This project began as I started collecting CDVs and noticed the backstamps on the cards that served as photographers’ advertising and identification. After amassing a few cartes from certain cities, I got curious to see where the studios were located, as I noticed they often had similar addresses. Plotting them out helped me get a much better understanding of what was going on – photographers were following an age-old business practice of setting up shop next door to one another, creating little “photo districts” in each city, just as there would have been booksellers’ districts, furniture makers’ districts, dressmakers’, and so on. Here are the maps to my collection of Victorian Photo Parlor addresses in Washington DC, Philadelphia and New York City. I think you’ll find it interesting the relative geographic concentration of the studios in each of the cities – in DC, around Pennsylvania Avenue east of the White House; in Philadelphia, along Arch and up and down 8th east of Broad; and in New York, in lower Manhattan centered around Broadway. In all cases, these locations mimic the concentration of population, and in New York, you can see the migration of population uptown over time as studios that were previously located closer to Wall Street opened new locations further and further up Broadway as the city’s population grew and the wealth moved uptown toward Central Park.
Washington DC Photographers’ Map
Philadelphia Photographers’ Map
New York Photographers’ Map