Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Abraham Bogardus - Twice Told Tuesday

Twice Told Tuesday features a photography related article reprinted from
my collection of old photography books, magazines, and newspapers.

Abraham Bogardus - 1905

Not necessary for a superior artist to make extravagant claims.
Thunder is all noise; lightning does the work.
~ Abraham Bogardus ~

I have a deep affection for Abraham Bogardus. After all, he came up with the name of this digital publication. I have read a great deal about him and have found him to be extremely witty and an intellectual. He also appears to have been cantankerous and involved in something that looks a lot like price fixing, but that is for another article. Today Shades shares some biographical information. Enjoy!

A Biographical Note
The Photo Miniature

Photography has so completely entered into our every-day life and work that we are apt to overlook the fact that there are still living among us a few men who saw its first beginnings in 1839, and who have followed its rapid evolution as practical workers. Among these pioneers, Abraham Bogardus, of whom we present a recent portrait in this issue, is a notable figure. A few particulars of his career will, we are sure, interest many of our readers.

Born on a farm in Dutchess County, New York, 29 November 1822, Mr. Bogardus came to New York City in 1837 and "took lessons" in the new art of Daguerreotypy from G. W. Prosch in 1846. After two weeks' instruction he opened a Daguerrean Gallery at the corner of Greenwich and Barclay streets. During his first week in business he made only one portrait, the second week two, and in the third week none.

At that time sitting for one's portrait was quite an undertaking, the exposure time required being forty to sixty seconds. Very soon after, however, the time of exposure was shortened and the Daguerreotype became popular and Mr. Bogardus gave eighty or more sittings per week. Within a few years the paper photograph displaced the Daguerreotype, and the Bogardus Gallery was moved to Broadway and Franklin streets to meet the new conditions. During the first popularity of the Carte-de-Visite Mr. Bogardus kept three skylights busy and delivered from 68 to 100 dozens of Cartes per day.

Among his contemporaries at this time were Gurney, Brady, Lawrence, Insley, Hass, Harrison and Hill, the brothers Meade, Lewis, Bogert and other famous Daguerreotypists, now deceased.

In 1869 Mr. Bogardus was elected the first president of the National Photographic Association, and served, by continuous re-election, for six or seven years. During his long career in business he took an active part in the public life of the profession, and by his work and activities was widely helpful in shaping the present prosperity of the American photographer. He retired from active business life in 1887 and has since lived in quiet retirement in Brooklyn, an interested reader of current photographic literature and a frequent contributor to the St. Louis and Canadian Photographer and other journals.

With many of the older workers, Mr. Bogardus still believes the silver-plate Daguerreotype portrait the best thing yet achieved in photography, and it is a hobby with him to restore old and tarnished Daguerreotypes to their pristine freshness and beauty. Readers who possess any such Daguerreotypes and desire to have them restored (a difficult and uncertain task in unskilled hands) may safely entrust them to Mr. Bogardus, who may be addressed at 129 Herkimer Street, Brooklyn, N. Y.

Our portrait of Mr. Bogardus was made expressly for THE PHOTO - MINIATURE by Mr. W. M. Hollinger, of New York, and we are pleased to be able, by his courtesy, to publish so clever a likeness of the veteran photographer.

Note: Bogardus died in 1908.


Article & Photograph:

Unknown. "Biographical Note." The Photo-Miniature. 1905. pp. 664-666.


Blogger Thomas MacEntee said...

I have many Bogarduses in my tree beginning with Anna Bogardus (1725 - 1787) who was my 7th great-grandmother. I tried to find some ancestral information for Abraham but over on Ancestry I find conflicting information. Given that he was born in Dutchess County, I would think he would fit in my tree somehow but right now I can't see how.


October 14, 2008 at 1:19 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

I would be thrilled if one of my Genea-Blogger friends was related to my favorite photographer.

I am putting together a great deal of information on him. He was amazing!


October 14, 2008 at 1:22 PM  
Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Syracuse was once called Bogardus Corners for Hendrick Bogardus, but I don't see a connection right off. I'm only related by his marriage to Mary Badgley so I haven't done much work on the line. I found the information about Abraham interesting. Maybe Thomas will find the connection to his branch.

October 14, 2008 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger Chery Kinnick said...


Thanks for posting info from all these wonderful old articles. You must have quite a collection of them!

October 15, 2008 at 1:23 PM  

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