Samuel S. Sullivan

1841-1842       Elliot House, Bath, Maine.

Samuel S. Sullivan was recorded in four announcements and two advertisements in the Lincoln Telegraph (Bath, Maine).  The first announcement appeared on September 16, 1841.  Lecture on the Daguerreotype.  We have received a letter from Mr. Purkitt, a gentleman well and favorably known to our citizens as an able and eloquent lecturer, of which the following is an extract, which we commend to the attention of our readers.

“Permit me my dear Clarke, en passant, to inform you that Mr. S. S. Sullivan, of Boston, is intending to visit your place for the purpose of delivering one or more lectures on the novel and exceedingly simple and beautiful discovery of Daguerre.  Mr. S.is well educated, a gentleman of fine talents, of vivid imagination and an excellent writer.  He will be listened to, I am persuaded, with great interest by the intelligent citizens of Bath.

The discovery of Daguerre is new and wonderful.  But strange to say, like many other discoveries, it has fallen into bad hands—into the hands of men who have never investigated, and therefore, cannot be supposed to understand either its principles or its details—men, who are as ignorant of Photography as a science, as a horse is of the principles of the Steam engine—in a word, it has fallen into the hands of men whose only qualification to teach it is, their—ignorance.  Though there be many who practice the Daguerreotype as an art, yet how few are competent to explain it!  Their knowledge appears to be all in their fingers—and alas! that it appears so badly there—no in their heads,—I am persuaded that your citizens need only exercise their own discernment and sound practical good sense to perceive the difference toto caelo—between truth and fiction, knowledge and ignorance, merit and pretension.

I believe I am correct in saying that there never has been but one gentleman who has lectured upon this subject in this country, and he, I think, was a foreigner.  The fact is, there are no books upon the subject; those, therefore who investigate it must have resources within themselves—must be able by a knowledge of details to establish general principles and to carry them out into practice.  It is for this reason that I think that the lectures of Mr. S. will command the attention and receive the approbation of gentlemen of science and all the lovers of the arts.  I hope the good citizens of Bath will give him a hearing, as I doubt not they will find their evening spent in an agreeable and instructive manner.

I understand he intends to lecture on Monday evening next, of which I presume due notice will be given.

With respect to his Daguerreotype Portraitures I can only saying the language of one of your contemporary journals, “they are wonderfully perfect, and surpass in correctness and beauty any that I have ever seen; they as far exceed those that have often times come under my notice, as an exquisitely finished steel engraving does one coarsely and clumsily executed on wood.  Indeed, I can conceive of nothing which can be added to make his pictures more life-like, unless it be the colors and tints of nature itself.  In this respect only, if at all, can a painted portrait be preferred. In all others, in accuracy and and minuteness of delineation, in the striking correctness of the features, in the delicate alternations of light and shade, the Daguerreotype Miniatures is as much superior to a painting, as the veritable productions of Nature are to the pencillings of the most accomplished artist.  These superiorities, together with the ease with which the likenesses are taken, (requiring a sitting of only a few seconds,) and the low price at which they can be obtained, must render them exceedingly popular.”  But your citizens will be able by an inspection of his specimens, to satisfy themselves of the wonderful results of this process.

I doubt not that many of your friends and neighbors will embrace the opportunity that will be presented to them of  ‘seizing the shadow ere the substance fades’—of snatching from oblivion some faces, that are worth saving from the corrosions of time.”  Yours truly. 

The second announcement appeared on September 23, 1841. The Daguerreotype.  The lecture on this new discovery, alluded to in our last, will take place on Monday evening next.  The reason it did not occur on Monday evening last was owing to the providential detention of the Lecturer, Mr. Sullivan, in Boston.  We trust our citizens will give him a full house.    

The third announcement appeared on October 14, 1841.  The Daguerreotype.  We have taken the trouble to examine several specimens of Daguerreotype Miniatures in Mr. Sullivan’s room at the Elliot House, with which we were much pleased.  The weather since he has been here has been exceedingly unfavorable, requiring considerable experimenting, in order to turn off perfect likenesses.  His specimens to day are very nearly perfect; and to-morrow he will probably be able to make them first rate.  Every body should call and examine this truly wonderful process.           

The fourth announcement appeared on October 21, 1841.  Particular attention is invited to the advertisement of Mr. Sullivan, who is now prepared to take first rate miniatures at the Elliot House.—Call on, Ladies and Gentlemen.

The first advertisement ran from October 21 to December 2, 1841.  Photography. Mr. Sullivan would inform the citizens of bath and its vicinity, that he has made arrangements to take Daguerreotype Miniatures. at his rooms in the Elliot House, where he will remain for a few days only; and will be happy to show specimens of this beautiful art to any who may favor him with a call.

The second advertisement ran from December 16, 1841 to March 10, 1842.  Photography—Once More.  The Subscriber has returned to Bath, and having availed himself of some recent improvements in the Daguerreotype Art, offers to take Miniatures, better, quicker and cheaper than has been done before; and without regard to weather.  His stay will be short.—Please give him a call, at the Eliot House. 

Samuel S. Sullivan is not recorded in other photographic directories.

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