Elmer E. Pascoe was born on November 3, 1861, in Indianapolis, Indiana to British immigrant, James Pascoe and Pennsylvania native Louisa Synder Pascoe. James worked as a boilermaker for the railroad. Elmer attended public schools in Indianapolis and graduated from high school.
In 1879, Elmer moved south to New Orleans, accepting a position in the wholesale dry goods business. A couple of years later, Pascoe traveled west to Colorado, working retail positions in several cities before settling in Denver at the photographic studio of George Stephan. Pascoe excelled in the field and took responsibility for Stephan’s studio during the latter’s out-of-state move. In 1891, Pascoe relocated to the silver mining community of Creed, Colorado. His photographs document the town and local events, including a group gathered for the burial of outlaw, Bob Ford.
On June 8, 1892, Creede’s Deputy Sheriff Edward O’Kelley shot and killed Bob Ford, the man responsible for killing outlaw, Jesse James. Ford had opened a dance hall, called Ford’s Exchange on May 29th, 1892. Six days later, a fire swept through Creede, and the dance hall burned to the ground. Pascoe’s photo shows a temporary tent erected on the site. The shooting, two days after the fire, was prompted by a quarrel several months earlier between O’Kelley and Ford.
By his mid-thirties, Pascoe abandoned photography, took up permanent residence in Phoenix, Arizona, and worked in real estate and the insurance business. Elmer E. Pascoe died in Los Angeles County on January 6, 1932, at the age of seventy. He was laid to rest in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.
Thank you to Beverly W. Brannan for proofreading this post.
George Stephan was born in Cleveland, Ohio on March 30, 1862, to John C. Stephan and Elizabeth Watson Stephan. His father worked as a dentist. George attended Cleveland public schools, graduating from high school in 1878. George moved to Denver four years later, where his uncle Henry W. Watson ran a photography studio. George likely learned photography from his uncle.
For about six years, George Stephan earned his living as a photographer in Denver. When he departed Denver for Salt Lake City in 1888, Stephan left Elmer E. Pascoe in charge of his studio. Pascoe continued to run the business (Stephan & Pascoe) until 1892 when the firm was shuttered.
In 1890, George Stephan returned to Colorado, residing in Delta. He was active in banking and real estate. By 1900 he had been admitted to the bar and established a large practice. He held many local and state offices in Colorado. Stephan was elected Lieutenant Governor in 1918 and a U. S. district attorney in 1924. He retired to California and died in La Jolla, California on September 9, 1944. He was interred in the family plot at Delta Cemetery.
Thanks to Cindy Motzenbecker for gifting me the studio portrait, which inspired this post. Kellen Cutsforth, Denver Public Library (DPL), provided scans from DPL.
Amos Snuffin Bennet was born on December 20, 1869 in Omaha, Nebraska to Elisha Bennett III and Esther Ann Snuffin Bennett. The family moved to Arapaho County in Colorado Territory a few months after his birth. By 1892, Amos Bennet lived in Axial, Colorado, a town that no longer exists in Moffat County. Like his peers, A. G. Wallihan and his wife, Mary Augusta Wallihan, Bennet specialized in making photographs of wild game, landscapes and portraits. Bennet often served as a guide to hunters and fishermen visiting the area, photographically documenting their adventures. His work won second prize in a contest offered by Forest and Stream magazine.
Bennet excelled as an athlete, riding his bicycle nearly 200 miles over the mountains from Denver to Axial, an early instance of mountain biking. He wrote an essay about his journey for the August 1893 issue of Sports Afield. He often took his camera and his rifle along on local rides. One day while out photographing elk, he later shot an antelope with his rifle. He slung the more than 200 pound beast over his shoulder, and then rode seven miles back home on his bicycle.
On another occasion, Bennet crawled on his hands and knees to sneak up on a herd of antelope with his camera. Bennet reported in Cycling West that “I had crawled about half the distance necessary when suddenly I dimly perceived something gliding right out from under my hand seemingly, and the next instant heard the sharp whir-r-r of a rattlesnake. It is needless to say I stopped right there! When I got my eyes mopped out and could see plainly I was glad I did. To my startled vision the ground ahead of me seemed alive with the reptiles. The whole prairie was one writhing, twisting mass and the air was vibrating like a buzz saw with the alarum of their tails.” He used his Kodak to courageously capture images of the snakes.
During the summer of 1897, snake charmer, Harry Davis, hired Bennet to provide rattlesnakes for a Denver display during the festival of Mountain and Plain. Bennet captured twenty snakes at Fortification Rocks, a location north of Craig, known for its substantial snake population. Bennet used a five-foot long pole to handle the snakes but Davis wrestled the snakes with his hands, receiving a non-lethal bit on his finger.
On September 28, 1898, Bennet married Alice Belle Caster. On their wedding trip, the couple visited Meeker and Denver, Colorado. There is no further mention of Bennet’s photography in the local press. After his marriage, he worked as an engineer and carpenter. In 1903, the Bennet’s departed Colorado for points west, settling in Klamath Falls Oregon in 1909. Two years later, Amos S. Bennet died unexpectedly of a heart attack at the young age of 41. He left his wife and two young children.
Thank you to Keegan Martin, Digital Imaging Assistant, History Colorado for providing the scan and Elisabeth Parker, former assistant chief, Prints & Photographs Division, Library of Congress for proof-reading.
Charles Eckland was born on December 3, 1859 in Sweden. He arrived in the United States as a young boy. After the death of his father, Charles was adopted by Ard Godfrey Emery, a Michigan photographer. Charles Emery attended schools in Michigan and Illinois. He started working in his adopted father’s studio by the age of sixteen.
At age twenty, Charles Emery arrived in Silver Cliff, Colorado with a solid background in photography. He opened a studio on the corner of Main and Mill Streets, beginning a distinguished photography career that would span more than five decades in multiple cities and encompass a wide range of photographic processes.
By 1880, Silver Cliff had become the third largest city in the state due to its silver mines. Soon after Emery’s arrival, smoke from a forest fire in a nearby gulch looked like snow on top of the mountains. The scene so captivated the city’s population that they closed stores and offices in order to view the sight. Emery made stereoviews of the mountain scene, which he later sold by the hundreds for fifty cents apiece. This brought his work to national attention. He immediately submitted one stereoview to the U. S. Copyright Office housed at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
Not content with limiting himself to studio portraits, Emery traveled to many locations around Colorado, including Garden of the Gods, Manitou and Pike’s Peak, Glen Eyrie, Denver, Clear Creek Canon, Ute Pass and Rainbow Falls, Grand Canon of the Arkansas, the Wet Mountains and the Sangre de Cristo Range, producing stereoviews and landscape views printed on boudoir cards. (Boudoir cards are prints slightly larger than cabinet cards.) He offered the views for sale at his gallery and through a catalog which is no longer extant.
On June 11, 1884, Emery married Bertha Alba Francis. Bertha’s brother, Gowen D. Francis, worked as Emery’s assistant. Bertha was a notable musician who played the organ for services at the local Methodist Episcopal church. After the wedding, the couple traveled by train to Manitou and Denver, and then to Kansas to visit Emery’s parents. Charles and Bertha would have seven children, only five living into adulthood.
In 1885, Emery moved his studio to Canon City, Colorado, but made monthly visits to Westcliffe, just west of Silver Cliff, to make studio portraits. Emery photographed prisoners in the original State Penitentiary located in Canon City, including images of prisoners in the chapel and a prisoner posed seated at a desk in the warden’s office.
In 1892, Emery purchased the photographic studio of D. B. Chase in Colorado Springs. He worked in the Springs for nearly forty years. At this studio, he specialized in portrait photography, often making class portraits for Colorado College. On request, Emery made portraits in people’s homes. He also sold Kodak cameras and photographic supplies for amateur photographers.
Emery attended the 1898 convention of the National Photographers Association of America, held at Chatauqua Lake, N. Y. The meeting provided an opportunity for him to learn new skills and see new equipment that might benefit his studio. Whenever in the East, he would also visit the leading studios to see their operations first-hand, to acquire ideas for his business. In 1901, Emery opened a studio custom designed for his needs, at the corner of Cascade and Kiowa Streets and ordered new studio backgrounds painted by a famous New York artist.
Emery exhibited about a dozen photographs in San Francisco at the 1903 Photographers’ Association of California. The following year he attended the National Photographers Association in Kansas City, and while there, visited the Worlds’ Fair.
In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt participated in a hunting trip in Garfield County, Colorado. P. B. Stewart, an amateur photographer from Colorado Springs, accompanied the trip and made Kodak views. Emery processed the negatives and photographs an produced a personal album, made especially for President Roosevelt. The album is now held by Harvard University.
Emery’s work was included in the “Temple of Childhood”exhibition held in conjunction with the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition held in San Francisco in 1915. Another acknowledgment of his success came with his inclusion in “Who’s Who in Professional Portraiture in America,” published in 1927. The volume contained biographies of three hundred American photographers, including Arnold Genthe and Pirie McDonald.
The Emery family suffered a tragic loss in August 1929. They were staying at their cottage outside Colorado Springs when heavy rain caused a dam to burst above the camp. Charles and his wife, Bertha, ran to the neighboring cottages to alert their friends to seek higher ground. Bertha was swept away by the flood waters and drowned. Charles never recovered from his wife’s death. On September 1, 1932, three years after her death, Charles was found dead in his garage from carbon monoxide poisoning. The Emerys were buried side-by-side in Colorado Springs’ Evergreen Cemetery.
Thank you to Beverly W. Brannan, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress for editing this post. Daniel Davidson, Director of the Museum of Northwest Colorado brought Emery’s photographs of prisoners to my attention. Keegan Martin, Digital Imagining Technician, History Colorado and Neylan Wheat, Museum of Northwest Colorado provided scans. Jessy Randall, Curator and Archivist, Special Collections, Tutt Library, Colorado College granted permission to use photographs from the collection.
Come to Colorado, photographs by William Henry Jackson, William G. Chamberlain, C. W. Erdlen, and many other photographers, is on view at the Amon Carter Museum (Fort Worth, TX) through January 7, 2024. The collection is drawn from the Fred and Jo Mazzulla collection. In 1976, the Amon Carter Museum acquired the collection of more than 6,000 photographs, postcards and memorabilia relating to the history of Colorado.
On Wednesday, November 1, 2023 at 5:30pm, Eric Paddock, curator of photography at the Denver Art Museum and Colorado native will join the Amon Carter’s retired Senior Curator of Photographs John Rohrbach to discuss photography’s role in shaping Colorado’s image as an economic resource and outdoor playground.
I haven’t posted in a while because I have been down the research “rabbit hole.” The life of a history detective is both time consuming and rewarding. The careers of many of the photographers I profile have never been fully documented. I thought I would share my research path for Charles E. Emery. A fuller post of his life will appear once I tie up a few loose ends.
A few weeks ago, a genealogist contacted me for assistance in identifying the photographer of a cabinet card made in Canon City, Colorado. I can certainly understand why she was unsure of the photographer’s last name (Emery) due to the flowery script. Having the photographer’s name allowed her to narrow down the date of her photograph to between 1885 and 1892.
After this correspondence, I thought, “Maybe I should do a post about Emery. Are there interesting photographs I could use for my blog?”
I looked at the Denver Public Library’s website and found a photograph showing the exterior of Emery’s studio. You don’t always find photographs showing photo studios, so having that photo sealed the deal–a blog post was in the works.
The cataloging notes for this image suggest that the photograph was made on Main Street, Manitou Springs, Colorado in 1884. Emery never had a studio in Manitou Springs, but he did work for decades in the neighboring community of Colorado Springs. However, that studio didn’t open until 1892.
In 1884, Emery’s studio was located in Silver Cliff, Colorado. Could I prove that this photograph was made in Silver Cliff? Emery’s Silver Cliff studio was located above Tomkins hardware store, at the corner of Main and Mill Streets. The New York Public Library owns a stereoview of Tomkins hardware store. I believe this view was made before Emery’s studio took over the second floor of the building.
The left side of the building provides clues that confirm the location as Emery’s studio. While the siding has been updated, the balustrade is the same design. Also, the attorneys sign appears in both photographs.
What else could I find out about Emery? The website cabinetcardphotographers mentioned that Charles Emery was listed in “Who’s Who in Professional Portraiture in America,” published in 1927. Only nine libraries hold this title, including the Library of Congress in Washington, DC, where I worked for 30+ years. My former co-worker and now volunteer, Elisabeth Parker, offered to track down the book and scan the relevant pages. The entry for Emery provided essential information about his early life.
The blog post on Emery is still a work in progress. I need to make a trip to the Stephen H. Hart Research Center at History Colorado to fact check a couple of details. I look forward to publishing a fuller account of Emery’s life in the near future.
Last year at the Denver Post Card Show, I found a carte de visite of an unremarkable woman taken by Pierce from Greeley, Colorado. I checked my database of more than 1,200 Colorado photographers and noticed that Pierce was not on my list. My database is compiled chiefly from the seminal (but now outdated) book on Colorado photography, Colorado on Glass by Terry Wm. Mangan, 1975, Biographies of Western Photographers by Carl Mautz, 2018, and keyword searching the Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection database.
To find out more about Pierce, I began my research at the Hazel E. Johnson Research Center at the Greeley History Museum in Greeley, Colorado. Years ago, museum volunteers combed through their old newspaper collections and noted any mention of photographers working in the city. They prepared a card file arranged by photographers’ names, providing a goldmine for researchers, as the indexed newspapers have not been digitized.
In September 1883, E. W. Pierce arrived in Greeley to take charge of Benjamin F. Marsh’s gallery while Marsh traveled east to visit relatives. According to the April 23, 1884 Greeley Tribune, Pierce “began his artistic career in New York City, elaborated it in Chicago, polished it up in Denver…” He used the new instantaneous dry plate process that allowed Pierce to “take your head off in a second.” While he did not necessarily need sunlight for the exposure, he did need the sun for making the prints. Without it, the prints would be delayed. He was skilled in artistic lighting, retouching, and finishing.
Pierce stayed in Greeley after Marsh returned from his trip, even improving the studio by purchasing new photographic instruments from the east. During his stay, he claimed to have made nearly 10,000 negatives. This is probably an exaggeration, as Greeley’s population was only 1,500 in the mid-1880s. All negatives were numbered and booked, but neither the negatives nor the inventory are known to exist today. Pierce left Greeley in April 1884 for a viewing trip to Southern Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico.
In the summer of 1884, Marsh returned to Greeley with the goal of producing a souvenir view book of the city. The Tribune reported, “His plans[sic] is to make 12 or 24 negatives, and show proofs, and select 12 of the most interesting views, bind them in an elegant album cover, and supply them to subscribers at the low rate of $3.00 each, provided a sufficient number can be obtained.” By late August 1884, the accordian-style book had been produced, measuring roughly 5″ x 8″ consisting of nine photographs of Greeley. The book’s cover includes Pierce’s middle name, Warren, which should help identify the photographer, but only led to a dead end in my research.
Pierce remained off and on in Greeley until the fall of 1885. Then he went to California, running the Elite Studio in Los Angeles. And there the trail of Pierce’s life ends.
My theory is that E. W. Pierce is the same photographer who worked in Galena, Illinois in the 1860s and 1870s. His name was variously spelled as E. W. Peirce, E. W. Pierce, E. W. K. Pierce and Edward Woodbine Peirce.
Pierce was born circa 1836 in Troy, New York. As a teen, he in lived in Brooklyn, New York, where he father was a merchant. By 1864, Pierce was working as a photographer in Galena, Illinois. Before December 1, 1876, Pierce sold his gallery to John H. Pooley. Pierce then traveled around the Midwest setting up temporary galleries before acquiring the Railroad Palace Photographing Car. The coach measured fifty feet long, ten feet wide and eight feet high, containing a reception room and operating department. The car followed the line of the Illinois Central.
A brief mention in the March 15, 1880 issue of the Galena Daily Gazette provides a Colorado connection: “E. W. K. Pierce, the artist, has sold out his Des Moines establishment, and has started a general store in Gunnison City, Col.” He could have then resided in Greeley between 1883 and 1885, and then moved on to Los Angeles. Edward W. Pierce died on September 4, 1888 in California and is buried at Napa County’s Tulocay Cemetery.
What do you think of this theory?
Miranda Todd, Archives Assistant, City of Greeley Museums scanned the two images from the Greeley Museums and provided research assistance. Beverly W. Brannan, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, proofread this post.
Fred L. Garrison was born on April 9, 1867 in Ohio. He became interested in photography in his twenties. By 1891, he subscribed to The St. Louis and Canadian Photographer while living in Edon, Ohio. The following year, he worked in New Iberia, Louisiana, photographing outdoor views, such as sugars mills, churches and private residences. Garrison met photographer, James C. Handley, in Louisiana and they would work together both in that state and later in Colorado.
In 1897, Garrison rode the Denver & Rio Grande railroad to the end of the line in Red Cliff, Colorado. He traveled by stage to Carbondale and joined the D. & R. G. surveying party. The following year Garrison opened a photo studio in Rifle, Colorado and later that year expanded his operations to Glenwood Springs. He went on to set up his tent gallery across from the court house in Meeker, Colorado in 1899 and 1900.
While the studio was known for years as the Garrison Bros., Fred’s brother Orson, was only active between 1900 and 1902.
Garrison won a prize, offered by Leslie’s Weekly, for his photograph of a railway collision at Rifle. The photo was published in the December 25, 1902, issue of the magazine.
Fred traveled to patron’s homes, making views of stores, home interiors, livestock, ditches and farms. He also visited communities, like Hayden, Collbran and Steamboat Springs, that were too small to support a photographer, making his services available to those who might not travel to Rifle.
In the 1910s he added novelty photo buttons to his inventory and also made a specialty of developing negatives and finishing prints for amateurs. Garrison provided many of the photographs used in the April 7, 1916 issue of The Rifle Telegram, a 28 page commemorative issue profiling local businessmen, educators, religious institutions and fraternal and social organizations.
Believed to be a confirmed bachelor, Garrison surprised the local community when he married Ola Sarah Anfenson on October 30, 1915 in Glenwood Springs. Prior to her marriage, Ola operated a photo studio in Debeque, Colorado. She worked in the Rifle studio alongside her husband, continuing the business into the 1940s.
Both the The Rifle Heritage Center and Museum (Rifle, CO) and History Colorado (Denver, CO) house Garrison’s original glass plate negatives, mainly unidentified studio portraits.
Thanks to Cecil and Betty Waldron, volunteers at the Rifle Heritage Center for sharing their knowledge of the Garrison family. Keegan Martin, Digital Imaging Assistant, History Colorado, provided the scan of Hayden, Colorado. Jori Johnson, Collections Access Coordinator, Stephen H. Hart Research Center at History Colorado, provided assistance with ordering the scan. The Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research provided travel funds for this research.
Thank you to Elisabeth Parker, former assistant chief, Prints & Photographs Division, Washington, D.C., for proof-reading this post.
Wellington O. Luke was born in Bradford County, Pennsylvania on February 9, 1847. He married Nancy “Nellie” E. Russell on September 7, 1869. In the early 1870s, he operated a photography studio in Meshoppen, Pennsylvania. In 1874, the Luke family moved to Colorado Springs. He partnered with another Pennsylvanian, possibly his brother-in law, Bentley B. Russell. They specialized in scenic stereoviews. After his young wife’s death of consumption in 1874 and his brother-in-law’s passing a few months later, W. O. Luke departed Colorado and set up a photo studio in Abilene, Kansas.
In Abilene, Luke managed a portrait studio and occasionally took his outfit on the road to neighboring communities. In 186, he married Laura V. Chronister. In 1879, Luke moved his studio into Putnam’s new block, outfitting his rooms with new furniture and backdrops. However, a few months later, the Luke family, encouraged by Leadville, Colorado’s silver boom, moved west where Luke would continue his photo business.
In July 1879, Luke worked together with Danforth N. Wheeler as Luke & Wheeler, producing cabinet cards and stereoviews. Their work included scenic views and local events, including former president U. S. Grant’s 1880 visit to Leadville, the hanging of two men, showing a large crowd of spectators, street scenes of Leadville, and miners and mining operations. Luke and Wheeler maintained their partnership until December 1881.
In 1888, Luke and one of Colorado’s earliest photographers, Frank W. Grove, joined forces as Grove & Luke. Their studio resided at 425 Harrison Street.
Luke worked in Leadville for more than twelve years. Virginia Luke filed for divorce in November 1894, alleging non-support. After their divorce, Luke left Leadville for New Castle, Colorado and later Arizona, where it has been reported that he made identification cards for Chinese people living in the U. S., as required by the Geary Act. After a brief time in Auburn, California, Luke returned to Pennsylvania. He spent the remainder of his photographic career in Wilkes-Barre, calling his business the San Francisco Studio. Located in the Weitzenkorn building on Main Street, it was the only photo studio in the city with an elevator.
Wellington O. Luke suffered a stroke and died on January 8, 1907.
Thank you to Beverly W. Brannan, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress for proof reading this post.