NEWBURYPORT — Henry Coit Perkins, a 19th century local photographer, will be the subject of the next Village Talk on Sept. 18 at 1 p.m. at the Senior Community Center, 331 High St.

Susan C.S. Edwards, executive director of the Museum of Old Newbury, presents "Henry Coit Perkins, Pioneer Photographer."

Perkins (1804-73) was a Newburyport native who returned to his hometown to practice medicine as a country doctor after graduating from Harvard Medical School.

In fall 1839, he began experimenting with the new daguerreotype process — the first practicable method of obtaining permanent images with a camera, giving rise to the birth of photography as a tool of record as well as an art form, according to a press release. 

His successes in photography were noted: an article on Perkins’s daguerreotypes, or "solar painting," appeared in the Nov. 8, 1839, edition of Newburyport’s The Watch Tower.

And an account of his lecture on his daguerreotypes at the Newburyport Lyceum on Feb. 14, 1840, was recorded by The Newburyport Herald.

Edwards' presentation will explore the processes that Perkins used to produce six views of Newburyport that have become recognized as among the earliest daguerreotypes in the U.S.

Recent research, revealing a full portrait of Perkins and his role in early American photographic history, will also be discussed.

Edwards has been involved in the museum and historic preservation field in Massachusetts and Maine for more than 40 years in both curatorial and administrative positions.

Passionate about house museums, she has written interpretive plans that have revitalized these treasures and made them more relevant to the communities in which they are located, the press release said.

Village Talks are free and offered by the Greater Newburyport Village every third Wednesday at the Senior Community Center.

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