Daguerreotype proposed to be of Lorenzo Snow at the Age of Thirty, Fifth President of LDS Church, Captured Through the Lens of Francis Henry Grice ca1844.

The left image is Lorenzo Snow at the age of thirty-eight. Lorenzo Snow – Wikipedia The right image is proposed to be Lorenzo Snow in the summer of 1844. [Unidentified young man, head-and-shoulders portrait, facing front] – digital file from original | Library of Congress (loc.gov)

2 thoughts on “Daguerreotype proposed to be of Lorenzo Snow at the Age of Thirty, Fifth President of LDS Church, Captured Through the Lens of Francis Henry Grice ca1844.

  1. Daguerrotypes were incunabular photographs, but by 1844 somebody might have figured out a way to write an identification on the image or case, so there would not have to be these mysteries, these educated guessing games. But then I have recently seen large batches of family photographs which have not been identified either.

    Dags are unique, so if Grice had one, presumably an additional one or more was made for each sitter. It seems to me that, as important as these prominent people were to the community at Nauvoo, then some of the families of these notable persons would have acquired those dags, and either passed them down in the families, or donated them to the LDS Church. I would be gobsmacked is not at least one of them could be located in the LDS archives – and with identifications. However, the photos you have shown from the papers of Joseph Smith and other LDS sources support the notion that these duplicate dags are not to be found there.

    Note: I did not know until just now that daguerrotypes could be reproduced, although that requires the photographer to photograph the original image to get reproductions.

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    1. Hi Tom,
      In 1844 copying a Dag was probably not feasible on the frontier. The issues would have been lighting, lenses, exposure time, and cost. Even with the substitution of bromine for iodine, the exposure time was ~ 1-3 minutes in bright daylight. Focusing on a 2″x3″ original would have required a close-up lens. Taking two images at a single “sitting” was the most practical way to make “duplicates.” “F. Grice” was debossed, usually in the left lower corner of the brass surround, in all the “Grice” Dags at the LOC. Of course, he may have captured others but without the “signature” there would have been no way to identify a “Grice.” Circumstantial evidence points to Grice as being Foster’s Daguerreotypist. Francis Grice probably learned the Dag process from his cousin Robert Douglas, Jr., who returned to Hayti from 1837 to 1839. Robert Douglass, Jr., studied under famed portraitist Thomas Sully at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and he learned the Dag method from Daguerre himself in Paris.
      Of course, there is a large component of speculation in all this. Further research into how Barboza and Maillet acquired their “Grices” might unravel some mysteries.
      Best,
      Rod

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