Monday, April 28, 2014

Manuscript Monday—Muybridge Letter

Eadweard Muybridge letter: San Francisco, to the directors of the Mercantile Library, 1868 May 14, Vault MS 126, California Historical Society
Eadweard Muybridge wrote this letter to the directors of the Mercantile Library Association on May 14, 1868, requesting the board’s opinion of a few accompanying prints of the Yosemite Valley and expressing his interest in having them framed and hung in the library's new building. The ingratiating tone of the communication—"some of the members of your board I know to possess considerable discrimination and a very refined taste in artistic matters," "should this be concurred in by the rest of the board I shall be highly flattered,” etc.—contrasts weirdly with the extravagant self-praise of the prospectus on which the letter is written—"For artistic effect, and careful manipulation, they [Muybridge’s views of Yosemite] are pronounced by all the best landscape painters and photographers in the city to be the most exquisite photographic views ever produced on this coast, and are marvelous examples of the perfection to which photography can attain in the delineation of sublime and beautiful scenery, as exemplified in our wonderful valley."

Marie Silva
Archivist & Manuscripts Librarian
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