Portuguese Immigrants in the United States

David N. Carvalho

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David N. Carvalho, who lived in New York City, solved crime cases through his expertise in ink and handwriting. Carvalho contends that his Forty Centuries of Ink, or a Chronological Narrative Concerning Ink and Its Background is the first extensive work on the history of ink (iii-iv). He explains his motivation for writing the volume, noting the problem of preservation of modern printed and written materials:

The unfortunate conditions surrounding the almost universal use of the oddly named commercial and with few exceptions record inks, and the so-called modern paper, is the motive for the writing of this book. The numerous color products of coal tar, now so largely employed in the preparation of ink, and the worse material utilized in the manufacture of the hard-finished writing papers, menace the future preservation of public and other records. Those who occupy official position and who can help to ameliorate this increasing evil, should begin to do so without delay. Abroad England, Germany and France and at home Massachusetts and Connecticut have sought to modify these conditions by legislation and our National Treasury Department only last year, in establishing a standard for its ink, gives official recognition of these truths....

The criminal abuse of ink is not infrequent by evil-disposed persons who try by secret processes to reproduce ink phenomena on ancient and modern documents. While it is possible to make a new ink look old, the methods that must be employed, will of themselves reveal to the examiner the attempted fraud, if he but knows how to investigate.

How to accomplish this as well as to give a chronological history on the subject of inks generally, both as to their genesis, the effect of time and the elements, the determination of the constituents and the constitution of inks, their value as to lasting qualities, their removal and restoration, is the object of this work. There is also included many court cases where the matter of ink was in controversy; information respecting ancient MSS. and the implements and other accessories of ink which have from time to time been employed in the act of writing. (iii-v)

In 1911 Dodd & Livingston in New York City offered Carvalho's collection of 169 early printed books for sale at the price of $10,000. The Library of Congress has a copy of the sale catalog.

In Crime in Ink, Claire Carvalho described her father, making note of his Portuguese ancestry and the time he spent in Brazil:

My father's constant association with the problems of proof worked curious changes in his character. As a young man he went to South America. His ancestry was Portuguese and in Brazil he found a sympathetic background for every one of his artistic tendencies. Then he wore a tender little moustache and on the curve of his chin, just under his lower lip, a tiny tuft of black beard. His disposition was romantic anyway, and when he returned from South America his friends saw him in a black cloak like those that are worn in Spain and Portugal and in countries influenced by them.... A Don Juan, my father's friends said of him when he returned to the United States; but if he was, he had a complete recovery except for a certain careless elegance. He worshipped my mother, who died when I was a small girl, but after her death he would not have a woman around his house other than his daughters. (14-15)


Suggested Reading:

Bartlett, Henrietta C., comp., A Catalogue of the David N. Carvalho Collection of Incunabula Consisting of a Sequence of Dated Books, 1470-1499, together with a Number of Sixteenth Century Books (New York: Dodd & Livingston, 1911).

Carvalho, Claire, and Boyden Sparkes, Crime in Ink (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1929).

Carvalho, David N., Forty Centuries of Ink, or a Chronological Narrative Concerning Ink and Its Background (New York: Banks Law Publishing Co., 1904).


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