Adis C. Murphy and Josephine Buell: Evergreen Photographers

Adis “A. C.” Murphy and Josephine Buell were two of Evergreen’s earliest photographers.  Examples of their photographic work have eluded me, but I share their stories below in the hopes that this post leads to additional biographical information about the photographers and examples of their work.

Evergreen is located in the foothills less than twenty miles southwest of Denver.  In the 1890s, about two hundred people lived in the area known for its saw mills and ranches.  It was and continues to be a popular a summer resort.

A native of Michigan, A. C. Murphy (b.1845) operated a photography gallery in Fenton, Michigan in 1882, before moving to Evergreen, Colorado. Murphy resided at a rustic residence, Artist’s View, on land he homesteaded.  According to the July 5, 1893, Colorado Transcript, Murphy began photographing the Evergreen area in August 1889 at Bear Creek Canyon.  A later article, in the Jefferson County Graphic (August 3, 1901), mentioned that his views and sketches have been exhibited at the World’s Fair at Chicago and also at Buffalo, New York. Murphy divided his time between Denver and Evergreen during the 1900s.  I can find no info about him after 1912 and surprisingly no obituary.  

Camp Neosho
Unattributed. Camp Neosho, Evergreen, Colorado. Courtesy Evergreen Mountain Area Historical Society.

Josephine Howard Bailey Buell (1853-1930) was also born in Michigan.  She married James Whitcomb Buell, Assistant Surgeon in the military, on October 14, 1875.  Buell retired from the military in 1884 and settled with his family on a 1,000 acre stock farm in Sebastian County, Arkansas. 

After her husband’s death in 1897, Mrs. Buell moved to Evergreen, Colorado.  She joined her sister, Mary Neosho Williams, and niece, Dr. Jo Williams Douglas, prominent residents of the area.  They  lived at Camp Neosho (now called Hiwan), in their custom-built log home situated on 100 acres of land.   

Josephine Buell  worked as a photographer in Evergreen between 1900 and 1901.  Later, she lived in Golden, where her son, Arthur W. Buell, attended the School of Mines.  By 1910 she had made her home in New Jersey and remained there for the rest of her life.  She died on Christmas day, 1930 and is buried next to her husband at Fort Smith National Cemetery, Fort Smith, Arkansas.

Have any of my readers seen work by Murphy or Buell?

More about Hiwan

Thank you to Andrea Keppers, Education Specialist, Hiwan Museum and Beverly Brannan, recently retired curator of photography at the Library of Congress for proofreading.  

Let it Snow!

Cabinet card with snow
Dalgleish Bros., photographers. [Woman in snowstorm], Albumen silver cabinet card, circa 1889, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas
March is typically Colorado’s snowiest month and it just so happens that it is snowing as I write this post.  Snow pictures, photographic portraits made in the studio, gained popularity  in the 1880s.

Wilson’s Photographic Magazine (Dec. 1900, p. 548) outlines the steps to “fake” the negative: “…take Chinese white, as sold in tubes by the artists’ colormen, and thin it with water on a palette; then take an ordinary toothbrush and touch the ends of the bristles on the palette so as to take up a little of the pigment…pass, say, the back of the knife across the bristles so as to flick the color on to the negative in fine particles.  Before doing this it is desirable to varnish the negative, as then, if the result is not satisfactory, the pigment can be cleaned off.”  Notice that the photographer carefully avoided getting “snow” on the customer’s face.

During the 19th century, photographers often posed their clients in front of painted backdrops and used studio props, such as columns and plaster tree stumps, to add interest.  To make their snow scene more realistic, the Dalgleish Bros. retouched the background areas of the negative, adding snow to the foreground, rocks and roof of the building.  By adding pigment to these areas on the negative, consequently blocking light from exposing the photographic paper, the snow appears white in the final print.

woman before snow
Dalgleish Bros., photographers. [Woman Before Snowstorm.] Albumen Silver cabinet card, circa 1889, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.
In this rare instance, courtesy of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, we are fortunate to also have a photograph showing a portrait of the woman before snow was added to the negative.

Born in Scotland, the Dalgleish Bros., George and Thomas, operated photography studios in Wyoming and Colorado.  George (1854-1933), the better known of the two, learned photography in Toronto, Canada.  Between 1886 and 1889, the brothers worked in Sheridan and Buffalo, Wyoming.  They offered portraits made in the latest styles and also copied old photographs.

In 1889 the brothers opened a third gallery in Georgetown, Colorado.  Georgetown, surrounded by high mountains, prospered as a mining town in the 1870s.  Located about forty-five miles west of Denver, George Dalgleish managed mining claims in addition to managing his photography business.  After 1890, George seems to be operating independently from his brother.  He continued his photography business in Georgetown for about two decades.  I was unable to find additional information about Thomas Dalgleish.

George Dalgleish, photographer. Georgetown, 1892. Albumen Silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

While the Dalgleish studio produced the popular cabinet card portraits, they also made outdoor views including landscapes, mining scenes, and documented local events.

George Dalgleish, photographer. Parade, Georgetown, Colorado, July 5, 1897.  Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, X-1163.

In 1898 George Dalgleish organized the Georgetown Camera Club.  The Georgetown Courier  (Nov. 5, 1898, p4, c2) reported that the club would promote the “general advancement and mutual improvement in photography, and exchange of ideas with other camera clubs, through the exchange of slides and photographs.”

Swept by a Snow-Slide. Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly, March 23, 1899, page 238

In February 1899, George Dalgleish photographed the aftermath of an avalanche that brought snow, rocks and trees down the steep hillside of the neighboring mining community of Silver Plume.  Cabins, some occupied by mining families, were overwhelmed by the snow’s impact and about two dozen people lost their lives.  Dalgleish’s photographs received national attention when they were published in Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly.

The local press covered Dalgleish’s mining activity in great detail in the early 1900s.  Initial reports were very promising.  But in 1911, he sold all his claims and moved his family to Sterling, Colorado, on the eastern plains in northeast corner of the state.  He continued his photography business in Sterling until shortly before his death on May 13, 1933.

Now back to Thomas Dalgleish.  There was a Thomas Dalgleish active as a photographer in Texas in the early 1880s.  I suspect he was George’s brother, but I have no proof.  If anyone has additional information about the Dalgleish brothers that they would like to share, please let me know.

Want to see more photographs by George Dalgleish?                                            The Denver Public Library has a  selection of Dalgleish’s photographs













Miss Julia Skolas: An Accomplished Colorado Photographer

March is Women’s History Month.  More than eighty women worked in Colorado’s photographic industry during the 19th century, as photographers, retouchers, colorists, and print mounters.  Biographical information about these women and examples of their work are often hard to find.

Earlier this year, I received a research grant from the The Peter E. Palmquist Memorial Fund for Historical Photographic Research that will allow me to travel to libraries and museums in distant Colorado locales to learn more about the photographers, both men and women, working in their communities.  I am very grateful for this support and will share my findings in this blog, so stayed tuned.

Julia Skolas
Charles A. Nast, photographer. Portrait of Julia Skolas, circa 1893. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District, image no. 394-46.

Fortunately, Julia Skolas,  is one of the better known woman photographers in Colorado.  She was born to Norwegian immigrants in Wisconsin on May 14, 1863.  She grew up with her nine siblings on a farm outside Cottage Grove, WI, a short distance east of Madison.

In the early 1890s, single and about thirty years of age, she moved nearly one thousand miles from her family and home to Denver.  On December 31, 1892, she attended Denver’s annual Norwegian New Year’s Eve ball. (Rocky Mountain News, Jan. 1, 1893, p. 2, c. 1)  It is very likely that she was living in Denver at this time, but she doesn’t appear in the city directory until 1894, with no occupation listed.  Her relaxed and unconventional pose in the portrait by Charles A. Nast makes me wonder if perhaps she learned photography from him.  Nast operated at the 1624 Curtis Street address between 1891 and 1893, which matches the time Skolas arrived in Denver.  Unfortunately, no records exist to confirm my suspicions.

North Cheyenne Canon
Julia Skolas, photographer. North Cheyenne Canon, hand-colored photograph. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District, image no. 394-17.

By 1896, Skolas lived in Colorado Springs, where she ran a photographic studio for a decade.  She was a member of the Monday Progress club, a women’s social and educational organization.  The members would give talks on current events and the arts.  The Colorado Springs Gazette (Jan. 29, 1905, p23) reported on  a debate about “Labor organizations,” with Mrs. C. L. Smith  of Manitou, taking the union side, Skolas, the non-union.  In 1903, at the club’s annual day-long picnic, held among the wildflowers in North Cheyenne Canon, “Miss Skolas…presented each guest with a puzzle, which proved to be a little sketch illustrating the name of the individual.” (Colorado Springs Gazette, June 28, 1903, p. 16, c.6)  She was also a founding member of the Colorado Springs Badger club, a group of ninety-one residents of the Springs who claimed Wisconsin as their former home.

Madonna and Child, Taber-Prang Art Company Illustrated Catalog, 1923, p. 162

In 1906, Skolas sold the copyright of her photograph “Madonna and Child” to the Tabor Prang Art Company, a well-known producer of art prints based in Springfield, MA.  Prang continued to offer this print for sale well into the 1920s.  Skolas submitted a several photographs to the Library of Congress’ Copyright Office between 1907 and 1912, but they do not appear in the Prints & Photographs Online Catalog.  In 1911, James Alexander Semple, singled out Skolas for inclusion in his book Representative Women of Colorado.


In 1907, Skolas moved her business to the mining town of Cripple Creek.  She photographed the interiors and exteriors of mines extensively, even making and selling real photo postcards that were just gaining favor as souvenirs. She remained there until around 1920, leaving many of her glass plate negatives behind.

Julia Skolas, photographer. Elton Mine, circa 1908, gelatin silver postcard.Courtesy of Special Collections, Pikes Peak Library District, image no. 394-29.

In her sixties, Julia  moved temporarily to Madison, Wisconsin, but she was back in Denver by 1924, working  as a photographer. She placed the following advertisement in the January 18, 1925 Denver Post: “ONE 8 x 10 view camera, 1 8 x 10 portrait lens, cheap.  Skolas, Apt. 29 1/2 1720 Logan.” signaling the end of her photographic career.

In later years she worked as a milliner, candle maker, and in candy sales.  This list of careers may show how difficult it was for an older woman to make a living.  By 1931 she had returned to Madison, Wisconsin, where she lived until the end of her life.  She died of a heart condition on December 31, 1934, and is buried at the West Koshkonong Lutheran Church Cemetery, in Stoughton, Wisconsin.  

Additional resources:

See more Julia Skolas photographs online at the Pikes Peak Library.

Here’s a podcast that features information about Julia Skolas and a few other early Colorado women photographers.

Bathke, Nancy and Brenda Hawley.  “Searching for the Early Women Photographers of the Pikes Peak Region.”  in Film and Photography on the Front Range.  Colorado Springs:  Pikes Peak Library District, 2012.

Thank you to Beverly Brannan, recently retired curator of photography at the Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, for editing this post.


Who Worked for William Henry Jackson (Part 3) 1891-1896

This post examines William Henry Jackson’s employees between 1891 and 1896. Jackson’s business travels took him away from Denver, so he needed a solid management team. He bought out his former partners, the booksellers and publishers, Chain & Hardy and moved to a modern studio on Colfax Avenue. In 1897, Jackson left Denver to join the Detroit Publishing Company.

The list below provides Jackson’s entries from the Denver city directories, followed by a list of his employees and their roles in the firm, if cited, and the dates of their employment. I have included all the names associated with Jackson’s photo studio.

For earlier employees see the links at the end of this post.

1891 W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Company, 1615 Arapahoe Street

Horace A. Bird secretary and treasurer, W H Jackson Photograph and Publishing Co.  1891-93                                                                       Bird (b. circa 1859) started his career as a newspaper reporter.  Later he joined the Colorado Midland Railroad, where he most likely met William Henry Jackson.  In 1889, Bird authored History of a Line (Colorado Midland Railway): A Handbook for Tourists and Sportsmen in the Rocky Mountains.  He joined Jackson’s firm at a critical moment, after Jackson bought out Chain & Hardy and planned to increase photo sales across the country.

Walter S. Cross                                                                                            Probably Walter Shaumburg Cross (1869-1951), a Baltimore photographer, who spent a brief time in Denver in the early 1890s, working with photographer Horace E. Hunt before his employment with Jackson.

Joseph Edelmann                                                                                               No biographical information found.

George A. Ferguson (1891-1893) toner, printer                                   After four years with Jackson, Ferguson (b. 1871), worked as a photographer in Chicago (1897) and Detroit (1899-1901).

Miss Florence L. Hoopes, often incorrectly spelled Hooper (1891, 1893) colorer                                                                                                         Hoopes (b. circa 1862-1944) attended Maryland Institute for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts, graduating in 1886.  In 1891, Hoopes and Emma Jackson (see below) lived at the same Denver address.  After working for Jackson, Hoopes relocated to the Baltimore area.

Miss Emma K. Jackson  (1891, 1895) artist                                           Emma Jackson (1858-1927) was William Henry Jackson’s sister. She remained friends with her co-worker, Florence L. Hoopes, for many years. They traveled together and attended art lectures in Santa Fe and Detroit, where Emma Jackson later made her home.  Emma Jackson continued to color photographs after she left her brother’s firm.  Most notably, she hand-colored twelve photographic transparencies from various projects undertaken by the United States Geological Survey that were exhibited at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis and other sets that were exhibited in 1909 at the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition and the 1911 International Exposition in Turin, Italy.

1892   W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Company, 1615 Arapahoe Street

E. Cameron Hunter                                                                                          After one year with Jackson, Elijah Cameron Hunter (b. circa 1862-1928),  worked for Denver photographers Max Kalischer (1893) and Alvah B. Thompson (1895).  He remained active in Denver’s  photographic community through 1902.

Miss Sadie E. Potter, clk                                                                                 Potter is listed as a photographer in the 1891 Denver City Directory, one year before  working for Jackson.  She rented Benjamin F. Marsh’s Greeley studio during February and March of 1891, making cabinet photographs.  

1893  W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Company, Industrial Bldg, Colfax Avenue, bet 12th and 13th

Paul Balsiger, toner                                                                                

Denver Art Club
P. Balsiger & Co., photographer. Denver Art Club, c1905, Denver Public Library, Western History Collection, Call number X-19514

Paul Balsiger (1862-1943) moved to Colorado from Highland, Illinois, around 1891 with his sister, Marguerite. He worked for Denver photographer, Frederick E. Post, before taking a position with William Henry Jackson. Around 1900 Balsiger and his sister opened their own studio which they operated for about a decade. The Denver Post frequently published his work. The Denver Public Library’s collection includes many of his architectural views and street scenes focusing on the Denver City Tramway Company.  In 1912 Balsiger sold his studio and relocated to a farm in southwestern Colorado.  Paul and his sister moved to Redlands, California in 1923.

Miss Daisy Burchfield, colorer                                                                         Daisy Burchfield (b. circa 1863-1939) briefly worked for W.H. Jackson, but she had a long career as a Denver artist.  She specialized in hand coloring photographs and lantern slides. Photographers Howard F. Peirson and Paul Balsiger, a former employee of Jackson, both hired  Burchfield as a colorist.

Pike's Peak
D. Burchfield. Pike’s Peak, circa 1900-1910. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas

Arthur C. Burnham, operator                                                                       No biographical information found.

Mt. Evans
K. P. Howe, photographer. Mount Evans from Window Ledge. Municipal Facts: Volume 6 Number 5, May 1923, p14.

Kensel P. Howe, clerk, finisher (1893, 1895-97)                                 Kensel P. Howe (1875-1957) spent decades as a photographer in Denver. In the 1910s Howe made photographs for the Colorado State Highway Commission.  His landscape views appeared in several issues of Denver Municipal Facts. Around 1925 Howe moved to Los Angeles where he continued his photographic career.

Miss Mills, printer                                 No biographical information found.

Mrs. Mary Donaldson Wetherwax, stenographer, bkkpr,  1893-1897                                                                                                                   Around 1913, Mrs. Wetherwax (1861-1936) moved to Colorado Springs with her husband George E. Wetherwax where  they remained until their deaths.

Miss Minnie Wilder, finisher                                                                           Wilder (b. 1873) lived in Denver throughout the 1890s.  She married Harry Lander Price in Texas on June 5, 1900.  

A. Woodward, printer                                                                                       No Biographical information found.  

1894 W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Co., Industrial Bldg, 433 Colfax Avenue W.

Walter F. Crosby, secretary, vice-president (1894-95)                   Photography enthusiast, Walter F. Crosby (1857-1915), managed Jackson’s business for two years.  Through  his efforts, the business moved into a sophisticated studio in the Industrial Building at 433 Colfax Avenue. Crosby maintained mining claims in the Cripple Creek area and was later treasurer of the Union Pacific Railroad.

C. S. Jackson
Clarence S. Jackson and wife with child, between 1900 and 1910, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division

Clarence S. Jackson                                   Clarence S. Jackson (1876-1961) was William Henry Jackson’s son.


1895 W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Company, Industrial Bldg, 13th and Tremont Street

William M. Rhoads, sec. 1895-96                   Son of Philadelphia photographer, William H. Rhoads (1835-1885), William M. Rhoads returned to Philadelphia where he continued his photographic career.

William H. Walker, photographer                                                             Walker worked only one year with Jackson, but was active as a photographer in Denver (1887-90, 1892-99, 1910-17) and Idaho Springs (1891-92).

1896  W. H. Jackson Photograph and Publishing Company, Industrial Bldg, 13th and Tremont Street

Miss Mary S. Cassedy, colorist  1896-1897                                           Cassedy (1867-1898) moved with her parents and siblings to Denver in the mid 1890s.  She died in 1898 at the young age of 31.  Her younger sister, May L. Cassedy also worked as a colorist in Denver.

Louis J. Schiermeyer, printer                                                                       Probably Louis C. Schiermeyer (1872-1899).  Louis was born in Germany, but his family moved to the United States shortly after his birth.  The Schiermeyer’s operated a grocery store in Denver, with Louis working as a clerk before his employment with Jackson.

Who Worked in William Henry Jackson’s Denver Studio? (Part 1)

Who Worked for William Henry Jackson? Part 2 (1884-1890)

Thank you to Beverly Brannan, recently retired photography curator, Library of Congress, for editorial assistance and to Breahna Beecher for bringing Daisy Burchfield’s work in the Amon Carter Museum’s collection to my attention. 


John Green, a Black Photographer in Denver

When I started researching 19th century Colorado photographers several years ago, I wondered how many Black photographers worked in the state. So far, I have encountered very few.  In honor of Black history month, here is a brief glimpse into the career of John Green.

Black girl
John Green, photographer. Unidentified woman, tintype. Collection of the author.

Remarkably, John Green  worked in Denver as a photographer for more than 40 years, yet hardly any of his photographs survive today. Tracking down details his life has been complicated as  John Green is a fairly common name and official records provide inconsistent information.

Green was born circa 1854 in Canada to an Irish mother.  Census data provides conflicting information about his father’s ancestry, varying from the West Indies (1900), South America (1910) and Australia (1930).  John Green’s race is listed as mulatto in the 1910 and 1920 censuses, but as White in the 1930 census.  He may have identified as White due to the rise in Klan activity in Denver at this time.

Green first appears in Denver in the 1885 city directory as a colored photographer with his photo business at the corner of Blake and 18th Street.  The 1887 Sanborn map shows his studio was located in a  photo car, probably an old rail car.

Sanborn map, 1887
Sanborn Map, Denver 1887, Sheet 14

Green’s earliest work, tintype portraits of Black and White sitters, are found in a few public and private collections.  This in itself is unusual.  Most tintypes are unattributed.  Green carefully assembled the iron plates (not tin as the name implies)  into paper sleeves, stamped with his name and address on the back.  When the cabinet card format became popular, Green switched to that style of card mount.  

In 1889, Green photographed the Colorado House at the Capital.  This photograph is not known to be extant.  A few years later, Green moved to a permanent building at 1337 18th Street.  In 1910 he moved again, this time to 1952 Arapahoe Street.

John Green never married and I have not been able to track down any siblings.  Green died on May 24, 1930, and is buried at Denver’s Fairmount Cemetery.  Unfortunately I have not found a detailed obituary for Green.  Like many photographers of his time, his story has been lost to the past.

John Green, photographer. Western Steam Laundry, circa 1915, silver gelatin print. History Colorado, object id# 88.713.8








Byron H. Gurnsey, Colorado Springs’ First Photographer

B. H. Gurnsey produced hundreds of stereoviews of Colorado during the 1870s.  His series, Gurnsey’s Rocky Mountain Views and Scenes on the Line of the Denver & Rio Grande Railway, include images of Canon City, Colorado Springs, Leadville, Manitou, Pike’s Peak, and the Grand Canon of the Arkansas.  Numerous prominent institutions, including the George Eastman Museum, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The J. Paul Getty Museum and the New York Public Library, collect and preserve Gurnsey’s work.

Leadville, Colorado.
B. H. Gurnsey, photographer. Leadville, Colorado, 1879. Albumen silver stereo view. The New York Public Library.

Byron Hamilton Gurnsey was born on October 12, 1833, in Chautauqua County, New York, to John M. Gurnsey and Susan Nevins Gurnsey.   He married Delilah Ida Simpson on December 9, 1858, in Battle Creek, Michigan.  B. H. Gurnsey served four years and nine months in the Civil War, first with the 41st Iowa Infantry, Company C, stationed at Fort Randall, Dakota Territory, and later in the 7th Iowa Cavalry.

Spotted Tail
Gurnsey & Illingworth, photographers. Spotted Tail, The Rebel Chief and HIs Party, circa 1870, albumen silver print. Copyright, The Trustees of the British Museum.

After the war, Gurnsey operated a  photographic studio at the corner of Front and Pearl Streets on Sioux City, Iowa’s levee.  He offered “Photographs and Ambrotypes.”  His stock included stereoscopic views and stereoscopes from an eastern supplier.  In 1870 he partnered with William H. Illingworth, as Gurnsey & Illingworth.  On June 5, 1871 a fire completely destroyed his workplace.  Even though he opened new photographic rooms over the Imperial Bakery, Gurnsey decided to leave Iowa City.  In December 1871 he relocated to Colorado.

Gurnsey opened the first photographic studio in Colorado Springs, with a second studio in Pueblo, Colorado.  In Pueblo, he worked above the St. James restaurant, until he completed a new studio on Main Street, which he operated until 1875.  He partnered with Eugene Brandt at this location.  

Cottonwood tree
B. H. Gurnsey, photographer. The Largest Cottonwood Tree in Colorado, Fifth Street, South Pueblo, circa 1875, albumen silver stereo view,  Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas. 

As his success grew, Gurnsey completed a new brick building in Colorado Springs on Pike’s Peak Avenue in May 1874. The following year he sold an impressive $4,000 worth of stereoviews.  In addition, his photographs received national attention when they were published in the July 4, 1874 issue of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper.   This weekly news magazine, with a subscriber base numbering in the tens of thousands, published four wood engravings from photographs by Gurnsey: three views of Monument Park and one of Balancing Rock. 

Colorado Springs
B. H. Gurnsey, photographer. Pike’s Peak from Colorado Springs, circa 1875, albumen silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.

Beginning in March 1877, Gurnsey advertised for a partner to take a one half interest in his stereoview business.  It is unlikely he found someone to fill that role, but in June 1877, Frank W. Grove did assist Gurnsey on a Denver and Rio Grande railroad excursion for Denver journalists.  The party traveled over the new track between Fort Garland and La Veta.  Gurnsey secured negatives for ten stereoscopic views and four large 11 by 14″ views, including photographs of Mule Shoe Bend.  He made prints for the railroad, as well as  Eastern customers, with one railroad customer ordering 7,200 views.  Gurnsey’s views were also sent as far away as Paris and China.

Mule Shoe
B. H. Gurnsey, photographer. The Mule Shoe, 1877, albumen silver print, The New York Public Library.

Gurnsey continued to operate in Colorado Springs until his death at the young age of forty-seven, on November 19, 1880.  He is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.  Gurnsey’s widow, Delilah Ida Simpson Gurnsey, operated the studio after her husband’s death.  


George D. Wakely’s Early Photographs of Denver

In 1859, overblown reports of gold discovered along Denver’s Cherry Creek  brought a stampede of newcomers to the sparsely populated area, including a few photographers.  But it was George D. Wakely who stayed for five  years and produced a large body of work that continues to inspire and inform researchers today.

George D. Wakely was born in England circa 1836.  It is not known when he arrived in the United States, but in 1855 Wakely was living in New York City with his wife, Mathilda Brown and four children from her previous marriage.  (The New York State Census for that year lists Jos. B. Wakeley, age 38, born in England, working as a photographer.  While his name and age are incorrect, I believe this is George D. Wakely, as his wife, Matilda, and her four children are also listed.)

news clipping
Rocky Mountain News, September 29, 1859, p3, c3

The following year, Wakely moved west to Chicago where he made ambrotypes. His peripatetic nature led the Wakely family to Leavenworth, Kansas, in the late 1850s, where George’s three step-daughters, Rose, Louise and Flora, acted in Colonel Charles S. Thorne’s Star Company.  They performed under the last name Haydee.  George was active behind the scenes.  The theatrical troupe was invited to perform in Denver, a city less than two years old.  The troupe loaded up five ox-drawn wagons for the five-week journey to Colorado, arriving in September 1859.  Thorne’s Star Company was the first theatrical company to perform in the “Territory of Jefferson” at Denver’s Apollo Theatre.  After only six performances and rave reviews, Thorne secretly left Denver and returned to Leavenworth.  Undeterred, the Wakely women established their own troupe, the Haydee Star Company.

Meanwhile, George Wakely opened Denver’s first photographic gallery across the street from the Apollo Theatre in 1859.  He produced ambrotypes and photographs on leather.  The latter could be easily sent through the mail to Easterners.   His half-plate ambrotype of Mademoiselle Carolista, an itinerant tightrope walker, performing across Larimer Street on July 18, 1861 is held by History Colorado.

George D. Wakely, photographer. Madame Carolista walking on a tightrope above Larimer Street in Denver, July 18, 1861, half-plate ambrotype.   History Colorado, 86.70.29.

In June 1862, Wakely built a new gallery on Larimer Street across from the post office.  He obtained the latest equipment from New York, and offered the new carte de visite photographs, as well as ferrotypes.  Later that year he enhanced his studio with a mammoth sky light and extra side lights.  In addition to his own photographs, he also sold views of Colorado’s mountain scenery by photographer Henry Faul.

In April 1864, Wakely put his gallery up for sale due to health concerns, offering to teach the art to the buyer.  When no interested parties materialized, Wakely continued to photograph Denver and its environs, documenting the May 1864 Cherry Creek flood. 

Denver Flood
George D. Wakely, photographer. West Denver No 2, May 19-20, 1864, albumen silver print. J. Paul Getty Museum.

On June 27, 1864, Wakely announced:  “I will close my photographic rooms in a few days. Patrons are requested to call and get their pictures.  A few more views of the flood left for sale.”

George D. Wakey, photographer. Mouth of Fall River, View up Clear Creek, Four Miles above Idaho, Colorado Territory, 1862-1865, albumen silver print. J. Paul Getty Museum.

In October 1864, he copyrighted 26 photographs with the First Judical District of Colorado Territory, including views of the Garden of the Gods, Central City, Black Hawk, and mining views in North Empire.  

Wakely had closed his gallery and moved New York by February 1865.  At that time he offered his Rocky Mountain and mining views for sale in Harper’s Weekly magazine.  But later that year, Wakely, now living in Washington, DC, with a studio at 524 Pennsylvania Avenue, produced a series of stereoviews documenting government buildings. 

Patent Office
George D. Wakely, photographer. Interior of Patent Office, circa 1866, albumen silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum.

In 1869 or 1870 Wakely opened a photographic supply store in Kansas City,  publishing a catalog of the materials he offered for sale. He ran this business until 1877 when he sold out to Fred Mullett. During this time, Wakely also wrote articles for professional photograph journals.  

In the summer of 1877 Wakely relocated to Los Angeles, running a livery stable.  He returned to Colorado in 1879, working in Leadville, and the following year he was back in the photo business with Edward N. Clements as Wakely & Clements.  

By 1884, Wakely was on the move again, this time to Dallas, Texas.  He was employed by Alfred Freeman, a photographer and dealer in pianos and organs.  Working as a traveling salesman based out of Waco, Texas, Wakely sold pianos and organs in 1888 and 1889.  By 1890, he had again opened a photography studio, this time in McKinney, Texas, while also still selling pianos.  In 1894 he joined forces with photographer William F. Cobb, operating as Wakely & Cobb until March 1897.  In November 1898, Wakely started a new gallery in McKinney in the Dr. Metz building.  He worked there until 1901 when he accepted a job for a Dallas music company as a traveling salesman.  For the next several years, Wakely’s  photography took him to various towns in Texas and Oklahoma, before retiring in Dallas.  

In April 1922, Wakely was hit by a car or train.  He died from his injuries on April 22, 1922.  Wakely was survived by his second wife, Etta R. Lawrence.  He is buried at Grove Hill Memorial Park, Dallas. 


Wildlife Photography by the Wallihans

Allen Grant Wallihan and his wife, Mary Augusta Wallihan lived in sparsely populated northwestern Colorado where they were skilled with both the gun and the camera.  Mary picked up a camera first, but soon both Wallihans shared this passion.  Most publications credit Allen as the photographer and overlook Mary’s involvement, a common occurrence in photographic history, as women photographers were often considered assistants or helpers, rather than working behind the camera.

Mrs. Wallihan
Mrs. Wallihan.  Craig Press, January 31, 2009

Mary Augusta Higgins was born on February 22, 1837, at Oak Creek, Wisconsin to Elihu Higgins and Eliza (Rawson) Higgins. Mary’s father was one of the first settlers at South Milwaukee and Mary was purportedly the first “white child” born at Oak Creek. She married Cullen Farnham on June 1, 1865, at Croton Falls, New York.  The 1870 census lists Cullen and Mary living in Waukesha, WI, with Mary’s parents. In the 1870s, she and her husband were living in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Mary filed for divorce in 1877, claiming that Farnham had abandoned her without financial support. They divorced in 1880 and shortly thereafter she moved to her brother’s ranch in Routt County, CO.

Mule Deer
First Scent of Danger, Plate no. 22, Mule Deer, Buck and Doe.  From Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains.

Mary married Allen G. Wallihan, twenty-two years her junior, on April 16, 1885, at Rawlins, WY.  The couple lived in remote northwestern Colorado, twenty miles from their nearest neighbor.  Mrs. Wallihan learned to shoot a rifle, first to protect herself when her husband was away, but she also became a proficient hunter.  She developed a love for wildlife the led her to acquire a camera from a missionary that she used to photograph the local deer.  She learned the craft of photography from books and manufacturer’s catalogs. 

In 1888, she initiated a project, with her husband, to document Colorado’s widlife, becoming perhaps the earliest wildlife photographers. They used a crude large-format camera on a tripod, taking 4-1/4 x 6-1/2” glass plates.  As they learned more about photography, they upgraded their equipment, purchasing better cameras and lenses, using both 5 x 8” and 8 x 10” cameras.  They printed cyanotype proofs before selecting which negatives to make into finished prints that would be mounted on cards.

Mountain Goats
On Guard. Plate No. 7, Rocky Mountain Goat. From Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains.

The Wallihans produced two compilations of  wildlife photographs, Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains (1894),  with an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt, was published by Frank S. Thayer in Denver.  Camera Shots at Big Game (1901) was published by Doubleday, Page & Co. and also included an introduction by Theodore Roosevelt.  The Wallihan’s photographs were exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition and in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

Mrs. Wallihan died on September 27, 1922, after suffering a stroke.  She was 85 years old.  She is buried near her home in Lay, Colorado.

Allen G. Wallihan was born at Footville, Wisconsin, on June 15, 1859 to Pierce and Lucy (Flower) Wallihan.  He had ten older siblings. Wallihan arrived in Leadville, Colorado, in 1879, and worked unsuccessfully as a miner.  He lived in Colorado Springs and Alpine, before moving to a horse ranch in Routt County in 1882.  He homesteaded on 160 acres in Lay, a small town twenty-two miles west of Craig, where he lived for the remainder of his life.  

Wallihan served as the postmaster of Lay for about fifty years.  He spent the latter part of his career as a U. S. Land Commissioner, surveying, platting, and overseeing the sale of the public lands in the county.  He also owned an interest in a large tract of bituminous coal.  After Mary Wallihan’s death in 1922, Allen married Essaye Cook on September 26, 1927.  Allen G. Wallihan died on December 14, 1935, after a stroke.  He is buried in Lay, CO in a casket he himself made.


Thank you to Beverly Brannan, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress, for proofreading.


Who Worked for William Henry Jackson? Part 2 (1884-1890)

Interior of bookstore
Duhem Bros., photographer. Chain & Hardy’s Bookstore, circa 1871. Denver Public Library Special Collections.

This post researches  William Henry Jackson’s employees between 1884 and 1890 when Jackson partnered with booksellers and publishers, Chain & Hardy.  James Albert Chain and S. B. Hardy opened their Denver bookstore in 1871. (Jackson’s first studio was across the street from the bookstore.)

Jackson and Chain became friends. They traveled together in a private Pullman train car, visiting the Southwest and Mexico.   Jackson photographed the scenery, while Chain’s wife, Helen, made paintings along the route.  This new partnership brought Jackson in direct contact with a publisher and distributor, so he could continue to concentrate on his photography while Chain & Hardy produced his books and sold his photographs.

The list below provides Jackson’s entries from the Denver city directories, followed by a list of his employees and their roles in the firm, with the dates of their employment. I have included all the names associated with Jackson’s photo studio.

1884  W. H. Jackson & Co.  (W. H. Jackson and Chain, Hardy & Co.) landscape photographers, 414 Larimer

Miss Helen Curtis, mounter, (1884)                                                               In 1884, Helen Curtis lived in Denver with the John Louville Curtis family.  Her relationship to this family is unknown.  As a mounter, Miss Curtis would adhere the photographs to a stiff backing board.

Miss M. E. Maynard, clerk  (1884-86)                                                          No biographical information found.

1885  W. H. Jackson & Co.  (W. H. Jackson and Chain, Hardy & Co.) landscape photographers, 414 Larimer

Louis C. McClure, printer, photographer (1885-89, 1895-97)          McClure (1867-1957) excelled at architectural photography.  After William Henry Jackson left Denver, McClure ran his own photographic business.  His clients included the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad and his work was published frequently in newspapers.  I plan to feature him in a future post.

Louis C. McClure, photographer. [Unidentified landscape], hand-colored gelatin silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art.





1886  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 414 Larimer

Orrin C. Painter, assistant photographer                                                     Painter (1864-1915) was Jackson’s nephew. (Historically he has been identified as Jackson’s brother-in-law).  See The Baltimore Sun, September 9, 1915, p. 7, c.4.

1887 W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1609, 1611, 1613, and 1615 Arapahoe

Joseph A. Gilpin, photographer                                                                       No biographical information found.

Miss Kate M. Moran, clerk, colorist (1887-89, 1894-95)                     Moran moved to Colorado from Nebraska in 1881.  She worked for William Henry Jackson, as well as the Chain & Hardy Bookshop.  In the spring of 1898, she accepted a position with the Nonpareil Portrait and Publishing Company in Colorado Springs.  The Weekly Gazette (Colorado Springs) on May 17, 1898, referred to Moran as “one of the most skillful colorists in the country.” Her whereabouts after this date are unknown; although the Rocky Mountain News on October 5, 1898, reported the death of a Kate Moran from heart disease. Perhaps this is the same person.

1888  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson  J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1615 Arapahoe

George Reitze, photographer                                                                           Reitze (c. 1868-1920)  worked about one year with Jackson.  In 1890 Reitze and his brothers formed L. C. Reitze & Bros. Wall Paper & Decorating Company in Denver.

1889  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1615 Arapahoe

John Masonheimer, photographer, 1889-90                                           Possibly John K. Masonheimer (1871-1908).John K. Masonheimer came to Colorado in 1888.  He was employed as a civil engineer for the railroads.                       

George E. Mellen, photographer. Black Cañon at Curicanti Needle, D. & R.G. Ry., 1880s,  albumen silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

George E. Mellen, photographer, operator, 1889-90, 1892-93               Mellen (b. c1852-1915?) was an established photographer in Colorado before working for Jackson. In 1888, Jackson had even considered purchasing Mellen’s  Colorado Spring’s business. Mellen authored two photography books and spent the latter part of his career in Chicago. A blog post devoted to Mellen will appear in the future.

1890  W. H. Jackson & Co., (W. H. Jackson, J. A. Chain and S. B. Hardy), landscape photographers, 1615 Arapahoe

Frederick Caseman, photographer                                                                 After working for Jackson, Caseman (b. c1857) worked as a cigar maker and photographer in Rochester, NY.                                                                                    

city view
Smith-Hassell Co. View of the Buena Vista smelter in Buena Vista, CO, circa 1899. History Colorado Collection.

Gilbert Hassell,  photographer printer, finisher, 1890-1897         Hassell( 1871-1957) was born in Illinois, but grew up in Colorado Springs.  At the age of 19, he began his photographic career with Jackson. After leaving Jackson’s employ, Hassell formed  The Smith – Hassell Company.  They  were the official photographers to the C & S (Colorado & Southern) and Colo & Northwestern Ry. By 1901, Hassell had moved to California, where he became known for his large panoramic views.

Lewis E. Imes, printer                                                                                           Imes (1860-1932) learned photography in Chicago from Edward F. Hartley in 1880.  He was hired as a photographer in several western towns, including his time with Jackson, until settling in Lansing, Michigan in 1899, where he would remain working in the photography field until his death.

Fred. D.  Judson, photographer                                                                         No biographical information found.

Thank you to Bill Else for sharing information about Gilbert Hassell’s post Jackson career.  Thank you to Beverly Brannan, recently retired curator of photography, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, for her editorial assistance.










Frank Kuykendall’s Views of the Central Rockies

Frank Kuykendall (1855-1920) was born in Douglas County Oregon to George and Candace (Stark) Kuykendall.  He attended Umpqua Academy, a public school organized by the Methodist church in Wilbur, Oregon.  The family moved to California in the mid-1860s and by 1870 had settled in Santa Rosa.  Frank learned the carpentry trade from his father, before mastering the art of photography.

Frank Kuykendall, photographer. Episcopal Church in Silver Cliff, 1880, albumen silver print. Amon Carter Museum of American Art.

In 1877, Frank and  Nettie Louse Hadcock were married in Sonoma County.  (They would later divorce, and Frank would remarry  twice.) By 1880, they lived in Silver Cliff, Colorado, and Frank had begun photographically  documenting  local business houses, street scenes and landscapes.  If the numbers scratched into his negatives are accurate, Kuykendall’s inventory included about  1,000 views of Saguache, Gunnison, Salida, Silver Cliff, Maysville and the surrounding area.  The bulk of his output consisted of stereoviews, but he also made larger prints.  His prints were stamped with “Fine Portraits and Views, S.W. Cor. of Ohio and Emery Sts., Near Colorado House, Silver Cliff, Colo.”

street scene
Frank Kuykendall, photographer. [Saguache County Bank and Ruby Saloon], ca. 1882, albumen silver stereoview.  Amon Carter Museum of American Art
Street scene
Frank Kuykendall, photographer. [Silver Cliff, CO.], ca. 1881, albumen silver stereo view.  Amon Carter Museum of American Art.
Log bridge
Kuykendall & Whitney, photographers. [Six workers on a log bridge], ca. 1885, albumen silver stereo view.  Amon Carter Museum of Art.
In 1882 Kuykendall joined forces with William H. Whitney (1855-1936) and they would continue to work together until 1885, first in Silver Cliff and later in Ouray, as Kuykendall & Whitney.  

By 1890, Kuykendall had moved to Santa Rosa, California, where he would end his photographic career.  Later, he farmed in Washington and Arizona, and then took up carpentry again, working in San Diego until his death on February 29, 1920.  He is buried at Santa Rosa Rural Cemetery, in Santa Rosa, CA.

Giant trees
Frank Kuykendall, photographer. A redwood tree 68 feet in circumference on Eel River, near Scotia, Humboldt County, Cal., from which a section was sent to the World’s Fair at Chicago in 1893, albumen print. San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.









For more information about stereoviews and how to see them in 3D: