For our September Village Talk, Susan C.S. Edwards, Executive Director at the Museum of Old Newbury, will present on Henry Coit Perkins: Pioneer Photographer.
Henry Coit Perkins (1804-1873) was a native son of Newburyport. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, he returned to his hometown to practice medicine as a country doctor. In the fall of 1839, he began experimenting with the new daguerreotype process, the first practicable method of obtaining permanent images with a camera, which gave rise to the birth of photography as a tool of record as well as an art form.
His successes in photography were noted: an article on Perkins’s daguerreotypes, or "solar painting," appeared in the November 8, 1839 edition of Newburyport’s The Watch Tower, and an account of his lecture on his daguerreotypes at the Newburyport Lyceum on February 14, 1840 was recorded by The Newburyport Herald.
Susan C.S. Edwards' presentation will explore the processes that Perkins used to produce the six views of Newburyport that have become recognized as among the earliest daguerreotypes in the United States. Recent research, revealing a full portrait of Perkins and his role in early American photographic history, will also be discussed.
Susan C.S. Edwards has been involved in the museum and historic preservation field in Massachusetts and Maine for over forty years in both curatorial and administrative positions. Passionate about house museums and their windows onto both national and local history, she has written interpretive plans that have revitalized these treasures and made them more relevant to the communities in which they are located.
Village Talks are offered by the Greater Newburyport Village for the enrichment of the community. Village Talks occur every third Wednesday of the month at the Newburyport Senior/Community Center, 331 High St., Newburyport. Talks are free and open to all.