Monday, April 21, 2008

Photo Of The Week - 21 April


Last year in an interview with Dear Myrtle called, "Get Organized Store Information Directly In Your Photographs;" I discussed a new photographic project that I was undertaking. That project is a photographic database of Washington State Photographers.

The University of Washington has compiled a Pacific Northwest Photographers Database (PNPD). This database is a listing of photographers who operated in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska during the period from about the 1870s to 1935. It provides information regarding the photographers name and the city, state and year that the photographer had an established business. In some cases, it includes the studio address. Most of the information in the database was extracted from city directories and vertical files held by the University of Washington Special Collections.

This is the PNPD database listing for the Photo Of The Week - 21 April:

PHOTOGRAPHER
Steelhead, Albert

CITY/STATE
Chewelah, Wa.

DATE
1905-06
1909-10
1915-16
1913-14

STUDIO ADDRESS

SOURCE

NOTES
I want to expand on the PNPD to include biographical information and a copy of the photographer's imprint used for each year of operation.
Here is the type of database I am working on:

PHOTOGRAPHER OR STUDIO
Steelhead, Albert

CITY/STATE
Woodbury County, IA.

DATE
1900-????

CITY/STATE
Chewelah, Wa.

DATE
1905-06
1909-10
1915-16
1913-14

STUDIO ADDRESS
Unknown

BIOGRAPICAL INFORMATION
Born in Sweden, December 1858. Immigrated to the United States in 1882. Married 1880, Adora Steelhead. Adora (unknown) Steelhead (b. Apr. 1867, Missouri); widow 1920 census Pasadna, CA; occupation lacemaker. Two children: Son - Francis A. (b. June 1892, Illinois). Son - Ralph V. (b. Jul 1895, Iowa) occupation, clergyman Pasadena, CA 1920.

Living Smithland, Iowa, 1900, with his wife Adora and two sons, Francis A. and Ralph V. He is a photographer who owns his own business.

Living Chewelah, Washington 1910, without his wife and children. PNPD lists him as a photographer who owns his own business 1905 - 1914.

Adora Steelhead living Los Angeles, California 1920, as a widow.

PHOTOGRAPHER'S IMPRINT



SOURCE
1900 U.S. census, Woodbury County, Iowa, population schedule, Smithland, p. 122, dwelling 71, family 71, Albert Steelhead (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 1 December 2007); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 466.

1910 U.S. census, Stevens County, Washington, population schedule, Chewelah PCT, p. 227, dwelling 18 , family 17, Albert Steelhead (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 1 December 2007); citing NARA microfilm publication T1672, roll 227.

1920 U.S. census, Los Angeles County, California, population schedule, Los Angeles, p. 125, dwelling 501 , family 521, Adora Steelhead (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 1 December 2007); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 106.

1920 U.S. census, Los Angeles County, California, population schedule, Altadena, Pasadena, p. 29, dwelling 119 , family 124, Ralph V. Steelhead (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 1 December 2007); citing NARA microfilm publication T625, roll 117.

Mautz, Carl. Biographies of Western Photographers. Nevada City, California: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1997.

"Pacific Northwest Photographers Database." Database. University of Washington Special Collections. http://db.lib.washington.edu/pnwphotographers/ : 2007.

Imprint. A. Steelhead, Artist. Photograph (Cabinet Card). ca. 1905-1914. Digital Image. Privately held by the fo0tnoteMaven [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,] Preston, Washington.2007

NOTES

Albert Steelhead died sometime between the 1910 and 1920 census.
How does this database help a family historian or collector to date a photograph?

In trying to date a photograph one of the most helpful pieces of the puzzle is the studio or the photographer and the dates of operation in the particular geographic area you are researching.

Once you have ascertained the time period the photographer was operating a studio, you have limited the time period in which your photograph could have been produced. By collecting images of the photographer's imprint and matching it to the year it was used, you can match the photographer's imprint on your photograph to the matching imprint and narrow your research to a specific year or smaller span of years.

Where can information on photographers be found?

There are many books containing biographies of photographers and listings. Here are a few pertinent to my research:

Kelbaugh, Ross. J. Directory of Civil War Photographers, vol. 3, Western States and Territories, 2d ed. Baltimore : Historic Graphics, 1992.

Mautz, Carl. Biographies of Western Photographers. Nevada City, California: Carl Mautz Publishing, 1997.

Palmquist, Peter E. and Thomas R. Kailbourn. Pioneer Photographers Of The Far West, A Biographical Dictionary, 1840 - 1865. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2000.

Palmquist, Peter E. and Thomas R. Kailbourn. Pioneer Photographers From The Mississippi To The Continental Divide, A Biographical Dictionary, 1839 - 1865. Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2005.

The standard resources for compiling information on photographers can be found in city directories, state gazetteers, the photographer's imprint, newspaper advertisements, newspaper articles, county and state histories, biographies, census records, online databases (University and State Historical Societies) and Internal Revenue tax lists.

This week in Many Things Thursday I will discuss the types of photographers imprints.

Note: An excellent series on City Directories was written by Jasia of Creative Gene and can be found here.

3 Comments:

Blogger Jasia said...

Hey thanks for the mention fM! I just know this information you've discussed here will be helpful to many. No doubt about it, knowing when a particular photographer/studio was in business is a vital piece of information in dating a photo. As always, you did a bang of job of present the info!

April 21, 2008 at 1:30 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Jasia:

Love your City Directory Series and am sure everyone will find it extremely helpful.

fM

April 21, 2008 at 2:13 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

This is really informative and helpful for anyne who has old photographs (which woud be all of us genealogy bloggers and a lot of other people, too, of course). Makes me want to organize mine this way, too. I will put that on the to-do list.

Thanks for the link to Jasia's work on City Directories - look forward to reading it, I really love city directories as a source.

April 22, 2008 at 3:03 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home