Just added two more cartes-de-visite to the collection, both Mathew Bradys. My first Brady celebrity card – General Joseph Hooker, and my first Brady from his Washington studio. The DC studio mark seems far more rare than the New York studio, so far. Maybe I’m just not looking in the right places for them, but out of the seven I have, only one is the DC studio, and of the ones I’ve looked at, maybe 50 or so, I think I’ve only seen the DC imprint two or three times.
Here is the Philadelphia map of Victorian era photography studios.
|STUDIO NAME||ADDRESS||DATES OF OPERATION|
|J. Creamer & Co||18 South 8th Street||unknown|
|J.W. Hurn||1319 Chestnut Street||unknown|
|Gilbert’s Cartes-de-Visite, Photograph and Ambrotype Gallery||1524 Ridge Avenue above Brown Street||unknown|
|C. Tolan, Photographer||924 North 2nd Street (above Poplar)||unknown|
|Lovejoy, Photographer||500 South 2nd||unknown|
|F.S. Keeler||8th & Market Streets, SE corner||unknown|
|H.C. Vansyckel||532 North 2nd Street||unknown|
|Bellis, Photographer||508 Arch Street||unknown|
|Lathrop’s Studio of Fine Photography||43 North 8th Street||unknown|
|Sawyer & Bro.||522 North 2nd||unknown|
|J.R. Laughlan’s Photograph Rooms||12th and Market, SW corner||unknown|
|G.D. Wise||2nd Street & Christian, NW corner||unknown|
|F. Gutekunst||704 & 706 Arch Street||unknown (early)|
|F. Gutekunst||712 Arch Street||unknown (late)|
|J.A. Keenan||526 South 2nd Street||unknown|
|Rhoads’ New Photograph Gallery||1800 Frankford Avenue (corner Montgomery Avenue)||unknown|
|E.W. Warren’s Gallery||1628 Market Street||unknown|
|Chas. H. Spieler||722 Chestnut||unknown|
|Broadbent & Co.||912 & 914 Chestnut||unknown (early)|
|Broadbent & Co.||814 Chestnut||ca. 1861|
|Wenderoth, Taylor & Brown||912 & 914 Chestnut||unknown (late)|
|W.W. Seeler||8th Street & Spring Garden Street, SE corner||unknown|
|Gilbert & Bacon||40 North 8th Street & 820 Arch Street||unknown|
|M.P. Simons||120 Chestnut Street||1846-?|
|L.A. Sawyer||159 North 8th Street||unknown|
|Rhoads & Shane||1316 Girard Avenue||unknown|
|P.E. Lehillman||914 Arch Street||unknown|
|T. Colbeck||8th Street & Sansom (SE corner)||unknown|
|Applegate||8th & Vine Streets||unknown|
|Van Loan Gallery, L.H. Purnell, Artist, Daguerrian Parlor||159 Chestnut Street||1840s|
|Willard, Daguerrian Parlor||Market Street & N. 16th Street, A-B||1840s|
|Chas. G. Crane||unknown||unknown|
I’ve begun a project to catalog and map the locations of Victorian-era photography studios in Washington DC, New York and Philadelphia. Using my own collection as a starting point, and skimming back-marks off cartes-de-visite and cased images on Ebay, I’ve come up with some lists, and I’ve begun to put them on a Google Map. Here is my New York list:
|STUDIO NAME||ADDRESS||DATES OF OPERATION|
|R.A. Lewis||152 Chatham Street *||unknown|
|K.W. Beniczky||#2 New Chambers Street, corner of Chatham *||unknown|
|R.A. Lord||164 Chatham Street *||unknown|
|Bogardus||872 Broadway||late 1870s|
|Mathew Brady||359 Broadway||(1853-1859)|
|Mathew Brady||643 Bleeker Street||(1859-1860)|
|Mathew Brady||785 Broadway||(1860-)|
|Chas. K. Bill||603 Broadway||unknown|
|J. Gurney & Sons||707 Broadway||unknown – early|
|J. Gurney & Sons||5th Avenue & 16th Street||unknown – late|
|Vaughan’s Gallery||228 Bowery||unknown|
|Bailey’s Photograph Gallery||371 Canal Street||unknown|
|Loud’s Celebrated Album Cards||unknown||unknown|
|Fernando Dessaur||145 8th Avenue||unknown|
* addresses no longer exist. New Chambers Street & Chatham Street are now approximately where New York City Civic Center and Police Headquarters are now located.
I will be doing the same for Washington DC and Philadelphia as I gather more information. These lists are obviously incomplete – if anyone has more information out there on other studios not captured on this list, please pass it along! My interest is in studios operating before 1900, ideally before 1880. If you have information about a given studio during the Daguerrian, wet plate, and the early Dry Plate eras, please include that as well. In my simplistic research, I’ve been finding that along with the change in media, studios moved around a lot – Mathew Brady had four different locations in New York City alone between 1850-1860.
As I’ve been collecting images, especially photos more than a century old, I get curious about what I find. Who was this person? Where were they from? What did they do? Where was this photo taken? Oftentimes, those anonymous images are destined to remain that way, completely unidentifiable. However, sometimes you can do some digging and find out some really amazing things about your images. Three examples:
I found this CDV by Matthew Brady on Ebay. The location was unspecified. Given that it was taken by his New York studio, I guessed it was also in New York state somewhere. New York has a number of wineries, so I figured it might very well be the Taylor Winery. Google is your friend on such quests – I did a Google Image search for Taylor Winery, and was coming up a bit short, but by happenstance I found a photo of the Pleasant Valley winery building which looked an awful lot like the main building in the photo. Further research on Pleasant Valley showed that the winery was the first bonded winery in the United States, and that it opened its doors in 1860. Perfect timing for a CDV by Brady, who might have actually taken this photo (and not one of his assistants, which was common) given that the Civil War had not yet started, and he would have had time to travel to Hammondsport from New York City to take the photographs himself.
Another Ebay acquisition. This one took a bit more digging, but through a link I found on Google, I was able to find a fair bit of information on Dr. Buck. Trying to figure out what his name actually was was the bigger challenge, as his handwriting is somewhat loose. I’m still trying to find out more about him- where he served, what battles he worked at, etc. The amazing thing is that so many Civil War records are available online.
This was another fun one. Completely anonymous tintype. I was trying to put a date to the image, with little luck. The car is a generic “car type” and not representing any actual vehicle. Then I took a look at the backdrop. Gosh, that looked familiar. Again, Google Images is your friend in a quest like this. The scene? Cliff House in San Francisco, with Seal Rock in the surf. Cliff House in the form shown in the photo burned down in 1907 (yes, it survived the 1906 earthquake only to perish a year later in a fire). Given that most cars prior to 1905 or so didn’t have that form factor of a semi-closed four door body, that would put it between 1905-1907, and of course locate the photo as having been taken at or near Cliff House.