Mayo G. Smith

1841                2 Hussey’s Block, Corner Main and Union Street, Nantucket, Massachusetts

1842                R. Pollard’s Corner of Chestnut and Centre Streets., Nantucket, Massachusetts.

Mayo G. Smith was recorded in three announcements and three advertisements in the Nantucket Inquirer (Nantucket, Massachusetts).  The first announcement appeared on September 8, 1841. 

Dentistry.  Drs. Smith and Ward, who this morning announced the opening of their office in this town, come hither, we can assure the public, with the highest testimonials in reference to character and ability…

We have also been favored with a view of several admirable specimens of Daguerreotype portraiture, in which wonderful art Dr. Smith received instructions from Prof. Morse of the N. Y. University.  If he should find leisure, by this most indisputably accurate process, to immortalize the lineaments of certain of our friends and neighbors, we hope he and they may be induced to seize the present opportunity for snatching from oblivion some faces, that are worth saving from the corrosion of time.

The second announcement appeared on September 15, 1841.  Daguerreotype Likenesses.  All who have eyes, noses, and mouths worth having in remembrance of their children and friends should be reminded, that an excellent opportunity is afforded for a few days longer, of having said lineaments faithfully copied and neatly encased from injury in a shape and size fit for transmission to posterity, and which may endure long after the breathing original shall cease to be.  This method of obtaining likenesses of course exceeds every other in correctness, for nature is the limner and she makes no mistake.  Persons about to leave their homes, should avail themselves of so desirable a chance of leaving with their friends, a keepsake that shall be of priceless value,—or of tacking with them the loved “features of a face” which though “graven on the feeling heart,” may never again in substance, salute their vision.  “young men and maidens, old men and children,” sit still just fifteen seconds and ye are painted in a style that no artist’s pencil can equal.  We refer our readers to the advertisement of Dr. Mayo G. Smith, on our third page.

The first advertisement ran from September 15, 1841 to September 22, 1841.  Daguerreotype Likenesses.   “Secure the shadow ere the substance falls.” 

The subscriber having been initiated in the mysteries of Photography, by Prof. Morse of the N. York University, respectfully informs the inhabitants of this place that he is ready to take likenesses, by this interesting process, at the office of Smith & Ward, 2 Hussey’s Block, corner main and Union street. Mayo G. Smith                                                          

The announcement appeared on September 22, 1841.  The Daguerreotype.  We annex an article from the Boston Transcript of the 10th inst. in  relation to this very interesting and wonderful art.  Many persons in this town who have applied to Dr. Smith for the purpose of being “born again” assured us they would not part with the likeness obtained by this process, on any consideration, so correctly are they delineated.  Indeed, we have had our own phiz transferred with an accuracy and finish truly astonishing.  Individuals can be supplied with exact and beautiful portraits in a few seconds, at the room of Smith & Ward, corner of Main and Union streets, neatly enclosed in morocco cases, which will give entire satisfaction.

Thanks to the praiseworthy liberality of the French government, the benefits of this wonderful discovery are confined within no narrow limits, now that the secret has been fairly bought, and handsomely paid for, the world at large seem resolved to make the most of it.  Go where we will, in city or country, we find a “Photographic Institution” in full operation; and the mantel piece or the centre table of every person of taste is almost sure to contain, among its other ornaments, the counterfeit presentment of the human face divine, traced by the unerring finger of nature herself.  It is now, we think, not quite two years since its first discovery, and it is quite surprising to see with what rapidity this invention has made its way throughout the length and breadth of the land.

We have always been great admires of fidelity in a portrait.  We want no fancy sketches of ourself or friends.  Yet painters are almost always sure, though perhaps unintentionally, to give us a face rather as they conceive it should be, than as it really is.  Copley’s freedom from this habit is one of the greatest merits of his masterly pictures.  He painted you a face and figure just as he found them, and that, too, with a boldness and depth of shadow, absolutely unequalled in our day.  Such pictures are worth having and keeping.  The photographic drawings, it is true, are far from being substitutes for the triumphs of artistical skill in limning, and, above all in color, but they are yet invaluable for their perfect truth.  We are sure, when we sit down before the wonder working apparatus, of being mirrored exactly as we are, and this alone is enough to reconcile us, in this case, to the absence of every thing else which we value in a portrait.  Where we are so fortunate, indeed, as to possess both, we have nothing farther to ask.

It was stated, a short time since, that M. Daguerre has been constantly engaged in perfecting his discovery, and that a great improvement in the length of time requisite for the process has been the result of his labors.  We have no doubt that still farther improvements will yet be made; and you can only express the hope that so indefatigable and scientific a man may live long to enlighten and benefit mankind.

By the way, speaking of Photography, we will subjoin, for the amusement of those of our readers who have been Daguerreotyped, a graphic sketch of the new style of portrait printing, and of its effect upon the sitter, extracted from a humorous and witty contribution to the Littell’s Museum, on Photographic Phenomena:—

Apollo, whom Drummond of Hawthornden styled

“Apelles of Flowers”

Now Mixes his showers

Of sunshine, with colors by clouds undefilled;

Apelles indeed to men, women, and child,

His agent on earth, when your attitude’s right,

Your collar adjusted, your locks in their place,

Just seizes one moment of favoring light,

And utters three sentences—“Now its begun”—

“It’s going on now, sir.”—and “now it is done;”

And lo!  As I live, there’s that cut of your face

On a silvery plate

Unnering as fate.

Worked off in celestial and strange mezzotint,

A little resembling an elderly print.

“Well, I never!”  all cry; “It is cruelly like you!”

But Truth is unpleasant

To prince and to peasant.

You recollect Lawrence, and think of the graces

That Chalon and Company give to their faces:

The face you have worn fifty years doesn’t Strike you!

The Criticisms of the Sitters.

“Can this be me!  Do look, Mamma!”

Poor June begins to whimper,

“I have a smile, ‘tis true;—but pa!

This gives me quite a simper.”

Says Tibb, whose plays are worse than bad,

“It Makes my forehead flat;”

And being classical, he’ll ad!,

“I’m blow’d if I like that.”

Courtly, all candor, own his portrait true;

“Oh, yes, it’s like; yes, very; it will do.

Extremely like me—every feature—but

That plain pag-nose; now mine’s the Grecian cut!”

Her grace surveys her face with drooping lid;

Prefers the portrait with Sir Thomas did;

Owns that o’er this some traits of truth are sprinkled;

But view the brow with anger—“Why it’s wrinkled!”

“Like me!” cries Sir Turtle: “I’ll lay two to one

It would only be guess’d at by my foes;

No, no, it is plain there are spots in the sun,

Which accounts for those spots on my nose.”

“A likeness!”  Cries Crosslook, the lawyer, and sneers;

“Yes the wig, throat, and forehead I spy,

And the mouth, chin, and cheeks, and the nose, and the ears,

But it gives me a cast in the eyes!”

The second advertisement ran from September 25, 1841 to November 24, 1841.  Daguerreotype Likenesses.   “Secure the shadow ere the substance falls.” 

The subscriber having been initiated in the mysteries of Photography, by Prof. Morse of the N. York University, respectfully informs the inhabitants of this place that he is ready to take likenesses, by this interesting process, at the office of Smith & Ward, 2 Hussey’s Block, corner main and Union street.

Likenesses, enclosed in neat morocco cases, will be furnished for from $3 to $5, Groups in proportion.  Mayo G. Smith.          S15

The third advertisement ran from November 5 to November 12, 1842.  Teeth.  M. G. Smith having returned to Nantucket, informs his friends and the public generally, that he is prepared to perform all operations in Dentistry particularly the medical and surgical treatment of alcerations, diseases of the gums and all alveolar complaints…

M. G. S. has also a Daguerreotype Apparatus by which he can take permanent and perfect likenesses…

…Office at R. Pollard’s corner of Chestnut and Centre Sts.

Mayo G. Smith is not recorded in other photographic directories.

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