In 1830, Arago succeeded his predecessor Fourier as Sécretaire perpétuel of the Academy of Sciences and in 1835 made the sessions public and established the Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances. During these weekly sessions at the Academy, the members congregated to discuss scientific issues. Furthermore, at the end of each week, the Academy published its official bulletin, comprised of presented papers, documents and other announcements, as well as extensive analyses from the previous session.
This rare complete set of Comptes rendus from 1839, documenting the week to week sessions of the Academy, traces the unfolding of the multiple inventions of photography. It is an incomparable primary resource for the study of the discovery of photography, including a number of key announcements and counter-announcements from the French and British inventors:
7 January: First announcement by Arago of Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre's process (pp.4-7).
4 February: Arago reads William Henry Fox Talbot's letter of 29 January in which he alerts the French Academy of his imminent claim of priority over two features in Daguerre's invention (p.171).
8 April: Jean Louis Lassaigne describes the direct positive or reversal process, a technique based on Talbot's process (p.547).
19 August: Arago's formal announcement of the daguerreotype process. His speech to the Chambers of Deputies is reprinted with extensive footnotes (pp.250-67).