1842 62 Milk Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
1843 75 Court Street, Boston, Massachusetts.
1843-1844 31 Middle Street, Over J. D. Kidder’s Store, Portland, Maine.
1845-1846 144 Middle Street, Portland, Maine.
1847-1851 112 Middle Street, Portland, Maine.
1848 Cataract Block, Saco, Maine
1849-1850 8½ Daniel Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
1851-1862 203 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts.1
1855 777 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts.1
Marcus Ormsbee, this is a partial record of his activity before the partnership Ormsbee & Silsbee in Portland, Maine and Boston, Massachusetts (see yesterday’s post for partnership records). He was recorded in eleven advertisements (three of which he was mentioned in) and one announcement in four different newspapers. The first advertisement appeared on January 2, 1844 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser (Portland, Maine). Ormsbee’s Daguerreotype Rooms, For Colored Miniatures, No. 31 Middle Street….Portland. The Proprietor, who was the operator and Teacher at the Daguerreotype Studio, No. 62 Milk St., Boston, where the art flourished and superseded all other establishments of the kind, (the first year) has, since that time, been employed in the same capacity, at the well-known establishment, “Plumbe” Daguerrian Gallery, No. 75 Court Street; and in fact, has been Teacher of this beautiful and most desirable art ever since the application of the process to taking miniatures.
In compliance with numerous and urgent invitations from the inhabitants of Portland and vicinity, he has opened Rooms, (as above) where can be examined specimens of his work, some of which are taken of public men well known to most persons, and he does not hesitate in saying, would be recognized from their miniatures as readily as they could be, were their faces reflected in a mirror.—He is as will be observed, (having been long time familiar with every department,) well qualified to instruct, or execute, in the very best manner, Miniatures taken from life, copies of Portraits, Bust, Pictures, &c. &c., and color them equal to the finest and most delicately finished painting, with every variety of color in the dress.
His prices being the same, with settings and case, as heretofore charged without—the advantage to his Glass House, so easy of access, (being but one flight of the stairs from the ground)—also affording a light that will admit of producing equal results in any weather—he hopes from these inducements to receive an early call from those who are wanting miniatures taken by his process, which he warrants to produce a copy that cannot be mistaken by the youngest acquaintance. He will further say, that should the miniatures after being taken and put into cases, not suit, the persons are under no obligation to take them.
N. B. Instructions in the art given, and every article appertaining to the business furnished, warranted of the best quality, and at the very lowest prices.
Terms.—A single Miniature, with setting and case, $3. Cases and Lockets furnished, (of superior quality,) from $5 to $15.
All communications (post paid) will receive prompt attention. Dec. 27.
The second advertisement ran on June 4 & October 29, 1844 and on February 18, & April 15, 1845 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser. The Art At Last Perfected! By recent improvements, Ormsbee has brought the Daguerreotype Art of taking Miniatures to a perfection heretofore unparalleled, and he can now warrant, in every instance, a Perfect Likeness, colored or plain, and as strongly brought out as the finest painting or engraving. Satisfactory proofs of this fact, may be seen at his Rooms, over the Store of J. D. Kidder, Middle Street, in the Miniatures of many well-known citizens, taken by him. In no case will a sitter be obliged to pay for a Miniature unless it is perfectly satisfactory.
The process is not wearing to the most debilitated invalids; and such applicants as are confined at home he will wait upon at their houses, either in or out of the city.
A Single Miniature with handsome case $3.—Gold, Plated, and Gilt Lockets furnished cheaper than can be had here, or elsewhere.
Apparatus, with his late combination Lenses furnished, and instructions given at the lowest prices. Portland May 29, 1844.
The third advertisement ran on December 3 to 24, 1844 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser. Now. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New-Year are approaching. Those who wish to confer presents, on ‘Cousins,’ parents, brothers or sisters, could not select a more appropriate gift than a Beautiful Miniature, colored and correct to the minutest particular—such a one may be obtained for only $3, at Ormsbee’s Daguerreotype Rooms, (over J. D. Kidder’s ) Middle st.—Now Is The Time. nov. 29.
The fourth advertisement appeared on April 15, 1845 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser. Yes! It is rumored that Ormsbee is about leaving Portland—but notwithstanding his numerous invitations to go to Boston, Philadelphia, Washington and elsewhere, he is yet to be found at his old stand, “One Gross,” (143) Middle street, where he is now exhibiting Daguerreotype Miniatures taken by his very late improvement, by which they are taken much larger, more distinct, and in about one-fourth the time—the process now being but from 9 to 15 seconds sitting. He is able to obtain Miniatures of groups of children much younger then heretofore, and to the same degree of perfection as of adults.
A single Miniature, with handsome case, $3—Gold, Plated, and Gilt Lockets furnished cheaper than can be had in any other place.
N. B. Persons wishing to acquire the Art can be furnished with Apparatus of his recent improvements and be warranted with satisfactory instructions, with a few days’ practice, in the new process.
All communications, post paid, will be immediately answered.
The fifth advertisement appeared on December 16, 1845 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser.
Thanks. Giving, Christmas, and New Year’s. If those in want of Presents for either of those days, would just reflect for a moment, will readily perceive the Great advantage that a Daguerreotype Miniature has over any other selection that would cost twenty times the amount. Portland, Dec 2. 1845.
The sixth advertisement (the first he was mentioned in ) appeared on October 6, 1846 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser. Commercial Academy. Messrs. Keene & Drake Have opened a Room at 144 Middle Street, same entrance as to Ormsbee’s Daguerreotype Rooms, for the purpose of teaching Writing and Book Keeping…
The seventh advertisement ran on January 26 & February 2, 1847 in the Portland Weekly Advertiser. Of Course!! Although some have thought that Ormsbee would “of course” raise his prices for Daguerreotypes, because his competitors have left the city—he is yet happy to inform them that this opinion is incorrect. All have still and opportunity of obtaining the most perfect Miniature, set in a good Morocco Case, for the same low price as heretofore–$1.50. No. 112 Middle, opposite the [bot.] of temple St.
Then let those who are desirous of making the most acceptable Christmas or New Year’s Present, call on the subscriber and obtain a miniature of unrivalled finish. See a new and splendid case of miniatures at the door. Ormsbee. Portland, Dec. 22, 1846.
The first announcement appeared on January 18, 1848 in the Maine Democrat (Saco, Maine).
Likeness of Gov. Fairfield.—Mr. Omsby (Sic.) has, at his Daguerreotype Room, an excellent likeness of the late Hon. John Fairfield, taken just before he left home for the last time, From this he has taken several copies for some of our townsmen, and can take any number more. The copies are life-like. There are also likenesses from the plate engraved for the Democratic Review, but the expression is not so natural. Mr. John Dennett has taken some very good Daguerreotype copies of this engraving.
Mr. Omsby’s room is in the Cataract Block, where all who wish may see this remembrancer of our late friend—and get a copy of their own features if they choose.
The eighth advertisement ran from April 11 to June 13, 1848 in the Maine Democrat. Drowning. “Drowning Men,” the old adage says “will catch at straws.” This I believe to be the case with my neighbor, and I would say competitor, had he ever produced one miniature that would bear the least comparison with the most ordinary of even the subscriber’s pupils. The gent, of course a scholar, being a preacher and doctor, has called the public attention by his advertisement, which I presume he thinks is somewhat peppered with wit. The troubled man says to the public, not to be duped by persons boasting of their superiority. In reply to this, I will say that the gent fired without effect, as the daily increase of my customers induce me to believe that his reference to two or three group specimens, which were taken when in practice as a pupil , will not change public opinion in any degree, as relates to his, the ‘Elder’s great Humbug.’ Truly wonderful discoveries! Hillographic Drawings, not the old dark, rough Daguerreotype, as he is pleased to call it. I will further state to the public, that I practice the Daguerreotype process, and keep pace with the improvements in the art, having been favored with business enough to keep my whole time employed. I shall not be obliged to attend two or three other kinds of professions, therefore can give my customers the best miniatures the art affords. Ormsbee. Saco, April 3, 1848.
The ninth advertisement (second that he was mentioned in) ran from July 12 to September 14, 1848 in the Portsmouth Daily Advertiser (Portland, Maine). 144 F. M. Danielson Having taken a Room No. 144 Middle Street, wishing to solicit the favor of the citizens of Portland and vicinity, in sitting for their Daguerreotypes, having been in the employ of Ormsbee & Silsbee for the past, and Ormsbee the two years preceding years, feels confident that he can satisfy his patrons with a Daguerreotype Miniature, equal if not better than any one who professes the art, and at the very low price of $1.50 put into Velvet lined, and $1.25 in silk lined cases. May 9. 144 Middle Street.
The tenth advertisement ran from December 26, 1849 to July 18, 1850 in the New-Hampshire Gazette (Portsmouth, New Hampshire). Daguerreotypes Executed by the aid of Sky-Light. The subscriber having made some further improvements, also securing the assistance of Mr. F. M. Danielson, his operator for about four years, and the past year having obtained the premium for the best miniatures, feels assured in stating to the citizens of Portsmouth and vicinity, that they may obtain likenesses as much superior to any ever made by common process, as those would be when compared with pictures taken when in the infancy of the Daguerreotype art. Ormsbee. Rooms 8½ Daniel street. dec. 18.
The eleventh advertisement (third that he was mentioned in ) ran from November 13 to 15, 1850 in the Portland Daily Advertiser (Portland, Maine). Daguerreotype Notice. The subscriber having disposed of his Stock and Stand to George M. Howe would respectfully recommend him to his friends and the public generally. M. Ormsbee.
Notice Extra! George M. Howe having purchased the Stock and taken the Stand of M. Ormsbee would inform the public that Daguerreotypes can be had at his place as well as at any other establishment in the city or country. Having secured the services of Ormsbee’s best operators he cannot fail to satisfy his customers.
Miniatures taken in any kind of weather, from one dollar to ten and rendered satisfactory, or no charge, at No. 112 Middle street.
Marcus Ormsbee is known and appears in several photographic directories, histories and journals. The first advertisement we learn that in 1843 he was working for John Plumbe, Jr. in Boston. A closer look is needed with his activity during and after 1848. According to Craig’s Daguerreian Registry the partnership (Ormsbee & Silsbee) ended in 1848. That is verified in the announcement that appeared on January 18, 1848 in the Maine Democrat (Saco, Maine), and the following advertisement that ran from April 11 to June 13, 1848 in the Maine Democrat. In the advertisement that ran from December 26, 1849 to July 18, 1850 in the New-Hampshire Gazette we learn that he is operating in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. That makes the advertisement that ran from June 1, 1858 to February 20, 1851 in the Christian Mirror (Portland, Maine). Question that assessment. Daguerreotypes can be obtained at the rooms of Ormsbee & Silsbee, 112 Middle St. from the size fitting the Smallest Ring, Bracelet or Pin, to that of the plate measuring 55½ square inches.
Also—apparatus and stock of every kind appertaining to the business, furnished at prices Low as Can be purchased elsewhere.
N. B. Instructions given in their Peculiar mode of operating.
Except for the eleventh advertisement above, where he sold the gallery and supplies to George M. Howe on November 13, 1850.
 A Directory Of Massachusetts Photographers 1839-1900.