The Daguerreian Society

From Illustrated News (New York) Vol. 2, No. 29 (16 July 1853).

ANECDOTE OF DAGUERRE.— M. Dumas related the following anecdote of Daguerre: In 1825 he was lecturing in the Theatre of Sorbonne, on chemistry. At the close of his lecture a lady came up to him and said: "Monsieur Dumas, as a man of science I have a question of no small moment to me to ask you. I am the wife of Daguerre, the painter. For some time he has let the idea seize upon him that he can fix the image of the camera. Do you think it possible? He is always at the thought; he can't sleep at night for it. I am afraid he is out of his mind. Do you, as a man of science, think it can ever be done, or is he mad?" "In the present state of knowledge," said Dumas, "it cannot be done; but I cannot say it will always remain impossible, nor set the man down as mad who seeks to do it." This was twelve years before Daguerre worked his idea out, and fixed the images; but many a man so haunted by a possibility has been tormented into a mad-house.

(Transcribers note: This anecdote was widely printed. It also appears in the 23 December 1851 issue of the Boston Daily Evening Transcript and the 6 August 1853 issue of Gleason's Pictorial.)

(End of text. Please refer to our textnote regarding this text.)

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