiting the American branch of his business 
interests.  It is a distinctly Jewish face, and yet has something 
commanding, interesting and attractive about it.  Horace Mann appears 
in profile, the smooth, white hair falling over a brow with an overhand 
like a modern cup racer.  One of the finest and most powerful and manly 
head in the whole collection is that of the original Adams, the founder 
of the great express business.

   There is an interesting group of Free-soilers, comprising Henry 
Wilson, George S. Boutwell, N.P. Banks, Anson Burlingame and a Mr. 
Hopkins.  Sumner appears in several positions, nearly all good.  There 
are portraits of William Lloyd Garrison, Josiah Quincy, William Warren 
of the old Museum company, Dorthea Lynde Dix, George Peabody, Grace 
Greenwood, Jared Sparks, Caleb Cushing, Judge Brigham, Judge Clifford, 
Judge Sanger, and a portrait of Chief Justice Shaw that would attract 
the attention of the most careless observer.  He wore the old-fashioned 
dress coat, his hair was long and thick and picturesque, and the 
picture was taken in a strong light from above, which gives it the 
appearance almost of being the photograph of a statue.
   Among a collection of so many famous men is one of a Salem girl, 
only 16 or 17 years old when she sat for the picture, but a belle of 
all the country round.  It is a face absolutely perfect in its beauty, 
and with a soul behind it.  At one time, when exhibited at the 
Mechanics' building almost 40 years ago, it was insured for $1000.  In 
Mr. Hawes' collection are over 40,000 negatives, besides several 
hundred daguerreotypes.
   Mr. Hawes found time to invent many useful things familiar to 
photographers during his busy career.  One of them was the vignette, 
another was the head screw, and a third a curtain slide for plate 
holders.  His were the first stereopticon views shown in American.  He 
also originated the swing back and the multiplying camera.  He kept up 
to the times in new methods, but was loyal to the artistic beauty of 
the daguerreotype.
   For over 50 years he was a member of the Mr. Vernon Church.  Mr. 
Hawes is survived by two daughters, Miss Alice M. Hawes, a teacher in 
the public schools; Miss Marion A. Hawes, and one son, Edward 
Southworth Hawes, a teacher in the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute.
   The funeral will be held today with services at his home, 61 Temple 
street, and will be private.

(Original errors of spelling/grammar maintained.  This article does 
also include errors of facts.)
Posted for your enjoyment.     Gary W. Ewer     

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