Jeremiah Gurney (1812–1895), a jeweler by profession, gave up that trade in favor of daguerreotypy in 1840 and established one of New York City’s first daguerreotype studios. In the years that followed, Gurney built his reputation as one the city’s leading daguerreotypists. Despite vigorous competition from rivals such as Mathew Brady, Gurney produced daguerreotypes hailed as “nearer to absolute perfection” than those of other camera artists. In 1851, he founded the American Daguerre Association—the first national organization of photographers. Two years later, Gurney captured the first major American prize for daguerreotypes.