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Unidentified photographer/creator 
Photographic Exchange Club 
1863, 23 October 
Magazine page 
Google Books 
The Photographic News, Vol.VII, No.268, October 23, 1863, p.506-507.
The Exchange Club, established nearly five years ago by the conductors of this journal, under the title of the Stereo Exchange Club, and subsequently, under modified conditions, as the Photographic Exchange Club, has, during that time, been carried on with varying success and satisfaction. The system of exchange, originally proposed and carried out, was on this wise:- Photographers wishing to possess the stereoscopic pictures of others in exchange for their own, were invited to forward specimens of their work to the Editor of this journal for his approval as fair materials for exchange. At convenient intervals, a list of the names and addresses of those whose productions were considered satisfactory was published in our columns, and members then exchanged with each other, either with or without correspondence. It was customary to send one experimental print to each gentleman whose name was published, in order to ascertain the quality of the returns which might be expected, and then the exchanges were extended further between those whose productions pleased each other. This system worked very well for a time; but complaints every now and then reached us of very inferior returns being sent for good prints.
This led eventually to a change. It was agreed that a secretary should be appointed, who, assisted by a couple of referees, should conduct the exchanges. All prints were to be forwarded to Mr, Howard, who volunteered to undertake the somewhat onerous duties of Secretary, and it was arranged that his judgment, and that of the referees, were to be the final standard of appeal in deciding the relative worth of the pictures, stereoscopic and others, sent for exchange. An equitable apportionment was to be made; and where prints absolutely worthless were sent in, they were to be returned to the sender. For a time this promised well; but has gradually, from a variety of causes, all of which we cannot even guess, becoming less satisfactory in its operation. A large number of very poor prints have been sent in, and frequently such as were absolutely worth less. Thus the Secretary's honorary duties have become irksome, and without sufficient satisfaction in the result to others to induce him longer to continue them. Mr. Howard has, therefore, resigned the office of Secretary, which, for two years, he has so well filled. We regret the issue, and we regret its cause. We can only express our own sense of the indebtedness of every member of the Club to him for the ungrudging expenditure of time, labour, and money in their behalf, for it was impossible to fill such an office without being occasionally out of pocket, as well as heavily taxed in time. We append the letter we have received announcing his intention:
Dear Sir, I have to inform you of my intention to relinquish the position of Secretary to the Photographic Exchange Club. The difficulty of successfully managing the exchanges so as to avoid the invidious position in which I feel myself, together with the lack of support, alluded to in my last letter, has induced me to take this step, which I shall feel obliged if you will announce in the News.
I would suggest that the Club be started afresh, as before. October, 1861, viz., by gentlemen forwarding their names and addresses to you, simply adding to the old rules the privilege of declining a proffered exchange, should a member be dissatisfied with the sample sent. I am, dear sir, yours truly,
F. Howard.
10, Lansdowne Road North, South Lambeth, October 16th, 1863.
We have also received several letters from members of the Club regretting the probable termination of the exchange system, and making suggestions. We select a couple for publication:
Dear Sir, I have been for some time a member of the Photographic Exchange Club, and am highly satisfied with the manner in which Mr. Howard, the Secretary, and the Committee have performed their duties; and, therefore, it is with great regret that I received a letter from Mr. Howard this morning, in which he stated "that he had determined to relinquish the office of Secretary." After having read the letter from him that you published a few weeks ago, I cannot wonder at the decision that he has come to, as it must be very discouraging to a lover of the art to see the standard deteriorating instead of improving steadily, as it ought to do. I have no doubt this arises, not from the original members becoming less expert, but from many of them ceasing to contribute, and their places being filled by others who are probably beginners in the art.
1 should be very sorry, indeed, if the Club should entirely pass out of existence, as, by its means, hundreds of beautiful pictures have been distributed, which might probably otherwise never have been seen by any photographers but those who produced them. I therefore appeal to you, and through you to photographers who take an interest in something besides portraiture, to make some effort to continue the working of the Club.
I will not suggest the appointment of now officers, as I believe the failure of the Club is not in the slightest degree owing to any omission or fault on the part of the present Secretary or Committee; but rather owing to a slackening in the zeal of the members, which may partially have been caused by the Club having been carried on through the summer months, when many, especially professional photographers, have their time too fully occupied to make exchanges. 1 would, therefore, suggest that in future it shall be discontinued during the summer months (say from April to September), in order that it may commence with fresh vigour after lying dormant for a while.
If you, or any of your influential readers, cannot organize any new scheme likely to succeed, let us go back to the old system as it was before 1861, and take our chance of receiving bad exchanges rather than have none at all. I shall be glad to co-operate in any scheme you may suggest for the continuance of the Club.
I have sent you a few of my stereos by book post, and shall be glad to hear your opinion of them. I remain, yours respectfully,
J. P. Gibson.
Hexham, October-17, 1868.
Sir, I regret to find that Mr. Howard is obliged to relinquish the office of Secretary to the Exchange Club, as it is perfectly clear that under those circumstances the Club (to use an Americanism) will go under and be wiped out. Surely, the members of the Club will make an effort to avert this ending of what must have been a source of some pleasure to all who have sent prints for exchange, and even those unfortunates, whose prints were sent back, must admit that Mr. Howard's courtesy and kindness softened the disappointment, and encouraged them to try again and do better next time.
I cannot but think that the members of the Club only require to know the fact that it depends solely upon themselves whether the Club lives or dies, to make them come forward now, as they did when it was commenced, and revive it.
I think it such a pity that it should fall to pieces when it was working so well as it has been doing. It cannot be that all the members have used up all their negatives, there must be some that have not been exchanged: if they would only set to work and take advantage of the first fine day to print off a batch, I hope Mr. Howard would be persuaded to resume his office.
I agree with what you said, a week or so back, that it enhances the pleasure of taking a fine view much, to know that you will be able to obtain others, in exchange, of places you may never be able to visit.
Apologizing for so long a letter, I remain, Sir, yours, &c,
One Of The Club.
London, Oct. 17th, 1863.
For our own part, we shall readily give effect, so far as we can, to any decision at which the members may arrive. It is possible that a recurrence to the old system, without confining its operations to stereographs, may be found most satisfactory. We leave the subject in the hands of those concerned, without further comment at present, merely inviting those who have plans to suggest to communicate them for consideration. 
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