The Daguerreian Society

From American Phrenlogical Journal (New York) Vol. 27, No. 5 (May 1858) pp. 65-67. [Ed.: The text and the portrait caption misspells Brady's first. It is properly spelled "Mathew."]



   YOU have a temperament indicating a high degree of the mental or nervous, in conjunction with a wiry toughness of body, indicative of great propelling power and physical energy and activity. These conditions combined, produce intensity of emotion, depth and strength of feeling, and a disposition to be continually employed. You are living too much on your nerves, and need a great amount of sleep to recuperate your constitution, and to quiet your brain and nervous system; but you are tough, and will wear a long time, provided you take ordinary care of yourself

   Your brain is unusually large for such a body, and therefore you should guard against the use of everything calculated to chafe the nervous system and excite the brain, such as coffee, tobacco, alcoholic liquors, and also the common irritating condiments of the table. In addition to this, if you can secure eight hours of sleep in the twenty-four, you will find it greatly to your advantage.
   The development of your brain indicates a great amount of force of character. You are a natural worker, and you would be truly miserable if placed where you had nothing to do. You like to meet and overcome difficulties, and ought to have been engaged in civil engineering, building railroads, navigating ships, or in some other way wrestling with the world's difficult enterprises. You have astonishing Firmness. It would seem that for all your life long you had been overcoming obstacles and bearing heavy responsibilities. Opposition is almost a luxury to you, and to meet and master obstacles and conquer impediments a mere pastime. It is utterly useless to try to force you to do anything against your will. You can not and will not be driven by your peers, though you can be persuaded by sympathy and friendship to go almost any length, and to sacrifice almost any amount of convenience or ease to confer a favor.
   You have large Self-Esteem, which gives great self-reliance, disposition to trust to your own judgment, to rely upon your own resources, and take responsibilities. Firmness and Self-Esteem appear to have been greatly increased by use, for they stand out sharply beyond the other organs.
   Your sense of duty appears to be strongly marked; and when your idea of honor, your will, your sense of reputation, and your integrity are at stake, you will do and suffer vastly to achieve what you know is right, and to crush out the wrong. If you think that a man is true to you and really honest, you can put up with ignorance, carelessness, want of capacity, and a variety of other unpleasant things, just because of his fidelity; but if a man is treacherous, and indicates a disposition to be an eye-servant, you bear but little, and rid yourself of him as soon as possible.
   You have very strong friendships, and very great aversions. You like and dislike in the extreme and, for a friend you will go through fire and water; and if an enemy pursues you, you would run almost any personal or pecuniary hazard to punish him, or at least to repel his aggressions. You are a man of high temper, of real bravery, but not possessed of a malignant, revengeful spirit. Your anger is mostly made up of powder without the ball, and if you were to injure a man in anger, except it were in an extreme case of self-defense, no person would regret it more sincerely than yourself; but so long as the enemy's flag is flying, you have no idea of giving or taking quarter.
   You love home devotedly. Nothing would give you more pleasure than to own a nice situation on the Hudson. Every vine, and every shrub and tree would seem to have a heart and soul beating in harmony with your own, and with these you would seem to take root in the soil.
   You love children, and are a fervent friend, and capable of being an ardent, affectionate husband.
   Your Constructiveness and Ideality, joined with Order and Calculation, appear to be enormously developed, as seen in that great ridge running upward and backward from the external angle of the brow. We rarely find Ideality so large; and Constructiveness seems wedded to it, as if your mind had been in an artistic and mechanical study and labor for years, and, moreover, as if it were natural for it to be so.
   You are continually studying some new and beautiful design; and if you were a worker in marble or a painter, your reputation would be achieved through the talent to devise new patterns and work out original ideas. You are a natural inventor, and had you been trained up as a mechanical engineer, you would doubtless have achieved high success as an inventor.
   You have a full development of Imitation, and can copy well, but prefer to work right from the judgment or by the eye—to make new tracks rather than to follow old ones.
   Another peculiarity of your organization is the immense development of the perceptive group of organs. Individuality or Observation just above the root of the nose, Form which gives width between the eyes, and Size and Weight which give a kind of frowning appearance, together with Locality, are all remarkably large. You see everything that comes in sight, and remember forms remarkably well, also distances, outlines, and dimensions. You study attitudes successfully, and as an artist would show skill in that particular. Order, as seen in the prominence of the external angle of the brow, is also large, making you fastidious in respect to arrangement, while your great Ideality gives you such a sense of the perfect of what is tasteful and stylish, that your feelings in this respect are almost painful to yourself; and even when you get things just as you want them, the exhilaration in your mind incident thereto is of such an extreme character, that it is hardly pleasurable. Few men are as highly pleased as you with that which is gratifying to your faculties, and few, indeed, are so deeply exasperated when things are wrong. This all grows out of—first, your large brain; second, your nervous excitability; and third, the sharpness and activity of those large organs which give perception and criticism.
   Your memory of faces is first-rate, of places and outlines good, of dates, names, and of immaterial facts deficient. You love to read and study mind, and are rarely at fault in your first impressions of strangers. You like to read biographies and travels, in which action and character make up the chief attributes.
   You have strong sympathy, and this joined with your friendship makes your character quite bland under certain circumstances; but you have had your mind screwed up to the laboring point so long, that it has become rather angular, and it is less easy to please you and keep you in good temper than it was formerly.
   Your Veneration is subservient in its influences, and your respect for others depends upon ascertained merits, real achievement, and the power to do, rather than upon the common fame of the world in respect to them. Your religious feelings are shown more through benevolence than through devoutness. You have a kind of spirituality of mind which often leads you out of the region of the material, and gives, as it were, a foretaste of the inner and higher life, but you rarely attain to this state of mind through the action of your Veneration. Your imagination, faith, and sympathy constitute the only Jacob's ladder on which you climb.
   Your forehead appears retreating, not because it is small in the upper part, or region of the reasoning organs, but because it is so very large in perceptive development just over the eyes.
   Your sense of property is subservient. If you had a fixed income or annuity beyond the reach of mutation, you would like to work and make money to use in making experiments and in gaining knowledge. You value money solely for its uses—not to hoard it in a miserly manner. If you had been one of the British nobility, with a fortune and an education, you would have been likely to devote yourself to the culture of art and literature and science, as a source of mere gratification; and if you were removed from the idea or possibility of want, so that you could revel in the luxury of experiments and art, of science, literature, and travel, you would feel that heaven was almost begun.
   You are working too hard, and wearing out your constitution. You should husband your powers, take life more easily, that you may retain your health and prolong your life to a good old age.


   MATTHEW B. BRADY, the world-renowned disciple of Daguerre, is a native of the northern part of the State of New York, and is now about forty years of age.
   When a mere lad he was attacked with a violent inflammation of the eyes, and came near losing his sight. This misfortune, combined with an indomitable spirit of self-reliance and enterprise, induced his parents to send him from home for medical treatment.
   He first came to Albany, where he made the acquaintance of Paige, the eminent artist, who soon became his warm friend, affording him aid and encouragement.
   About this time the discovery of Daguerre having been introduced into this country, Mr. Brady decided to devote himself to the practice and development of the new art, and, if possible, to win a name and fortune as an operator and an artist—a resolve which he at once, with characteristic energy and intelligence, commenced to carry into effect. He learned the process, and familiarized himself with the chemical and artistic knowledge required to produce daguerreotype pictures, and soon was able to accomplish wonders in his new field of endeavor.
   He shortly after came to this city and opened a gallery, which was soon extended and enlarged to meet the requirements of a large and rapidly increasing business. His popularity and success were established in a very short time, and Brady's Gallery became one of the permanent institutions of our city, and a center of attraction for the resident lovers of the beautiful in art, and for strangers visiting the city.
   He early formed a plan for a National Gallery of Portraiture, which should be more complete than anything of the kind in the world.
   In connection with this purpose Mr. Brady established a gallery at Washington, and visited Europe, where he received marked attention, and was recognized as the Daguerre of America.
   In 1851, at the great World's Fair in London, Mr. Brady was an exhibitor, and carried off the highest award, thus establishing a supremacy which he has since maintained against the most determined spirit of competition.
   With the introduction of the ambrotype and photograph he has won a distinctive reputation. Brady's imperial photographs have become a national feature in art, and are spoken of by the highest authorities with the respect due to the most celebrated fine-art creations.
   He has recently reopened his gallery at Washington, which had been closed for some time.
   He has also commenced, in this city, a splendid Gallery of Imperial Photograph Portraits of Distinguished Clergymen and Pulpit Orators, which excites universal admiration, and has added a most interesting and attractive feature to his unequaled establishment.
   The last great success achieved by Mr. Brady in his art surpasses all previous conception of the possibilities of production. Single portraits and groups are taken life-size, with an accuracy, boldness, and perfection of naturalness never before attained.
   Mr. Brady's name has become inseparably associated with the development and application of the Daguerrean process in this country, and its history could not be written disconnected from his name, labors, and numerous successful applications of the art to practical uses.
   Few men have more vividly impressed individual traits upon a profession; few have ever illustrated any pursuit more brilliantly. His experience has been one of uninterrupted success, and in his hands a process, in itself mechanical, has become a plastic and graceful art, varied in its effects and almost infinite in its susceptibilities, exerting a revolutionary influence upon general art, culture, and taste.
   The difficulties which surround the introduction and application of a new discovery are known only to those who have encountered them. Effects alone impress the popular mind, their complicate pluses being usually lost sight of. Thus while many have participated in the surprise and satisfaction occasioned by the remarkable development of this and kindred discoveries, few have recognized it as the result of combined energy, enterprise, and ingenuity.
   The theory of Daguerre was of so startling a nature as to repel general faith in its practicability, and until its assumption by Mr. Brady, no effort commensurate with its importance was made to establish its utility.
   Convinced from the first that it embodied the germ of a new and unique art; that it promised to fulfill an important social and esthetic use, he devoted himself to its development with a zeal to which his present exalted position and that of the discovery bear ample and honorable witness.
   Improved instrumental appliances, free galleries, and various chemical and optical experiments were gradually productive of a result which soon attracted attention and affirmed decisively the soundness of Mr. Brady's judgment and the success and immense value of the discovery.
   Brady's Gallery of National Portraiture, numbering more than six thousand specimens, surpasses in contemporary interest and historic value any of a similar character in the world.
   All of that Titanic race which has covered the present century with renown; all who have added to the art-wealth of the age, or augmented its lettered glory, or aided its material advancement, are embodied in this magnificent collection; and a new grace is lent to the art, a historic dignity imparted to the effort, that thus concentrates and embodies from life the greatness of an era.
   Of the millions of engraved portraits issued during the last fifteen years by the publishers of this country, more, than from any other, have been executed from originals derived from Brady's Gallery, thus adding a universal recognition of the skill with which he has rendered the camera auxiliary to the art of the engraver.
   Several works, among which the "Gallery of Illustrious Americans," a work unsurpassed in magnitude or symmetry of design, have been issued from his establishment.
   In applying the camera to scientific illustrations of all kinds, Mr. Brady has rendered the most efficient aid to the cause of letters, and has given a greatly accelerated impulse to the introduction of illustrated periodical literature, which has become so marked a feature in the history of the times.
   Few men among us who have attained great eminence and success in business pursuits are more deservedly popular than Mr. Brady, from claims purely personal; for none can be more distinguished for urbanity and geniality of manners, and an untiring attention to the feelings and happiness of those with whom he comes in contact. From this cause, as well as from the extraordinary character of his artistic creations, has Brady's Gallery ever been recognized by the most distinguished families in the country as a fashionable and popular resort; while thousands have come and gone bearing away a new sense of beauty, with treasured specimens of art reflecting the features of loved and cherished ones.
   Mr. Brady, like all men who have impressed themselves with a powerful originality upon an age prolific in such characters, is a self-made man, and owes his present exalted position and remarkable artistic and business success mainly to his own unaided efforts and devotion to a high conviction and purpose.

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

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