Tag Archives: Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Professor J. Edwin Churchill

1856                434 Pennsylvania Avenue, Between 4½ and 6th Streets, Washington, D. C. 1857                Address and Location Unknown

Professor J. Edwin Churchill was recorded in two announcements, the first on September 6, 1856 in the Evening Star (Washington, D. C.).  ….Prof. J. E. Churchill, the distinguished American artist, is in this city.  Some of his exquisite specimens of photographs in oil, among which is a fine likeness of Mrs. Julia Dean Hayne, may be seen at Whitehurst’s gallery.

The second on August 26, 1857 in the same paper.  Prof. J. E. Churchill has just finished a fine photographic portrait in oil, of President Buchanan.

According to The New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artist in America 1564-1860 J. Edwin Churchill is recorded as a portrait painted in Philadelphia in 1860.


1846-1847       Pennsylvania Avenue, next door to the U. S. Hotel, District of Columbia.

There are two listings for Chase with no first name attached to the advertisements or announcements in Washington, D. C.  The first instances cover 1846 to 1847, in which three announcements and two advertisements appear (which will be referred as Chase.1.)  The second occurrences was in 1851, in which two advertisements and three announcements appear (referred to as Chase.2.)  It is possible that this same person, but at this time it would be only speculation to suggest that.

Chase.1 was recorded in an advertisement in The Daily Union (Washington, D. C.) on December 19 and ran until February 8, 1846.  Van Loan & Chase, From New York And Philadelphia.  Daguerreotype Rooms.  Admittance free.  Next door to the United States Hotel.  Pictures taken in any kind of weather, clear, cloudy, or rainy, from 9 o’clock, a. m., till 5 o’clock, p. m.

The first announcement appeared on December 31, 1846 in The Daily Union.  We would call the attention of citizens and strangers to the daguerreotype establishment of Messrs. Van Loan & Chase, next door to the United States Hotel.

The second advertisement appeared on April 30 and ran until June 1, 1847 in The National Whig.  (Washington, D. C.)            Van Loan & Chase, From New York And Philadelphia.  Daguerreotype Rooms.  Admittance Fee—next door to the U. S. Hotel.  Pictures taken in any kind of weather, clear, cloudy, or rainy, from 9 o’clock, a. m. till 5 o’clock p. m..

The second announcement appears on June 9, 1847 in The National Whig (Washington, D. C.)  Washington As It Is.  June, 1847, Pennsylvania Avenue.  No. II.

Crossing Third street, westwardly…Next Door westward of the United States Hotel is a spacious and lofty building belonging to John Donoho, at present partly occupied by Van Loan & Chase’s admirable Daguerrean rooms.

The third announcement appeared on September 28, 1847 in The Daily Union (Washington, D.C.)  We are indebted to Messrs. Brooke, Shillington, & Co., of this city, for a “View of the Battle of Buena Vista,” published by H. R. Robinson….We are also presented with a fine lithographic portrait of Col. Charles May, from a daguerreotype of Van Loan & Co., of this city.  This is also published by Mr. Robinson of New York….

Chase does not appear in other photographic directories as being active in Washington, D. C. nor does Van Loan.  In the first advertisement that announces the partnership of Van Loan & Chase it states that they are from New York and Philadelphia.  Looking at the various photographic directories and histories this would suggest that Van Loan is from New York and Chase from Philadelphia this would mean that the partnership is Matthew D. Van Loan & Theodore L Chase.


1851                Rooms at the Odeon, Washington, D. C.

Chase.2 appeared in the Washington, D. C. newspapers in an advertisement that ran from April 8 to 14, 1851 in the American Telegraph.  Daguerreotypes Equal to any in the city are taken at the Odeon at the lowest prices.  Entire Satisfaction given, or no charge.

The first of three announcements appeared on April 15, 1851 in the American Telegraph.  Can’t Be Beat!  The great number of Daguerreotypes taken at Chase’s Gallery at the Odeon, to be sent to England and other parts of Europe, is an evidence of the excellency of the work done at this Gallery.

The second announcement appeared on April 22, 1851 in the American Telegraph.  Everybody Says—and what everybody says must be true—that the Daguerreotypes now produced at the Odeon are unsurpassed by any in the city and then the prices are lower than any other Gallery.

The third announcement appeared on April 27, 1851 also in the American Telegraph.  At The Odeon May be seen an admirable and lifelike Likeness of the President, where, also, you can be accommodated with a beautiful Daguerreotype, at a very low price.

The second advertisement appeared on May 30 and ran until June 6, 1851 again in the American Telegraph.  Can’t Be Beat.—The Daguerreotypes taken at the Odeon, in execution and truthfulness, are inferior to none in the city; while the price is much lower than at most other Galleries.

There is the possibility that Chase.1 and Chase.2 are the same person based on the activity being in Washington, D. C.  The problem is that there is no collaborating information two tie the two together and John Craig does not list him in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry nor is he listed in Laurie Baty’s unpublished Directory of D. C. Photographers.


Dr. A. Caspari

1843-1844       Address Unknown, Richmond, Virginia.

Dr. A. Caspari was recorded twice in advertisements that appeared the in The New York Herald (New York, New York) on June 1, and ran until September 5, 1843 and on October 17, 1843 to January 26, 1844.  It is unknown if Dr. Caspari is a daguerreotypist, a supplier or just an agent for the Langenheim Brothers.  Philip Haas, Edward White, and Peter Laurens[1] are daguerreotypist, Dr. Caspari and William West are not recorded in other photographic directories that I have access to.

Philadelphia Daguerreotype Establishment.  Exchange Building, Rooms 26 & 27.  The Subscribers, having procured the agency for the sale of Voigtander’s Daguerreotype Apparatus, constructed according to Professor Petzval’s calculation, have on hand a large assortment of these Apparatus, and artists as well as amateurs of their art, wishing to procure a good apparatus, will find it to their advantage to procure instruments of this construction.  They also have lately imported a large quantity of German and French plates, and all the chemicals used in their art, which they warrant in every respect, as they are made to their order.  Polishing substances, and morocco cases, and all necessary materials, are sold on the most reasonable terms.  The following gentlemen have agreed to act as their agents, viz:—                                                                                                                                      E. White, 175 Broadway, N. Y.                                                                                                                              P. Haas, Esq., Washington, D. C.                                                                                                                      Dr. A. Caspari, Richmond, Va.                                                                                                                              P. Laurens, Esq., Savannah, Ga.                                                                                                                  William West, Esq., Cincinnati, Ohio. Added to advertisement on June 22, 1843.

All communications (post paid) and orders, accompanied with remittance, will be promptly attended to, and should be directed to W. & F. Langenheim, Exchange Building, Phila.

The second advertisement ran on  October 17, 1843.  Peter Laurens has been replaced by Samuel Broadbent for the Southern States.  Philadelphia Daguerreotype Establishment.  Exchange Building, Rooms 26 & 27.  The Subscribers, has received a large supply of Voigtander’s celebrated Daguerreotype Apparatus, large and small sizes, with achromatic lenses made according to Professor Petzval’s calculation.

Also a new supply of the best plates and chemicals, which he warrants good and sells at reduced prices.  The following gentlemen have agreed to act as their agents, viz:—                E. White, 175 Broadway, N. Y. P. Haas, Esq., Washington, D. C. Dr. A. Caspari, Richmond, Va.  S. Broadbent, Esq., for the Southern States.  William West, Esq., Cincinnati, Ohio.

All communications (post paid) and orders, accompanied with remittance, will be promptly attended to, and should be directed to William Langenheim, Exchange Building, Phila.

[1] Active in Savannah, Georgia from 1843 until at least 1863.  Early Georgia Photographers, 1841 – 1861: a Biographical Checklist, Compiled by E. Lee Eltzroth.


David F. Bowers

David F. Bowers appeared in an article entitled the Photographic Galleries of America.  Number Two, Philadelphia, in the Photographic and Fine Arts Journal (New York, New York) on April 1, 1856.  The author visited 57 Galleries in Philadelphia.  Bower. — An artist of the 4th class, though some of the specimens range above this. This only goes, however, to show that good pictures might be taken, if sufficient attention were given to the manipulations. There was also great lack of cleanliness. Fly.—I noticed some pretty good daguerreotypes, and some pretty poor ones, some pretty clean ones, and some pretty dirty ones, evidently evincing a varied taste.

Craig’s Daguerreian Registry and Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers 1839-1900 by Linda A. Ries and Jay W. Ruby were used to assist in identification of the first name and address. Craig list him as D. F (P.) Bowers and he is also noted as Bowen.  Ries & Ruby list him as David F. Bowers they also reference him as being identified as D. F Bowen in 1856-1857.

Below are the activity dates and addresses for David F. Bowers from Ries & Ruby’s Pennsylvania Directory.                                                                                                                                            1855                  246 North Second Street                                                                                                            1856-1857       217 North Second Street                                                                                                  1858-1861       317 North Second Street                                                                                                    1863                   263 North Second Street                                                                                                    1865                   323 North Second Street


Black was recorded in the Photographic and fine Arts Journal (New York, New York.)  on April 1, 1856 in an article entitled the Photographic Galleries of America.  Number Two, Philadelphia. The author visited 57 Galleries in Philadelphia and recorded his impressions.

Black, Eighth & Carpenter. — Evidently a child in the art, whom I mention in order to keep my list correct.

This is possibly James R. Black.  In Craig’s Daguerrean Registry John attributes the entry to James R. but the address in the directories do not match up.  The same is true with Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers, 1839-1900. It is possibly that another photographer with the last name of Black was in Philadelphia that has not been recorded but there is no proof of that.  Did the author record the wrong address?  It’s Possible, no Philadelphia newspapers have been researched at this time.


Louis Beckers

Louis Beckers is recorded in an advertisement in the Delaware Gazette (Delhi, New York) on April 7, 1847, in the partnership of Langenheim & Beckers, No. 201 Broadway, New York. They are the sole agency for the sale of Voiglander’s Daguerreotype Instruments and L. Beckers’ Chemicals.

Louis Becker is list in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry as being in Philadelphia but not in New York or in the partnership with the Langenheim Brothers.

Julian Vannerson

I have recently rechecked The Photographic and Fine Art Journal, December 1857 issue for the source of Vannerson working for McClees in Washington D. C.   For background, I have added the first advertisement for James E. McClees in Washington, D. C. from the Evening Star (Washington, D. C.) October 23, 1857.

New Gallery of Art.  No. 308 Pennsylvania Avenue, (over Davis’s Piano Store.) The subscriber, induced by his success in Philadelphia, and the numerous orders he receives from this section of the country, has opened a first-class gallery in this city for the production of Ambrotypes, Daguerreotypes and Photographs, affording the citizens of Washington and the public an opportunity of procuring as fine a work as is made in New York or Paris.

Portraits in Oil, from Life or Daguerreotypes; and Photographs finished in India Ink, Crayon, and Natural Colors, by a distinguished Parisian artist, engaged expressly for this establishment.

Persons residing at a distance wishing to have Daguerreotypes enlarged and painted can send them (with description of person) and have them accurately copied, and returned by express.   All likenesses are guaranteed, and an examination of specimens is solicited.  J. E. McClees, Photographer, 308 Pennsylvania avenue, 626 Chestnut street, Philadelphia.

Entry from the Photographic and Fine Art Journal.  Washington Galleries.  Washington November 5, 1857.

Mr. James McCleese of Philadelphia, has opened his new gallery below the Kirkwood House.  His operator is Samuel A. Cohner, Esq., a practical chemist of some notoriety; he is very successful in all of his operations.  I was shown many of his beautiful plain photographs, that in tone and sharpness were exquisite.  But ‘tis just like Mr. McC., he never has any body about who does not fully understand his business.  His gallery is one of the finest in Washington, and the many water colored pictures that are adorning his walls, speak highly for the business.  His artists is a man of the first order and paints with unusual rapidity.  Mr. Vannerson is the agent is the agent of Mr. McClesse’s gallery, and for the length of time he has resided in Washington, no man is more capable of doing the agreeable in securing the public patronage.  This gallery will do a large share of the business the coming winter.  I fully predict a brilliant career for them, and well they deserve it.  By the time your next number appears, I hope to be able to speak more of this gallery.                             J. R. J.


Marcus A. & Samuel Root

For the past couple of months I’ve been working on The New York Daily Tribune (April 22, 1842 through December 31, 1859.)  The Tribune is a daily newspaper published six day a week, on April 10th 1850 the paper starts publishing eight pages with six columns, previously it was four pages with six columns.  It’s huge and very time consuming to go through.  But rich with advertisements and articles, some new name and activity dates have been found that have not been previously recorded. Normally I would wait until the newspaper has been completely gone through and checked before writing anything up.  But I wanted to write something to keep up the blog, but there are so many names to choose from Anson; Anthony; Brady; Butler; Clark; Gavit; Gurney; Holmes; Humphrey; Insley; Knapp; Langenheim; Lawrence; Meade Brothers; Morand; Page; Plumbe; Rees; Root; Van Loan; White, or Whitehurst. And these are only some of the names with larger files, there are many more names with smaller files, and I have just finished going through 1853 with six years to go.

The largest file is that of the Root’s, Marcus A. and Samuel. They advertise almost every day, and in many cases more than once, an advertisement rarely run on consecutive days, and only occasionally are they repeated, but for the most part every day is a different one.  There are a number of observations that I thought needed mentioning.  In the Directory of Pennsylvania Photographers1839-1900 by Linda A. Ries and Jay W. Ruby, and in Philadelphia Photographers 1840-1900 By William and Marie Brey there is no listing for Samuel Root. In the Brey directory Samuel is listed in his brothers bio under selected Biographies, but nothing is said about his work in Philadelphia. In Craig’s Daguerreian Registry he states that little is known of Samuel’s early career.  To date I have not read any of the newspapers from Philadelphia so I have nothing to add, except that in an advertisement from the New York Daily Tribune dated July 12, 1848.

Henry Clay In His 71St Year.—Published this day, (June 6, 1848.) by E. Anthony, 205 Broadway, a beautiful steel mezzotint engraving of Henry Clay, drawn and engraved from several Daguerreotypes by H. H. Ritchie (this is probably Alexander Hay Ritchie.)

This likeness was mainly taken from a fine Daguerreotype now in the possession of the subscriber, executed by Messrs. Paige & Beach, Washington. The artists is also indebted to Daguerreotypes taken by Messrs. Root, Simons, and W. & F. Langenheim of Philadelphia, and M. B. Brady, M. M. Lawrence and the Plumbe Gallery of New York, to all of whom the subscriber takes this occasion to express his thanks for the liberality with which they placed their valuable pictures at his disposal….

One can only speculate that “Messrs. Root” means Marcus A. & Samuel. That would mean that Samuel was active in Philadelphia in 1848, and possibly earlier.

The following two advertisements place Marcus in New York City in September 1850. The first announces the opening of his gallery at 363 Broadway.

New York Daily Tribune.  September 26, 1850…M. A. Root’s Daguerreotype Saloons, South west corner of Broadway and Franklin-st.—M. A. Root celebrated for years as a Daguerreotypist in Philadelphia has opened a magnificently furnished suits of rooms in the most fashionable part of the city, (363 Broadway, corner Franklin-st.) where having an admirable sky-light, he flatters himself that he will be able to furnish Daguerreotype Likenesses, equal in finish, accurate and effect, to anything of the kind in the world.  He has [six] medals from the various institutes and fairs of our country for his superior productions.  He invites the public to visit his rooms and examine his Gallery of Likenesses of [the] most distinguished people.

On the same page another advertisement appears and possibly proves the authorship of the Jenny Lind Daguerreotype that has been speculated was taken by Samuel.

Jenny Lind.—Have you seen this famous lady? If not, have you seen the great likeness of her taken yesterday by Root, the renowned Daguerreotypist from Philadelphia, who just opened the most magnificent Daguerreotype Saloons in the country.  Go and see it.  The place is gorgeously fitted up, and Jenny’s likeness is wonderful.

Not until October 23, 1850 in the New York Daily Tribune do we find Samuel’s name mentioned in an advertisement. Between October 23, 1850 to December 8, 1851 most of the time the partnership is identified as M. A. & S. Root, on December 9, 1851 for the only time the firm is identified in the New York Daily Tribune as Root and Co.

It is difficult to determine when the partnership ends in New York. We learn from the Journals of the day that Marcus sold his interest of the New York Gallery by the end of 1851.  John Craig reports that Marcus and Samuel were still listed in the New York City Directories until 1853 this might explain the occasional reference to M.A. & S. Root, and the fact that no first names are use in the advertisements, the firm is referred to as Root’s.  Not until 1854 does Samuel’s name appear in the advertisements as Samuel Root or S. Root.

On October 23, 1850 in the New York Daily Tribune the following advertisement appears.

The Question Settled.—A day or two will settle it. We affirm that M. A. & S. Root make Daguerreotype pictures that cannot be equaled in this country.  Will they get the gold medal at the Fair?  That remains to be seen.  It is a test that will settle the whole difficulty.  Their elegant Saloons are at the southwest corner of Broadway and Franklin-st.

There is no question that Marcus and Samuel Root are both in the top echelon of image makers in the 1850’s. If for no other reason their advertisements tell us so.  Shortly after John A. Whipple of Boston announces the patent of the Crayon Daguerreotype in the Tribune, the Roots purchase the rights for everywhere except New England.  They (Marcus & Samuel) advertise that they are making the Crayon Daguerreotype, they hold the patent and it’s the only place to get it.  Two examples in the New York Daily Tribune when the firm was Marcus and Samuel Root.

On February 19, 1851…New Style Of Art.—Letters Patent have been granted for a new and beautiful style of Miniatures, called “Crayon Daguerreotypes.” The effect is truly wonderful, and recommends itself to all good judges.  Artists and others are invited to call at 363 Broadway, corner of Franklin-st, Root’s Gallery, and examine specimens.Advertisement ran on February 19 & 20, 1851.

And then on February 26, 1851…Crayon Daguerreotypes—Process patented.—this new and exquisite style of art is pronounced by artists and all good judges, “the last great improvement in Daguerreotyping.” Ladies and gentlemen are invited to call and judge for themselves.  This new style can be had only at Root’s Gallery, 363 Broadway, cor. of Franklin-st.                                                                                                                         Advertisement ran on February 26 & 27, 1851.

This type of advertisement continues into 1854. On April 27, 1852….Crayon Pictures.—The Exquisitely delicate Crayon Daguerreotype is taken in full perfection in cloudy weather, by Root, No. 363 Broadway.  By-the-way, we would caution Daguerreian Artists and others against taking these pictures in any other establishment, since Root owns the patent for this region, and will be sure to prosecute all infringements.

June 25, 1852….The best artists pronounce the beautiful Crayon Pictures the most perfect thing ever achieved by the Daguerreotype. It is taken only by Root, No. 363 Broadway, to whom eleven first premiums have been awarded.

May 20, 1853….The magnificent Crayon Daguerreotype, Made only at Root’s Gallery, No. 363 Broadway, is still the delight and admiration of all true lovers of art. Examine it, by all means.  Root’s Rooms, easy of access.

Not once is there a mention of Whipple the inventor of the process, nor do they acknowledge that they purchased the rights from him. Published in the July 1851 issue of the Photographic and Fine Arts Journal….the following appears.  Mr. Root, of New York, has now brought the Crayon Daguerreotype process to such perfection that we cannot express too highly an appreciation of the beautiful specimens he sends from his gallery.  We have always expressed our admiration for this style of picture, and Mr. J. A. Whipple, of Boston, has not, we think, received that credit for the invention which he most richly deserves.  We never saw a more beautiful picture than the one he exhibited to us two years ago, taken in this style, and we never have yet seen it surpassed…

Root through his advertising style has alienated many of the photographic community in New York claiming that they are the best, and when multiple awards were given at the World’s Fair in New York he claims almost every day that he won the highest award at the fair. In fact he was only one of five daguerreotypist who won the Bronze Medal, in addition Charles C. Harrison also won the Bronze Medal for a Camera.  Whipple won the highest award a Silver Medal for his Crystalotypes.  Below is the complete list of awards given as published in the Tribune on January 20, 1854.  The following day the list of Honorable Mention were listed.

The [1853] Exhibition At The Crystal Palace. Official Awards of Juries.

Jury F.  Class 10.  Philosophical Instruments And Their Products….

Silver Medal.

Whipple, John A.  Boston, Mass, U. S., for Crystalotypes a new art.

Bronze Medal.

Butler, Alexander.  [  ?  ]  U. S., for several excellent Daguerreotypes.                            Brady, Mathew B. New-York City, U. S., for uniformly excellent Daguerreotypes.            Harrison, C. C.  New-York City, U. S., for Camera.                                                                  Hesler, Alexander, [Galena, Ill.], U. S., for several beautiful Daguerreotypes,            Lawrence, Martin M. [New-York City], U. S., for excellent Daguerreotypes, particularly     “past, present, future.”                                                                                                                 Root, Samuel.  New-York City, U. S., for fine Daguerreotypes.

Honorable Mention.

Gurney, Jeremiah.  New-York City, U. S., for fine Daguerreotypes.                              Harrison & Hill.  Brooklyn, U. S., for Daguerreotypes.                                                           Long, E.  St. Louis, Mo., U. S., for an exquisite Daguerreotype of a lady.                            Meade Bros.  New-York City, U. S., for Daguerreotypes of “Seven Ages of Man.”            Moissinet, Dobyne & Richardson, New-Orleans, U. S., for Daguerreotypes.                      North, W[illiam]. C. Cleveland, U. S., for Daguerreotypes.                                                  Peters Otis F. sic [Otis T.], New-York City, U. S., for Stereoscopes.                                       Root, M. A., Philadelphia, U. S., for fine Daguerreotypes.                                            Whitehurst, J. H., Baltimore, U. S., for fine Daguerreotypes.

The day the Tribune published the list of award winners January 20th Root placed the following advertisement.  Crystal palace Medal.—The Bronze Medal of the World’s Fair at the New-York Crystal Palace, being the highest honor for Daguerreotypes, was yesterday awarded to Root, of No. 363 Broadway.  Palmam qyi meruit ferat.  This type of advertising continues almost every day.  In fact one advertisement by Root was copied entirely, with Mathew Brady’s name attached.  The next day Root complains.  This is not the first time that Root’s style has caused a rift between the photographic community.  Words have passed between Gurney and also with Lawrence.  I am sure that if Plumbe or Whitehurst were still active in New York they also would have had a disagreement with Root’s claims.

To be continued…..

Montgomery Pike Simons

 The following is a brief history of the activities of Montgomery Pike Simons (ca. 1817-1877) during his sojourn in Richmond, Virginia as reported in articles and advertisements published in The Richmond Daily Dispatch.   During his stay from 1852 to1856 he was a prolific advertiser, the duration of most advertisements ran for a week or two, but sometimes only a day or two and only occasionally for a month or longer.  Throughout his stay in Richmond, Simons’ studio address stayed the same 151 Main Street, in Eagle Square.

In reviewing his advertisements family groups, and children were a specialty, and a re-occurring theme. Also whenever a convention was in town, be it a Medical Convention, Temperance Convention or Clubs. Simons would be among the first to invite the attendees to pay a visit to his Gallery and examine his specimens.  Like other daguerreotypist of the day the commonality in advertising are very formulaic and the majority sound alike.  As an example the following is an invitation to the Virginia State Legislators that appeared in the Dispatch on February 6, 1852.

Virginia Legislature.—Members of the Virginia Legislature now in session, are     particularly invited to call at M. P. Simons’ Gallery, and examine his exquisite likenesses of the President and his Cabinet, also Senators and Members of the House, together with a large sample of other distinguished and well known persons of this and other countries, too numerous to mention. All are desired to call, whether in want of pictures or not; and those wanting pictures would do well to judge for themselves of their superiority.  All pictures warranted to give full satisfaction.

Some of the prominent and distinguished individual daguerreotype portraits identified by name that Simons advertises in the Dispatch that were on exhibit in his gallery include Jenny Lind (1820-1887), opera singer; Lola Montes (1821-1861), actress and dancer; George Payne Rainsford James (1799-1860), English novelist, historical writer, and British Counsel; Henry Clay (1777-1852), lawyer, politician and Senator from Kentucky; Hon. K. Rayner, possibly Kenneth Rayner (1808-1884), congressman & legislator from North Carolina; General Lopez (full name unknown)[i]. Dr. Gibson; Rev. Mr. Read and William F. Titchis are possibly local individuals.  A view of St. John’s [Episcopal] Church in Richmond which was built in 1741 and is today the oldest standing church in Richmond. Tantalizingly a Tarantula spider that was found under his back gallery.  In addition there were for sale engraved likenesses Rev. Mr. T. V. Moore, pastor of the first Presbyterian Church in Richmond, by A. S. Walker of Philadelphia, after a daguerreotype by Simons.  In an advertisement dated March 30, 1855, Simons is appealing for a sufficient number of subscribers to off-set the expenses for engraved likenesses of the pastors of the different churches in the city.  Moore’s engraving may have been part of this project.

On at least three occasions Simons is extremely aggressive, antagonistic and sarcastic with fellow daguerreotypist. The first is with Frank E. Moulson who is charging $1 for his daguerreotypes.  The fight in the newspapers starts with the following notice which ran on August 13, 1852 in the Daily Dispatch:

A Chapter on the Daguerrean Art, and its Professors.—The Dollar Notoriety.—It has been suggested that these disciples of Daguerre attach the names of sitters to their productions, that they may be the more easily recognized by their friends. But as this is a matter we are not interested in, we leave it for those that are—their patrons. But would, ourselves, suggest the propriety and fairness of the operator’s name being attached, for two reasons—first, that the public may know where caricatures may be had; and, second, that they may avoid them when they wish a Daguerreotype.

Another thought occurs to us: it is well known that the State finds it necessary for the better protection of its citizens, to have officers, whose duty it is to inspect grain, flour, etc., and brand their qualities. Now, for the same reasons, would it not be well to have an inspector of Daguerreotypes?—We think it would, and hope that the Legislature, next fall, will take this matter up, and give it that calm and serious consideration which it deserves.  But as they probably will not understand this subject as well as they do that of unequal and arbitrary taxation, we will assist them, by furnishing for the purpose, a plan of a stamp or stencil plate, viz:—Taken for_________by­­­­­­­­­­­__________, an experimenter in the art, cost one dollar or fifty cents, as the case may be, which would be determined by the quality of the article; and then, on the event of our plan’s being accepted, we fancy we see Daguerreotypes finding their way into the price current of the day, reported thus:

Daguerreotypes, common brand, various prices, ranging from 37½ cts. to a dollar—little or no demand. Genuine article, medium size, ready sale, and firm at three dollars.  Remarks—public taste improving.

We are aware that our endeavors to hold these cadets in the art up to public gaze, that they may be seen in their true light, may, by some, be misconstrued into envy on our part, and by exciting public sympathies, increase the evil which we are trying to abate. But, however deplorable such a result would be, the task had to be performed.—For we should hold the man guilty indeed, who would sit in silence, and see the community in which he resides deluded by impostors.  But our object must not be mistaken.  Our intention is not to abuse, but rather to convince these mercenary operators that they have either mistaken their profession, or have most shamefully neglected to give it that attention and careful study which it requires,  and by improving the public taste, force this conviction upon them.

Moulson’s reply on the following day August 14, 1852;

Let the galled jade wince.”—When a slave is under the lash, his master trying to subdue a spirit of insubordination, the pain sinking deep into his soul, in a spirit of defiance he will often cry, “Oh, you don’t hurt.” Apply the lash, and he piteously cries for mercy.  So is it with some of our Daguerreotypist, for when we, to accommodate a large and respectable class of our citizens, brought down the prices of our pictures, the cry was heard, “it will ruin them,” “nobody will take such things,” &c., they have seen to their great mortification the gallery at 110 Main street crowded from early morn till twilight with the elite of the city; and viewing their own beggarly account of empty benches, cry out for protection by legislative enactment.  Could they produce superior pictures there would be no use for this.  We are delighted with the high encomiums of praise passed upon our productions of the art, and while we continue to receive the applause of the “fair, better part of creation” we shall be content to think, as we are sure thousands of others think, that some of our craft are small per-Simons.  Moulson’s, 110 Main st.

Simons continues his attack on July 29, 1853;

To The Daguerrean Fraternity

When will it be that we like others

Shall form ourselves a band of brothers?

The healing art to keep out quacks

With unity thus wisely acts;

And why not we our interest watch,

Hold up the artist and put down the botch?

Tis easy if we once begin

And show the mass they’re taken in;

Have we no ______ this evil to allay,

To drive them one by one with sticks away;

Or must they ever thus pursue us?

We swarm with skulks as base as Lewis

Trades are forsaken and the arts disgraced

By gawks whose fame is on the dollar based;

They who barns should paint and lumber haul,

Shriek “taken for one dollar” on the wall.

Then some to humbug little more

Stick “patent process” top their door.

All this is done the ignorant to beguile,

When in their sleeve the would be artists smile.

Yes, those who’d acorn the Doctor’s skill

That ignorantly prescribes a pill,

Do quite as bad, nay, even worse,

Encourage him who robs their purse;

Distorts their features, then, with a grace,

Asks you if that is not your face.

The feud continues until May 27, 1854, Moulson’s last advertisement appears in the Daily Dispatch which ran until June 6th.  On June 21, 1854, a constable sale is advertised the following items will be sold on June 23d, 1 mahogany sofa,; 1 pair of card tables; 1 mahogany show case; 1 rocking chair; 5 cane seat chairs; a lot of medallions and daguerrean cases.  Another sale was scheduled for July 11 to sell off all the fixtures at the Daguerrean Gallery.

The second dispute occurs with Jesse H. Whitehurst. Simons advertises On December 2, 1854 that he won the highest award, at the Virginia Mechanics Institute Fair.  Both Whitehurst and Simons did in fact win Silver Medals, but Whitehurst name appears first in the report.  The bantering goes back and forth Whitehurst citing the committees report and Simons going off on a tangent about Whitehurst claim to have won the highest award at the World’s Fair in London a bronze medal and Simons continues to refer to Whitehurst as the “Bronze Medal Man.”

Simons does bring up an interesting point in one of his advertisements, Whitehurst won many awards in New York, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Washington, D. C. wherever he had a studios. Did Whitehurst actually take the image for which the award was given, or did his studio representatives take the image and then he took the credit because he owned the studio and his operators were his employees.

The third argument occurred again in the newspaper but went much further this time. On October 13, 1855, Simons advertises that he is taking Ambrotypes.  On October 15th Peter E. Gibbs responds

To Mr. M. P. Simons—Sir: Unless you discontinue the use of the word Ambrotype to your card. [which is my property as applied to Glass Pictures.] I shall proceed at once to require you to show cause why you infringe on my rights. ….

Simons continues to advertise Ambrotypes and on November 30th the notice appears in the paper.

Infringing a Patent.—In the U. S. Circuit Court, for the eastern district of Virginia. Judge Halyburton presiding, an application has been made by Mr. P. E. Gibbs for an injunction to restrain Mr. M. P. Simons from infringing a patent for making ambrotype pictures, of which Gibbs is assignee.—In consequence of the delay in receiving papers from the Patent Office in Washington, the case was adjourned until Thursday next, when it will be taken up and argued at length, by A. Judson Crane, Esq., for the complainant, and Messrs. August and Randolph for the respondent.

Court delays and Simons continuing to advertise the term Ambrotypes in numerous advertisements, the bantering and baiting from both Gibbs and Simons finely comes to blows as reported in the Dispatch on January 31, 1856.

Spoiling Pictures.—We understand that Messrs. Simons and Gibbs, picture makers, came in collision on Eagle Square yesterday morning, and made an effort to disfigure each others profiles, but were prevented from doing so by the interposition of bystanders, who separated them. These gentlemen have been pitching into each other, through the newspapers, for several weeks.  Which of the two has had the best of that fight, the public can decide.

Possibly a contributing factor for the continued resentment of each other may have been their egos, they both went so far that neither one could back down. In addition to advertising in the local newspapers Simons wrote articles to the Photographic and Fine Arts Journals, “claiming that he had the right to make Ambrotypes and that he was not infringing on Cuttings patent because he used varnish not balsam to seal the two pieces of glass together.[ii]”  In reading through the advertisements one could surmise that he believed as an artist he had the right to make Ambrotypes and that Cuttings patent had no more right to the exclusive use of two glasses than he had to the word Ambrotype.  A side note Whitehurst on January 26, 1856 reports in an advertisement that he had purchased an equal interest with P. E. Gibbs in his Ambrotype patent for the city of Richmond.  Most of the other Galleries in Richmond also advertise that they too are taking Ambrotypes.

On April 25, 1856 Simons last advertisement appears in The Daily Dispatch it ran until May 22, 1856.  On June 26 an advertisement appeared

For Rent.—The family part of the house at present occupied by M. P. Simons, No. 151 Main street. Possession given 27th August next.  On August 15, 1856 an advertisement appears auctioning off oil Paintings and furniture by virtue of a deed of trust to sell at M. P. Simons Daguerrean Rooms, 151 Main Street on August 23 at 10 o’clock a lot of furniture, consisting in part of tables, chairs, carpets, stoves, frames, &c. Also a lot of oil paintings, amongst which are some very valuable.

In conclusion many questions need to be answered. Was Simons’ business failing or was there a reason that he needed to return to Philadelphia?  By all indications his business in Richmond was thriving, reports in the papers indicated that he was very good and had many patrons.  What may have happen was a loss of business due to his disagreement with Gibbs.  An advertisement that appeared on February 2, 1856, stated that Gibb is a born and bred Virginian, which Simons was not.  Another explanation could be a decline in revenue due to competition from the makers of inexpensive images, such as Johnson (no first name) he advertises that he has twelve years’ experience, and has two wagons on the corner of 7th & Broad Streets. Johnson’s advertisements appear in the Dispatch starting on March 28, 1856 and the last advertisement appears on January 28, 1857, he is charging 50 cents for daguerreotypes; Other daguerreotypist working in Richmond in 1856 were E. M. Powers who is charging $1; Daniel Bendann advertises that his pictures are cheaper than anywhere else, but does not specify a specific price; Powers & Duke are making 50 cent daguerreotypes; William A. Pratt was not doing a lot of advertising and on May 17, 1856 announces that he now has the assistance of Sanxay & Chalmers and proceeds to go to Europe.  In an advertisement dated November 28, 1856 Sanxay & Chalmers announce that they had purchased the business from Pratt on May 5.  A. W. Osborne and Peter E. Gibbs do not list prices in their advertisements.  Where Pratt, Simons, and Whitehurst; do not list prices in their advertisements they are thought to be the elite photographers in Richmond.  By October of 1856 Albert Litch is running the Whitehurst Gallery in Richmond and by April of 1857 Whitehurst is no longer operating there, later in year Litch has also left.

In-fighting and disagreements between photographers is not uncommon Southworth and Whipple in Boston, Mass.; Allen and Van Alstin in Worcester, Mass.; Allen & Partridge in Wheeling, Va. and Tyler & Company where ever they had a presence, to name only a few.

[i] At this time it is not possible to confirm his identity. There are two General Lopez that are found when doing an internet search, but without the image or more information it is only speculation that either man is the correct General.  They are Antonio Lopes de Santa Anna, (1794-1876) Mexican President and General; and General Narciso Lopez (1797-1851) who was most notably known for his invasion of Cuba in 1850, he was defeated and retreated to Key West, he returned again in 1851 with the same results, he and his men were once again defeated, this time they were captured and most were executed.

[ii] The Ambrotype : a misunderstood history of a nineteenth century photographic process. By Sarah Janille Templeton.