Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Smiling Babies Make a Connection

This week, I didn't have to wander the web, the web came to me by way of a wonderful comment from M. Wasserman. The comment added valuable information to the article "If You've Got It, Flaunt It," about the Chicago photographer Joshua Smith, winner of the Silver Medal at the Paris Exposition in 1878. It also asked a question about examples of work by this family of photographers.

What a treat to find your site and see the work of Joshua Smith. He was married to Louise Woollett, sister of my great grandfather Robert N. Woollett. I have seen a few of his photos and it was so nice to find this article! Louise's sister Kate was married to George J. Klein, also a Chicago photographer, and their brother, Alfred E. (AE)Woollett was a photographer in Chicago and Minneapolis in the late 1800's. I would like to know if there are other sites with their work. Thank You! M. Wasserman

In 1880 the 41 year old Joshua Smith is living in Chicago with his 29 year old wife Louise. Living with them is Louise's mother, Mary, and her 25 year old sister, Kate. Kate's occupation is listed as a Retoucher Artist, which may account for why she married a photographer; she worked in their world.

It also appears that Smith created a montage of black babies similar to the one to the left, in 1881, titled "Little Ethiopians." He was elected President of the Photographers' Association of America in 1883 and authored many articles on the chemistry of photography.

In 1900 I found Joshua and Louise living in Allegan, Michigan with Louise's brother Alfred E. Woollett. Joshua lists his occupation as landlord and Alfred lists his as photographer.

The following are the addresses for the Chicago studios operated by Joshua Smith and George J. Klein:

Joshua Smith

1866-68 - 604 S. Canal Street
1868-69 - 546 S. Canal Street
1869-70 - Not listed
1870-71 - Canal cor. Wilson
1871 (Fire Ed.) - 546 S. Canal
1871-73 - 546 S. Canal
1874-75 - 212 State
1875-76 - Not listed
1876-86 - 206 N. Clark
1887 - Not Listed

Klein & Stoelzel (George J. was a partner here)

1872 - 288 W. Madison
1873 - Not Listed

Klein, George J.

1873-79 - 288 W. Madison
1879 - 103 State Street
1880-87 - not listed
1888-94 206 N. Clark
1895 - 206 N. Clark
1896-1900 - 206 N. Clark

I have found two sites with work by Joshua Smith and one with work by George J. Klein. I found no work by A. E. Woolett.

The following two photographs are contained on the Library of Congress website. It would appear that Joshua Smith was interested in panoramas and fires early in his career.

Chicago, as seen after the great conflagration. Smith, Joshua. Panorama. ca. 1871.

Boston, after the fire, November 9th & 10th, 1872. Smith, Joshua. Panorama. 1872.

The Chicago History Museum has photographs in their archives taken by both Joshua Smith and George F. Klein. They have a photograph identifying the sitter as Joshua Smith. I can not be certain, as none of these images are online and even if they were I would not be able to identify Smith.

Thank you M. Wasserman for commenting and adding information to my collection of photographers.

I would have loved to secure a photograph of Joshua Smith to have included with this post, but it would have been cost prohibitive. The Chicago History Museum charges a $50 permission fee for educational non-profit use per photograph. They also charge a production fee of $10. To secure the photograph would be $60. The permission fee is $50 per year. If this post is archived, as they are, I would be charged $50 per year by the museum for this one photograph.


Anonymous. Heritage Slater Political Memorabilia and Americana Auction Catalog #619. Dallas : Ivy Press. 2005.

The Year Book of Photography and Photographic News, for 1883. New York : Scovill Manufacturing Company. 1883.

Kirby, Lynne.
Parallel Tracks. Durham : Duke University Press. 1997.


1880 U.S. census, Cook County, Illinois, population schedule, Chicago, p. 377, dwelling 187 , family 240, Joshua Smith (Head); digital images. ( : retrieved 26 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T9_199, roll 1,454.

1900 U.S. census, Casco, Michigan, population schedule, Allegan, p. 9b, dwelling 212 , family 212, Joshua Smith (Head); digital images. ( : retrieved 16 May 2009); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 1,854.

Photographs (as they appear):

Good Morning. Smith, Joshua. New York. Cabinet Card. ca. 1880. Privately held by the footnoteMaven, Preston, WA. 2009.

Chicago, as seen after the great conflagration. Smith, Joshua. Panorama. ca. 1871. From Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Panoramic Photographs Collection. Link (May 2009).

Boston, after the fire, November 9th & 10th, 1872. Smith, Joshua. Panorama. 1872. From Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Panoramic Photographs Collection. Link (May 2009).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting details about these wonderful photographers and photographs!

May 27, 2009 at 4:30 PM  
Blogger Abba-Dad said...

Every post you put up is like a history lesson. This is just so impressive.

May 27, 2009 at 7:49 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I think there is something fascinating about every life, you just have to find it.


May 27, 2009 at 8:01 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


What a honey you are, thank you.

I love research and writing, old photographs and family history.

I'm very pleased you enjoy my work.


May 27, 2009 at 8:04 PM  
Blogger Marge W said...

Thank you for so much research and information and for pursuing Joshua Smith! How excited. I will send you a photo of Joshua Smith, and one of him with his wife Louisa and her sister Kate with her husband George Klein. They are copies of copies, so I will scan them tomorrow for you, but how do I send them to you? Should I send them in an email as attachments+ Both Joshua and George were born in Germany. My most direct email is Thanks. Marge Wasserman

May 29, 2009 at 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Joshua Smith made a flip-side / pair-image to 'Good Morning': 'Good Night' is a photomontage featuring about 40 babies crying (same copyright date: 1880). Human nature being what it is, it is impossible to look at it without going 'ohhhhh' whilst smiling slightly

October 16, 2011 at 5:50 PM  

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