An introduction to the text
Letter from an idle merchant
This text is from the 20 July 1839 issue of The New-York Mirror: A Weekly Journal of Literature and the Fine Arts (New York: Vol. 17, No. 4) page 31.
Few details regarding Daguerre's discovery were available at this time; the public could only speculate about both the process and the product of the invention. This article is especially fanciful and seems to be in want of the details Sir John Robison provides in his first-hand account (also published in July 1839.) Robison had opportunity to visit Daguerre in June or earlier of 1839, and provided details of the visit in his article, "Perfection of the Art, as stated in Notes on Daguerre's Photography." published in The American Journal of Science and Arts (New Haven; Vol. XXXVII, No. 1; July 1839) pp. 183-5.
This author uses the term "daguerroscope." The term is not unique to this article, having earlier appeared in the 13 April 1839 issue of The Corsair. A Gazette of Literature, Art, Dramatic Criticism, fashion and Novelty (New-York; Vol. I., No. 5) pp. 70-2. An even earlier appearance of the word is found in the 7 March 1839 issue of the Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D. C., Vol. 27, No. 8131.) Citing the 2 February 1839 London Literary Gazette, the article entitled "The New Art; or, "The Pencil of Nature." mentions that "...The French call this instrument by the name of its inventor the Dagueroscope."
All the above mentioned articles are available on our web site.
* The article, "Perfection of the Art..."
* The Corsair article
* The article "The New Art..."
Gary W. Ewer, 20 July 1997.
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