Tag Archives: Amesbury Massachusetts

Thomas E. Boutelle

Thomas E. Boutelle is known, he is listed in both Craig’s Daguerreian Registry  and in A Directory Of Massachusetts Photographers, 1839-1900.  The new information is that The England Business Directory also list him in Exeter, New Hampshire in 1856, 1860, and 1865.  Below is an quote from the book Whittier-Land, by Samuel T. Pickard, 1904. P. 97 & 100.

The likeness of Whittier  is from a daguerreotype taken in October, 1856, and has never before been published in any volume written by or about the poet. Mr. Thomas E. Boutelle, the artist who took this daguerreotype, is now living in Amesbury at the age of eighty-five. He tells me how he happened to get this picture,—a rather difficult feat, as it was hard to induce the poet to sit for his portrait. He had set up a daguerrean saloon in the little square near Whittier’s house, and Whittier often [Pg. 100] came in for a social chat, but persistently refused to give a sitting. One day he came in with his younger brother Franklin, whose picture he wanted. When it was finished, Franklin said, “Now, Greenleaf, I want your picture.” After much persuasion Greenleaf consented, and Mr. Boutelle showed him the plate before it was fully developed, with the remark that he thought he could do better if he might try again. By this bit of strategy he secured the extra daguerreotype here reproduced, but he took care not to show it in Amesbury, for fear Whittier would call it in. He took it to Exeter, N. H., and put it in a show-case at his door. His saloon was burned, and all he saved was this show-case and the daguerreotype, which many of the poet’s old friends think to be his best likeness of that period.