So Many Photographers, So Little Time!

Summertime Tuesday tips and More

Stereograph half, Robert and Fellows, publishers, Phlladelphia PA, Lake in Grant Park, ca. 1885, Atlanta, Ga.; collection of E. Lee Eltzroth

More and more early Georgia photographers have made themselves known to me recently. I have made so many additions and changes to my “Early Georgia Photographers, 1841-1861: a Biographical Checklist” this month! Whenever I feel there is not much more to find, bingo! Maybe it is happening because I am at home so much more now than in the past, or maybe it’s because the Digital Library of Georgia continues to add newspapers to their Georgia Historic Newspapers (yes!) which I use almost daily. No matter the cause, my list of photographers working in Georgia up to 1861, continues to change and grow.

New to this list are photographers George Stacy and D. W. Branch. All I know of the latter is he worked in Augusta, Georgia, from September to December 1857. Also new are the partnerships of Bearden & Sandefer [sic; Sandifer], working in their Daguerreian Gallery in Rome, and Brown & Turner (J. H. Brown & and an unknown Turner), working in Columbus in their Palace Rooms of Art. I now know there was as partner to Brown before it became known as “J. H. Brown’s.” Willard and DePew I knew as a partnership, but primarily as landlords and later as jewelers. Now I know DePew worked as a daguerreotypist prior to that partnership, and he was their real connection to J. S. Woodbridge.

George Stacy is recognized as a participant in the Civil War as a field photographer. At the Library of Congress (and in other repositories) there are several photographs by him, including a carte de visite showing his tent outfit where he made ambotypes of Union Soldiers, as seen below. He had a storefront at 691 Broadway in New York City from at least 1860, where he was working as a photographer at census time, and where he was when he registerd for the draft in 1863, and his war-time images carry that mark.

Before that time, he worked in Columbus, Georgia, from late January until at least late April 1859, when he likely went back to New York City. He worked in NYC until sometime before 1870, when he moved to Ramapo, New York. There he farmed for his remaining years, possibly practicing, or teaching, photography in the colder months.

George Stacy (Copyright by “G. Stacy,” 1863, New York), carte de visite, “Field studio for Stacy’s Photographic Ambrotype Rooms” (assigned title), with soldiers gathered there;  reproduction #LC-DIG-ppmsca-35580, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

In January 1859, George Stacy set up a studio in Columbus, Georgia, over Brooks and Chapman’s drug store and he made “Photographs, Plain,…. Painted in Oil, ….for Grecian Painting” and “Ambrotypes, Colored or Plain [and] Miniatures in Lockets, Rings, or Pins.” He also copied pictures of the deceased. He asked that citizens “call at his Studio, or at the Perry House after business hours.”

By the end of March, Stacy was selling stereoscopic views and stereoscopes, as well as copying pictures and painting them in oil. In late April, in the Columbus Daily Times, April 27, 1859 pg. 2 col. 5 (in April 26 – 28), he was selling:

30 Dozen Stereoscope Views,

Just Received at Stacy’s Studio, over Brook’s Drug Store, comprising Colored or Plain Comic and Fancy Scenes, Views in Italy, France, Portugal, Spain, Venice, Switzerland, Holland, Ireland and England. Stereoscopes from $4 to $60 each. Please call and examine.

Geo. Stacy

New Georgia Image Sources

The Atlanta Housing Archives Virtual Exhibit: University Homes: Building Communities, Building Hope, is full of interesting, important information and images. This was the first federally funded public housing for African-Americans in the entire United States. It includes biographical information and oral histories. The material is for educational purposes only, so you must contact the Atlanta Housing Archives for other information on use.

At the end of June, The Ancestor Hunt updated the Georgia Online Historical Research Photos site. The new links are in bold print. Some links are to newer sites on the Digital Library of Georgia, the Library of Congress, Vanishing Georgia, and to Pinterest. Among the quite new links are photo collections found in the Columbus Museum, Bulloch County, Chattooga County, Hall County, Rabun County, Georgia Southern University, and the Savannah Municipal Archives. There is much good material to be found here, and this blog is still listed. Thank you Ken Marks!

Did you know that there are postcard images on Ancestry? The collection of All U.S. Historical Postcards, 1893-1960 has a Georgia group. As far as I can determine, you can use these images freely. Of course, I think you likely must have an Ancestry.com subscription…..

Image Collections Across the South – Virginia

Multiple Exposures is the “Catablog of the Visual Studies Collection at the Library of Virginia,” (I love that word Catablog!) highlighting the Photograph Collection Archives. There is quite a lot to be found here. More than one collection of photographs of Virginia courthouses, various family scrapbooks and collections of family photographs (including the Rosa Brown Wray photographs of her African American family, 1940s-1970s), stereographs, photographs of the work of architects Carneal & Johnston, nature photography, mines and mining images, and photos from the U.S. Army Signal Corps.

Image Collections Across the South – Mississippi

An interview with Civil Rights photographer Doris Derby was recently published. Derby was from the Bronx, New York, and grew up as a dancer, and then a painter. She travelled to Mississippi in the early 1960s to work for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNNC) preparing people to register to vote. After the 1965 Voting Rights Act passed she became a Head Resource teacher for the Head Start program. Soon she became associated with Southern Media, Inc. and she began documenting the Civil Rights Movement. It is for these photographs she is most known. After leaving Mississippi, Derby became the director of African American student services and programs at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Here is another selection of Derby’s photographs taken in Mississippi.

Image Collections Across the South – Texas

New to me is the William J. Hill Texas Aritsans and Artists Archive, located at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Narrowing my search to Photographs, results in some wonderful things — cameras, news items, portraits of photographers and some of their equipment (including buggies, tents, and wagons), as well as business documents and advertisements produced by photo studios.

Zesto ice cream sign, West Columbia, South Carolina; John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division; Repro. #
LC-DIG-mrg-07502

Miscellaneous Photo-related information – Library of Congress

Free to Use and Reuse Sets, from the Library of Congress includes such wonderfully fun topics as Ice Cream, Cars, Cats, and Baseball Cards, and other useful topics like 19th Century Portraits, Maps of Cities, Irish Americans, African-Americans, and Genealogy. Take a look!

The Library of Congress produces a Magazine, every other month, most including photographs of images and items in their collection. All those produced from 2012 to now are available to peruse, and to download.

The Congressional Quarterly Photograph Collection was described recently in Picture This, the blog issued by the Prints and Photographs Division. There are about 90,000 black-and-white and color images in this collection, dating 1988 to 2005. The photographers who produced all these images worked for the Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report. These photojournalists covered all kinds of activities of Congress from the hearings, to the committee room, to work with constituents. You can view the contact sheets made from all the negatives these photographers produced.

Miscellaneous photo-realted information – National Archives

Searching Still Photographs for Army Personalities can be a very useful tool. This article explains how “you can find personality indexes to aid in the search for specific individuals in the military.” I do not think you would find it very easy to do it without this explanation.

The Still Picture Branch completed the digitization of the series 26-LG: Lighthouses, 1855 -1933. These are Coast Guard records filled with images taken between 1855 and 1933, so here you find many photographic processes represented.

These photos are arranged by district number with each district corresponding to a geographic area. All of District 1 is Maine, District 3 is New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island (one CT was in there…), and 4 is Delaware and New Jersey, and these northeastern images predominate the collection. District 6 includes the lighthouses of Georgia and South Carolina. I must admit it was difficult for me to narrow down those items. Bring up the entire series and you see some Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida images immediately, then none at all.

Tybee Island Light Station, Georgia, Tower and Keeper’s Dwelling, photographed by Major Jared A. Smith, June 11, 1885; Naional Archives, Department of Commerce, Bureau of Lighthouses; 26-LG-30-22 

I finally entered Georgia lighthouses in the Search box, then narrowed it to “images,” and this worked fairly well, resulting in the lighthouse photos sought, but also to images of correspondence, plans, and even census pages, which could be useful. You can try this search with any coastal state you are interested in, and you will be able to see photographs of your state’s lighthouses, and more.

At one point in this process of looking for District 6 images only, I brought up all NARA Georgia images, which is pretty interesting in itself. I found photos by goverment photographers T. K. Hillers (1938) and T.W. Kines (1940s-1950s) with whom I was not famililar. These two produced interesting photos of Savannah and Atlanta area roads, as well of some of other Georgia locations.

Miscellaneous photo-realted information – Fold3

Fold3, the genealogy site that focuses on military records (but has newspapers, too!) blogged this summer about their World War I photograph collections. In particular they are a source for the National World War I Museum’s Portrait Photograph Collection and their World War I Panoramic Unit Photos. This is a wonderful and significant museum to see in person. It is in Kansas City, Missouri, and I was lucky enough to visit it in 2019.

2nd Lt. Paul W. Cloud, Photographic Unit, 89th Division, Kyllburg, Germany, January 16, 1919; Fold3 National WWI Museum Portrait Photographs, Courtesy of the National WWI Museum

The Portrait Photograph Collection holds over 500 photos of soldiers, sailors, and nurses who served between 1914-1918. The Panoramic Unit Photo Collection covers a wide range of subject matter, including companies of soldiers, ships, cemeteries, views of military camps, etc. Some individuals are identified, but not all.

I hope you’ve found something here to add to your To Do list this summer. Add to that to get lots of fresh air, and we are all on our way to a much better fall and winter. Our research repositories are starting to open, so let’s get out there to find out more about all those photographers!

© E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, 2020. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including photographs, without written permission from this blog’s author is prohibited. With permission, excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to E. Lee Eltzroth and Hunting & Gathering, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

8 comments

  1. Frances Robb · · Reply

    This is enough for many years of research. Perhaps a lifetime. You are a 4-star general of compilers. Frances Robb

    1. Thank you, Frances, you are always so kind! Let’s connect again, I miss “talking” to you!

  2. Great post and research 👍🏼 Love that image of Stacy’s field studio!

    1. Thanks for reading! I was so happy to discover Stacy and his connection to GA.

  3. Sondra Gomez · · Reply

    I am a descendant of Norman and William J Bryan. They both did photography off and on thru the years. I have some of William’s photos. By the way, Norman’s death date should be Jul 3, 1881 as reported in the Carroll County Times.

    1. Hello, Yes, thank you, you are right! I got the day wrong but for some reason July came out March!! If you can give me more data on William as a photographer, who I documented as a jeweler, I would appreciate it! Let me get in touch with you and you can reply to me via that email.

  4. The stereograph of the lake at Grant Park is so idylic.

    1. It is! Or was, I think that lake is gone now!

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