Friday Faces & Places: George S. Cook, Warm Springs & Macon GA

This is my second post on George S. Cook’s work in Georgia. In the first post I discussed his work in Columbus, Georgia in 1848 and 1849, and his return there for a short time in 1850. Because I covered other data in that post, as well as gave some links to his biographical information, that information will not be repeated here.

This post focuses on his work in two other cities he visited, and in which he made daguerreotypes, Warm Springs and Macon, Georgia.  I am very sorry I do not have Cook’s “face” here for you, but for a beautiful daguerreotype of George S. Cook that comes from a private collection, see the article “The Southern Mathew Brady” online at

Cook left Columbus in mid-August 1848 and visited Warm Springs, a city northeast of Columbus which had been resort town since 1832.  According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, “by 1849, it had a store, a doctor, a shoemaker, a blacksmith, and an academy.” Leaving his wife and daughter in Columbus, sometime in mid-August Cook went back to Warm Springs and stayed to work there for about five days. The summer may have been the busiest season for the area’s springs, which would be a good reason for Cook to be there at that time.

His first portrait was made there on August 23, and he took the last two on August 28.

A transcript of my notes made from the account books in the George S. Cook Papers (MSS 10108) at the Library of Congress on August 31 and September 1, 2004, includes only a few entries (1/6, etc. is the plate size used).

1848 “Pictures Taken Warm Springs”

Aug. 23          Judge Tate, Ala, Locket 1/6 $3.50

Aug. 26          Robert Bomar 2 ¼ pic   $10

Aug. 28          Master Shorter, Eufala $3.50

[and] Miss Shorter, Eufala $5.00

Three of Cook’s sitters, Judge Tate and the brother and sister named Shorter, were visiting  the west Georgia resort town from Alabama. We might assume that Robert Bomar lived closer to Warm Springs, and in Georgia, not Alabama.

By the end of August, Cook was back in Columbus, but briefly, to move his family and tie up business. He entered an account for September 5th, and apparently collected money due him for the stock sold for him by Mr. Foster, a jeweler and his landlord.

According to the dates in his accounts, by September 20th Cook was in the city of Macon, which is east of both Columbus and Warm Springs. The date of his first entry for a daguerreotype sitting was not made until October 4th.  In 1848 Cook’s studio was located over Damour’s Confectionary, on Mulberry Street.

The following is from my notes for the city of Macon found in his account book.

1848 “Pictures Taken Macon GA” (his entries in the account book give dates of Sept 20 – Dec. 30)

Oct. 4 Lady from Mountpiler [possibly means Monticello, GA]

Oct. 5. Mr. Hunt from Baldwin [probably the county, not the city]

Oct. 7  Mr. Stranger from KY [this is probably a surname, but he may not have known the man’s real name]

Oct. 11Mr. Kline, Griffin

Oct. 13 Mrs. Poe, Augusta

Oct. 14 –Miss—from Clinton

Oct. 18   Mr. Merrill, KY

Oct. 20   Miss Wilhelmina, Lanier

Nov. 2   Gent from (Dooly) [this means Dooly County GA]

Nov. 9   Miss Brom/Brown, Savannah

Nov. 11 Col. Smith, secy [secretary] of Gov. Towns, Milledgeville [Milledgeville was the Georgia state capital at the time]

[and]   Prof. Ellison & wife

Nov. 17 Rev. Mr. Thompson, Milledgeville

Dec. 23 Instructions to Mr. Bennet [possibly others; illegible]

Dec. 28 Mr. Mendleson Bacon, LaGrange

Here are my notes from his 1848 Account Book:

The dates Cook’s put in his Account Book for his Macon stay are Sept. 16 – Dec. 29, but there are no accounting entries until November, and that states the costs for his trip back to Newark, New Jersey, and details of his route.

Now using Macon as his base, on November 27th Cook made a short trip to Savannah where he obtained passage back home to Newark, and then he returned to Macon. It seems he was in New Jersey for a few weeks in December, but he was back in Georgia before Christmas. When he returned to Georgia it was via Savannah where he stayed overnight before returning to Macon. He was teaching the art of making a daguerreotype to someone in Macon, just before Christmas, on December 23rd.

Nov. 27 “Fare to Savannah [of / at] 7.25 on Cherokee $25.00 [on to] Newark [8/1] $35.00”

Dec. 16 “Hotel Savannah $7.00”

Dec. 18th   “to Macon $14”

Dec. 29th   “Order to E. Anthony for 125 ¢ sundries”

Cook continued to work in Macon for all of January and February, and into mid-March 1849, making daguerreotypes, selling stock and equipment, and teaching others. His account dates for Macon end March 19, 1849, although there are no accounting entries after mid-February, and no daguerreotypes listed as made there after March 17th.

The following is from my notes from his 1849 Account Book (his dates are written as Jan 5; Jan 11- Feb. 25; March 1-19)

Jan. 11   Wood & Cutting, Iodine for Bushnell – $3 total

Jan. 29   Sent to E. Anthony for stock $75.00

Feb. 16   Sent to E. Anthony for stock

Sept. – stock sold by Mr. Day $90.56

[This is Sidney B. Day, a Macon jeweler selling stock for Cook. Day was also from New Jersey.  September is probably when Cook collected his money from Day] 

1849 “Pictures Taken Macon GA” (his list states Jan. 1 – Apr. 5, 1849)

Jan. 19 Judge E. Nesbit

                Judy Tracy (2 pic dead child) 1/6 $15.00 = copy made on Feb. 9th  $1.50

                Amt. received Dr. Bushnell $3.00

[This would be Athens GA daguerreotypist John H. Bushnell]

Jan. 22   Judge King

Jan. 25   amt. stock sold J.  H.  Bushnell $40

Jan. 28   Mr. Napier, Cherokee

Feb. 7    Mrs. Stephens – dead, 2 coffins ¼ 1/6 $15.00

Feb. 8    Miss Grour (Grover?), Old town Montecello

Feb. 12   Mr. Woods (dead boy locket)

Feb. 15   Mr. Green, Fort Valley

Feb. 15   Two 4/4 plates to Mr. Barnard $2.75 [see my previous post re Barnard]

Feb. 17   Col. Chappell’s dead daughter (2)

March 16   1 oz. chloro Iodine, box gold leaf to Bushnell $3.00

March 17    Instructions to Mr. Chalmers $100.00; stock sold him $46.50; instrument $50

[This is probably William H. Chalmers, who became a daguerreotypist and worked in Georgia]

Note: Cook also listed that he sold some stock in March to O.S Holland, and to Carter & Hobbs

About March 18-20, 1849, Cook went to Milledgeville, Georgia’s capital,  for about a week, and then returned to Macon – possibly to collect his family. We can assume they traveled together to Milledgeville, where he set up his next studio.

In Macon, on March 27, 1849, an advertisement appeared in the Georgia Telegraph stating that partners Burnett & Hart (jeweler B. L. Burnett and artist J. M. Hart), bought out Cook’s interest in his Macon gallery on Mulberry St.

Click on image to enlarge it

Burnett & Hart re Cook'sMacon

Their advertisement, which appeared only until April 3rd, stated that the men also bought Cook’s recipe for “flesh colored daguerreotypes.” That business was very short-lived, and Burnett went back to being a jeweler only.

The Cook family was certainly in Milledgeville , Georgia, before March 24th, the date Cook listed for the first “picture”  he made there.  In my next Friday Faces post, I will cover Cook’s six weeks in Milledgeville, and follow that with his visit to LaGrange,  and his return to Columbus. 



  1. How did you gain access to Cook’s account books? Is there an archive where they are kept?

    1. Thanks for reading. Note in the text of my Cook posts that “A transcript of my notes made from the account books in the George S. Cook Papers (MSS 10108) at the Library of Congress on August 31 and September 1, 2004” – I more recently returned and reexamined them in light of new information I had on Cook, and I produced an article about him as an itinerant Daguerreotypist in Georgia, 1848-1850 (published 2015 in the 2014 Daguerreian Annual). These account books are open to the public and have been for many years. I think I was the first to examine them only in relation to Georgia.

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