So I continued my research. I learned that Kodak produced the very first Brownie camera in 1900---close enough for Raymond and my story, as far as dates go. (Remember, this will not be historical fiction---just quasi-Victorian-Edwardian.)) Though photographic cameras had been in existence for some time, this was the first that was designed for the layperson---the mass market.
Since Raymond is a very young teenager, it was particularly gratifying for me to read that this camera was marketed especially towards children, though it was embraced enthusiastically by all ages as soon as it came out. After exposure, the roll of film was mailed to Kodak, and the developed photos were mailed back. The expense of both the camera and the film were very much within the reach of ordinary folks---including youngsters.
My next step? I looked online at photos of the earliest Brownie camera, so I was sure of its appearance, and then---back to Ebay. I immediately found many examples up for auction. I began dithering---which one belonged to Raymond? On the third day of perusing and hesitating, I stumbled across a new offering:
This was Raymond's camera, of course! Once again, the agony of waiting, waiting, waiting---would someone else steal Raymond's camera out from under our noses? I was prepared to pay VERY LARGE AMOUNTS OF MONEY to win the auction. But fortunately there was not a great deal of competition, and just today, Raymond's camera arrived safely from England.
It has its own leather-bound canvas carrying case, with a strap for holding it---or for slipping it onto a belt, perhaps. That will be so very convenient for Raymond , because he'll want to have the camera with him as much as possible, but he'll need both hands---that is, both paws---to deal with all of the uncomfortable situations in which he finds himself, many of them requiring great athletic exertion.
The camera itself is a true miniature of the full-sized version, complete with two view-finders (one for shooting images horizontally, one for shooting images vertically---no serpentine contortions needed by the photographer); the shutter window; a crank for winding the film; and a catch for opening and closing the body of the camera. And it's about half or a third the size of a full-size camera; small enough to be hidden easily.
Now that Raymond's pocket-diary and his camera are sitting here on my desk, his presence is so much closer and more tangible for me. I do believe that, just since the arrival of the camera, his voice has increased considerably in volume and clarity. Yes---props and talismans are critical to the process of creating a story.