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Document number: 04885
Date: 27 Oct 1843
Recipient: TALBOT William Henry Fox
Author: GUTHRIE John
Collection: British Library, London, Manuscripts - Fox Talbot Collection
Collection number historic: LA43-83
Last updated: 29th April 2012

My Dear Talbot

Excuse my importunity in pressing on you the rightness of giving your name to your own invention. It is not too late – “Better late than never”. Suffer our little friend “or” to act the friendly part of a wedge on this occasion. as your “If” is a great peace-maker, so an “or” may make an admirable go-between. Do try it – we all know what great effects from little words do spring. Your name, besides its other merits, lends itself peculiarly well to the adjunct required. There is nothing to extenuate nor aught to set down in addition – It seems quite ready and willing to run into type of its own accord. I feel quite anxious that you sd not delay any longer taking some step to do justice to yourself – I have felt it all along – as well out of personal feeling to yourself as from a national sentiment. when French activity & zeal at once – by a name – assert their own claim to their own invention, why sd hereafter the question ever arise who invented or discovered it in England?

Let Photography stand for the generic name, of while Talbotype <1> type at once expresses the peculiar development of the principle the honor of which discovery belongs exclusively to yourself – we have all been too backward in this matter –”a Talbot – a Talbot to the Rescue” and you must regard my zeal as a type of the readiness which all will shew in rendering you justice, tho’ tardy as usual, to your great discovery –

Yours very truly
John Guthrie

Calne. <2>
Octr 27 – 1843


1. Guthrie was not alone in this sentiment - WHFT's mother and many of his friends wished him to be so honored, in parallel with the Daguerreotype. But the inventor was reticent about this and stayed with his original name of calotype.

2. Calne, Wiltshire, 5 mi NE of Lacock.