The Daguerreian Society

An introduction to the text

In correspondence I had with R. Derek Wood some time ago, Derek mentioned this about "The Athenæum" text:

"The first and last paragraphs are the only part of the text written by 'The Athenæum' contributor, the rest is a translation into English from the first half of A. Donné's original report in 'Journal des Debats (Paris), 20 August 1839, pp. 1-3. It is the most significant report of Arago's lecture that appeared during August 1839."
I'll add to this that the figure of "A. Donné" can be seen in the 8 December 1839 lithograph, "La Daguerréotypomanie." He is depicted on the right hand side of the illustration operating an instrument of portrait-torture under the banners "ÉPREUVE DAGUERRIENNE SUR PAPIER" and "SYSTÉM DU DOCTEUR DONNÉ." Donne formulated a method of taking paper proofs directly from daguerreotypes. Etching the plates by electrotyping, Donne could print up to 40 proofs from one plate.
   It was over a month later that this text appeared in the US press. The New-Yorker carried the text in their 28 September 1839 edition.

—Gary W. Ewer, August 21, 1997


Copyright 1995-2005, The Daguerreian Society -