Frank E. Baker, Horticulturist, Photographer, and Real Estate Developer

Frank E. Baker was born in Wisconsin in September 1849 to Garrett H. Baker and Elmina Clapp.  His mother retained her maiden name.  Active as social reformers, the family joined the Wisconsin Phalanx commune in Fond du Lac County in the late 1840s.  Based on the ideas of French philosopher Charles Fourier, the members lived together in longhouses and ate communal meals.  They raised potatoes, buckwheat, turnips, and winter wheat.  The community grew to nearly 200 people before dissolving in the early 1850s.

In 1858, the Garrett Baker family settled in Cobden, Illinois, and established a profitable fruit farm.  They supported the Underground Railroad, aiding southern slaves to relocate to free states in the North, despite opposition from many Southern sympathizers in their community.  Frank’s sister Kate taught wood carving at Hampton Institute, established in 1868 to provide skills to Black people after the Civil War. 

Frank E. Baker claimed to have worked on Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden’s 1871 expedition, but I have not been able to confirm this. He married Harriet Davis on September 1, 1872, at her sister’s home, the Kilbourn ranch, near Loveland, Colorado.  They spent their first winter in Greeley, Colorado before making a home outside Champaign, Illinois.  The Bakers pursued horticulture, growing apples, grapes, plums, and other fruits.  In 1877, Mrs. Baker exhibited canned and preserved fruits at the county fair.  Frank Baker exhibited apples and wine grapes at the Illinois State Fair a few years later.  In 1883, as a commission agent, he shipped nearly 1,000 bushels of apples to Chicago and Eastern markets.           

Girl sidesaddle
F. E. Baker, photographer. Eleanor Estes James riding sidesaddle on her favorite horse Patsey. Courtesy Estes Park Museum, 1985.063.055a.

The Bakers often summered in Estes Park, Colorado with Mrs. Baker’s family and Baker often opened a temporary photo studio in the mountains.  He regularly hiked, even summiting the highest peak in the area— Long’s Peak, with an elevation of 14,259 feet.  When he returned home, Frank Baker presented magic lantern slide shows of Rocky Mountain scenery at local schools, perhaps from his photographs.  

Baker photo
F. E. Baker, photographer. The Entre Nous Club, POP print. W. G. Elle Collection.

By 1891, the Bakers made Greeley, Colorado their permanent home.  In addition to his Greeley studio, he opened a branch gallery in Loveland.  The following year, Baker, working under Greeley photographer Morton E. Chase, ran a gallery in Fort Morgan, Colorado, visiting several times a year to make portraits.

In March 1893, Baker bought out M. E. Chase.  He secured a contract to photograph students graduating from the State Normal School in Greeley, (now the University of Northern Colorado), after administrators compared Baker’s work to several Denver studios and believed he could deliver better work at a cheaper price.

In April 1897, Baker traveled to Chicago to acquire supplies for his gallery.  He purchased new backgrounds for the studio and brought back a full line of amateur cameras.

In 1902, Baker sold his business to the Stewart Brothers and began a career in real estate. Frank E. Baker passed away on November 10, 1939 and was laid to rest in Loveland, Colorado’s Lakeside Cemetery. Surprisingly, no obituary was published in the local newspapers.

Thank you to collector W. G. Eloe and Jessica Michak, Curator of Collections, Estes Park Museum for providing digital images.  Miranda Todd at the Greeley Museum provided research assistance.  Beverly Brannan kindly proofread this blog post.  

Photographers Active in Greeley in the 1880s (Part 2)

This post identifies studio photographers active in Greeley between 1886 and 1889.   See my earlier posts for photographers working in the 1870s and early 1880s. Did I miss any photographers?  Can you provide any additional biographical details?


Webster Bros.
Webster Bros., photographer. Mary Hawes and her dog, June 1889. City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection, AI-4700, .

Webster Bros.  A partnership of Harry D. Webster and Frederick A. Webster.

Harry Dorr Webster (1852-1927) was born on a farm in Hadley Township, Michigan to Edwin Baldwin Webster and Anna White Webster, the first of at least eleven children. In the early 1870s, he apprenticed to a Michigan photographer before studying under George F. Maitland of Buffalo, New York.

Harry worked briefly in Flint, Michigan before moving to Lapeer, Michigan to work for Charles A. Kelley.  Webster purchased Kelley’s gallery in 1879 and would continue to operate a studio in Lapeer until 1886 when he moved West. He opened Webster Bros. studio with his brother Frederic Arthur Webster in Laramie, Wyoming, before taking over Koonz’s studio in Greeley. The firm dissolved in January 1889.   Frederic moved further west and H. D. continued to work in Laramie until 1896.

Court House, Greeley
H. D. Webster, photographer. Court House, Greeley, Colorado., 1886. City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection, AI-0058.

In January 1897, Harry Webster sold his studio and moved to Cripple Creek, Colorado.   He and E. A. Yelton, worked together as Webster & Yelton through September 1897 at Cripple Creek.  Webster then worked on his own through 1904 and  ran a floral business from his home.

By 1907, Webster had relocated to Wilbur, Oregon, and in 1910 to West Pomeroy, Washington working as a photographer at both locations.  In 1914 he took over Miss Edith Robinson’s studio in Burley, Idaho.  Seven years later, in 1921, he placed an advertisement in the Burley Herald offering his studio for sale.  He died on June 11, 1927, at Burley.  He was buried in the Avondale Cemetery in Flint, Michigan.

Frederick  Arthur Webster
(1860-1933) was born in Lapeer, Michigan.  He learned photography at fifteen from his older brother Harry Webster.  They worked together in Lapeer and later F. A. Webster worked in St Johns, Michigan.  Between 1886-1888, the two brothers ran the Greeley branch of the Webster Bros. studio.

In 1889, Webster moved to Oakland, CA where he would maintain a photography studio for over four decades.  He published a booklet of his photographs of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.  Throughout his career, Webster was active in professional associations. In 1918, his work was profiled in the Photographic Journal of America. The work included a portrait of Webster and several photographs by him. He died on April 26, 1933 in Oakland, CA.  His wife and one son survived him.

Morton Ellsworth Chase
(b.c. 1861-1929) was born in Dearborn County, Indiana to Anthony Chase and Sarah Tufts Butterfield Chase.  In 1866, the family moved to Urbana, Illinois.  Anthony Chase died before Morton was ten years old.  After Anthony’s death, Sarah Chase ran a boarding house in Urbana.

Morton E. Chase attended the Illinois Industrial University, now known as the University of Illinois Urbana- Champaign.  In 1881, he taught painting at the school and there he met his first wife, Mary McNeil.  Mary was also an artist, skilled in crayon work and painting.  They were married on September 5, 1882.

Chase’s photography career began in Urbana with Jacob Scoggins.  In 1884, Chase purchased a studio in his hometown.  His photographic work won prizes at the county fair and the university hired him to make the senior class portraits, a contract usually given to a Chicago studio.  Sadly, Chase’s wife died of consumption in the fall of 1885.

Leaving his gallery in charge of G. R. Gamble, Chase traveled west, landing a position at C. C. Wright’s Central City, Colorado studio.  He promised to return to Urbana by April 1, 1886, where he would offer new styles of photographs, but shortly after his return, Chase put his possessions up for auction and in early September headed back to Colorado in a covered buggy with his friend William Goodspeed.  By March 1887, Chase had opened a studio at the corner of 15th and Larimer in Denver, offering locket-sized photographs to life-sized portraits.  In June, he married Mary Annette “Nettie” Beymer (1864-1949). After a year in Denver, Chase returned to Illinois, taking charge of Thomas Naughton’s studio in Champaign.  Soon, however, the Chase’s returned to Colorado, this time settling at Greeley.

Chase documented the rural community of Greeley, making portraits and photographing the agricultural riches of the area, especially its large potato crops.  He also traveled around with his tent studio, including a trip to Erie, Colorado to photograph its coal mines.  During the summer of 1890, Chase spent two months in the mountains near Breckenridge, Colorado.  After he returned to Greeley he set out in his photo car for towns in northern Colorado, including Berthoud and Lyons.

Child with dog
M. E. Chase & Co., photographer. Unidentified child and dog. Collection of the author.

Early in 1892, Chase hired photographer F. E. Baker, who managed Chase’s new branch gallery on the eastern plains in Fort Morgan.  The town had never had a resident photographer and relied upon itinerants, so they were excited about having a local photographer.

In the fall of 1892, Chase ran out of photo paper.  It took six weeks to replenish his stock which interfered with business before the Christmas holidays.  The following March, Chase sold his business to F. E. Baker and  left Greeley under a dark cloud.  Unsubstantiated rumors circulated that he was romantically involved with a young girl who worked in his studio, causing Mrs. Chase to suffer a relapse of typhoid fever.

The Chases moved to Manitou, Colorado in 1897.  The following year Chase bought Dalgleish’s Ouray, Colorado studio.  In March 1901, Chase took Harvey Lewis as a partner, with Chase behind the camera and Lewis managing the business.  In the fall, Chase partnered with H. E. Lutes.  Their views were sold at book and stationery stores in the area and were popular with tourists.  They had a photo car that traveled to mountain towns.  In March 1902, their partnership was dissolved with Lutes taking over.  Chase continued to work in the photo business from his home.

In August 1902, Chase accepted a position in Brumfield’s Silverton studio.  He later worked in several cities throughout the state as a photographer and house painter.  Morton Ellsworth Chase died on January 17, 1939 in Los Angeles, California.

Phil Bevis
(1865-1948) studied architecture at the University of Illinois at Champaign, but poor health prevented him from completing his studies.  He worked in the university’s blueprint room before moving to Greeley to assist photographer, Morton E. Chase.  Later, he served as general secretary of the Y.M.C.A. for several decades.

Thank you to Beverly W. Brannan for editing this post.  Miranda Todd at the Greeley Museum provided research assistance and scans.  


Photographers Active in Greeley in the 1880s (Part 1)

This post identifies studio photographers active in Greeley between 1880 and 1887.   See my earlier post for photographers working in the 1870s.  This post shows how quickly some studios changed hands.  Did I miss any photographers?  Can you provide any additional biographical details?

Orlando D. Shields (b. c. 1851-1935) was born in Mahoning County, Ohio. The 1880 census lists Shields as a photographer living in Greeley, Colorado, although no examples of his work have been found.  For many years he operated a nursery business, selling fruit, shade and ornamental trees from his farm in Larimer County.  Shields died on April 3, 1935, while visiting family in Long Beach, California.

George Wallace Wright (b. c. 1855-1931) was born in Maine.  His older brother, Charles C. Wright, was also a photographer.  Wright worked as a photographer in Chariton, Iowa, until June 1880, moving to Greeley, for his health.  The town board permitted Wright to set up a temporary gallery in August.  Later, he moved to Loveland, Colorado, and continued his trade.  A tintype from this time notes that Wright ran a railroad picture car in Colorado and Wyoming.

For the next decade or so, Wright lived a peripatetic life, moving to Portland, Maine; Holyoke, Massachusetts; and Bath, New York.  He settled in New London, Connecticut for several years before finishing his career in Laconia, New Hampshire.  Wright died on December 9, 1931, in Tilton, New Hampshire.  

1880, 1885-1886, 1891-1908                                                                                               Clark M. Marsh (1833-1910) and his twin brother, Benjamin, were born on December 26, 1833, to Belorman Marsh and Mary Heller Marsh on a farm in Southport, New York.

Marsh, an early practitioner of photography, began making ambrotypes in Elmira, New York as early as 1856.  On July 11, 1860 he married Charlotte E. Kellogg.  By 1860 he moved his studio to Canandaigua, New York, offering photographs in lockets or pins for as little as 25 cents.  He specialized in copying and enlarging daguerreotypes.  In 1866 he updated his gallery with a new skylight.  Marsh acquired the exclusive right to use Wing’s Patent Gem Camera, designed by Simon Wing.  This camera used multiple lenses to produce tiny gem tintypes measuring approximately 1” by 1-1/4”.

In December 1866, Marsh took E. B. Lewis as a partner. Marsh & Lewis added a music store to the photo gallery.  They sold organs, violins, pianos, sheet music and other musical merchandise.  However, the partnership dissolved in May 1867.  In January 1868, a fire damaged Marsh’s photography gallery.  He quickly set up a new gallery on Canandaigua’s Main Street and became an agent for Grover & Baker Sewing Machines.  But later that year, Marsh announced that he planned to move West and scheduled an auction to sell his household goods, including five mattresses, one marble-topped table, three good carpets, and three swarms of bees.  He lived briefly in Painesville, Ohio, but returned to Canandaigua by the winter of 1869. 

In March 1870 Marsh took J. C. Bushfield as a partner.  They worked together for about five months.  Shortly after that, Marsh relocated to Havana, New York, where his output included stereoviews of the local scenery, showing rocks, bridges, tunnels, cascades, and gorges.

Havana Falls stereo
B. F. Marsh, photographer. “Eagle Cliff Falls, [Havana, NY]” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs.
A year later, Marsh spent six months in Greeley to improve his health and started selling ice cream from his photography gallery.  In the fall of 1885 Clark Marsh was back in Greeley working with his brother Benjamin as the Marsh Bros. Their partnership lasted until April 1886.  

Dr. Hawes
Clark M. Marsh, photographer. Dr. Jesse Hawes wearing his antiseptic suit for contagious diseases, ca. 1899. City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection,

It was not until 1891 that Clark Marsh set up a permanent gallery in Greeley, purchasing goods for the studio in Denver.  During the Christmas season, he took 65 baby pictures for free, which resulted in 400 portrait orders.  In August 1895, Marsh offered free portraits to every potato farmer and planned to exhibit them on Greeley’s Potato Day.  Two years later, he expanded his studio with a brick addition and added  four new backdrops.  By 1901, his son, Charles, “Chub” had joined the business.  They offered Kodak cameras and supplies.  

In October 1908, Marsh sold his photography business to E. Wallace.  Shortly afterward, Marsh spent six months in San Diego, California visiting his daughter.  Clark M. Marsh died on May 19, 1910, at the age of 76, due to heart failure while visiting family in Boise, Idaho.  His body was returned to Greeley and he was buried at Linn Grove Cemetery. Clark M. Marsh was survived by four daughters and a son.  

C.C. Wright cdv
Verso of C. C. Wright carte de visite with the date of 1882 printed on the card.  Scan from ebay.

Charles C. Wright (b. c. 1840-1887) Wright came to Colorado in 1882 from Indiana.  His Greeley studio was located near the depot.  In October 1882, he opened another studio in Denver over Reithmann’s Drug Store, at the corner of Fifteenth and Larimer streets.  In early 1883, he turned over his Greeley studio to John R. King.  

John R. King
(b. c. 1853-1927) began his photographic career in Elmira, New York in the late 1870s.  During the 1880s, he worked in photography studios throughout Colorado, including Denver, Central City, Boulder and Greeley, where he was often associated with C. C. Wright.  In 1882, he managed Wright’s Greeley gallery, which specialized in photographing homes.  King took possession of the gallery in January 1883, planning to only stay in Greeley for a couple of weeks, but demand for his services kept him in town until early February.  Later that year he moved his photographic operations to Boulder.  By 1891, King had returned to Elmira and worked various jobs, including bookkeeper and bartender.

E. W. Pierce (or Peirce) (b. c. 1836-1888) Born in Troy, New York, Pierce arrived in Greeley in September 1883, leasing Benjamin F. Marsh‘s studio.  He published an accordion-style souvenir booklet of Greeley illustrated with nine photographs.  In 1886, he relocated his gallery to Los Angeles, California.

Marsh Bros.
 Benjamin Franklin Marsh and his twin brother Clark M. Marsh worked 
together between the fall of 1885 and April 1886.


Three children
Koontz & Son, photographers. Three unidentified children on cabinet card mount. Collection of the author.

John Luther Koonz  (1838-1890) was born in New York to Isaac Koonz and Roxana Jennings Koonz.  J. L. Koonz married Catharine Mary “Kate” Dickerson on January 27, 1866, in Outagamie County, Wisconsin and they welcomed their first and only child, James, in July 1867.

By 1868, Koonz had opened a photography gallery in the rapidly growing town of Appleton, Wisconsin, on the Fox River.  After 17 years in Appleton, the Koonz family moved to Greeley, Colorado In 1885.  Initially, John operated the studio independently, but a year later, his son James A. Koonz (1867-1917) joined him. 

In the late 1880s, the family moved to Herkimer, New York.  Unfortunately, John L. Koonz died of cancer on July 19, 1890.  His remains rest at Prospect Hill Cemetery in Gloversville, New York.

Thank you to Miranda Todd, Archives Assistant, Greeley Museum,  for research assistance and providing scans and to Beverly W. Brannan for proofreading this post.

Arthur J. Stephens, Photographer and Poet

Arthur J. Stephens was born in Juneau, Wisconsin around 1867 to Isham Stephens and Susan H. Rowland Stephens.  In the 1870s, the family moved to Iowa, where Arthur attended college.  In 1890, he settled in Paonia, Colorado and married Lela Minniette Wade later that year.  Stephens operated a photography gallery in Montrose, Colorado in 1891.  He continued business in Paonia, Colorado until 1896, when he moved to Pomona, California.

J. A. Stephens, photographer. Portrait of an unidentified man, 1891. History Colorado, accession number 2014.137.56

Stephens continued to operate photography studios in southern California for his entire life, with studios in Pomona, San Diego, and Los Angeles. He also wrote poetry and published poems in local newspapers. In 1924 he released a collection of poems called The Bells of San Gabriel.  Arthur J. Stephens died in January 1930 and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

The Pageant by A. J. Stephens                                                                               The Glory of Nature beneath a California sun,
And flowers and beauty combined with the strength
Of young,lusty manhood all welded into one,
Made a pageant of wonder many miles in length,
While the blue sky above looked benignly down
On the radiant splendor perched high on youth’s crown.

There were maids that stood for ripened wheat;
Others that swayed like the swell of the ocean;
Some that danced like nymphs on tireless feet;
While hundreds waved garlands in a wave of motion,
Weaving and circling in lines true and long,
All vibrant with life and–six thousand strong.

The far frozen north and the hills of old Spain
With the  East and the West were mated and blended,
Till by magic formation was born a rare strain
Only found in California–may it never be ended.
O this land of romance, of flowers and gold,
Fires the heart with a thrill that never grows old!

Sweet maids of summer, young men and strong!
Your day of real effort is yet to dawn;
Here’s hoping success to your labor and song
While the pageant of life sweeps on and on.

Poem reproduced in the Los Angeles Evening Express, June 8, 1915, page 14, column 6

Thank you to Elena Jones, Digitization Assistant, History Colorado for providing the scan for this post.


Photographers Active in Greeley, Colorado in the 1870s

The Union Colony of Colorado was founded in 1869 by Nathan C. Meeker as a utopian agricultural community.  The town’s name was changed to Greeley in honor of New York newspaper editor, Horace Greeley, one of the town’s financial backers.  Photographers arrived in Greeley shortly after its establishment.  This is the first of three blog posts discussing Greeley’s 19th-century photographers.

1870                                                                                                                                           John Wilkinson (bc 1840) is listed as a photographer in the 1870 federal census for Greeley.

J. M. (or I. M.)  Johnson opened the first photography studio in Greeley, working briefly between November 1870 and February 1871.  His gallery was known as the Pioneer Photographic Gallery as well as Johnson’s Rocky Mountain Gallery of Art.  He sold stereoscopic views of Greeley and the Rocky Mountains.

1871-1891                                                                                                                                 Benjamin Franklin Marsh and his twin brother, Clark, were born on December 26, 1833, in Southport, New York to Belorman Marsh and Mary Heller Marsh.  The Marsh family lived on a farm seven miles from Elmira.  On December 27, 1859, Benjamin married Sarah S. Smith in Southport.

Between 1864 and 1870, Marsh worked as a photographer outside Cleveland, Ohio, in Painesville, on the Grand River.  In 1870, B. F. Marsh moved west and became one of the original residents of the Union Colony, an experimental utopian farming community now known as Greeley, Colorado.  His family arrived the following year.  Marsh set up the town’s first permanent photo studio in Nichols’ Block, on Main Street, purchasing supplies from E. and H. T. Anthony of New York City, the country’s largest manufacturer of photographic goods.  The Rio Grande Railway commissioned Marsh to make stereoviews in the Pike’s Peak region.  

Greeley stereo
B. F. Marsh, photographer. Greeley Tribune Building, Maple Street (7th St) between 7th & 8th Avenues.  AI-2520, City of Greeley Museums, Permanent Collection.

In addition to running the photo studio, where he also sold ice cream, Marsh served as Greeley’s town clerk, recorder and treasurer.  In June 1883, B. F. Marsh’s daughter, Kitty, spent three weeks in Denver learning the finer points of retouching photographs.   In the fall of that year, while Marsh traveled back to Ohio and New York to visit friends, he leased his studio to E. W. Pierce.

Marsh did not resume work in the studio until May 1884.  That summer he erected a new gallery with modern improvements.  Later that year, his twin brother joined the business, forming the Marsh Brothers.  They worked together until April 1886.  

In addition to making portraits and views of Greeley and the surrounding area, Marsh photographed the only known lynching in Greeley.  On December 29, 1888, Wilbur D. French was arrested for the suspected murder of a mill merchant.  French was reviled in the community as a cattle rustler.  It was also assumed that he had killed his wife a year earlier.  Since no one witnessed the murder of the mill merchant, residents feared French would not be convicted, so they took matters into their own hands.  Marsh produced  a cabinet card photograph of the lynching.  (The same photograph, published on a C. M. Clark cabinet card mount, was probably printed later.)

B. F. Marsh. Hanging of Wilbur D. French, December 1888. Photo from Bidsquare website.

In 1891, Marsh took a position in Greeley’s assessor’s office and shuttered his photography business shortly thereafter.  Benjamin Franklin Marsh died on July 10, 1900 of Bright’s disease.  Survivors included his wife and eight children.  Marsh was laid to rest at Linn Cemetery in Greeley.  

1874                                                                                                                                     Frederick Christopher Warnky was born at Malchow, Germany, on August 27, 1838.  At nine years of age, he emigrated to the United States to live with family in Milwaukee.  At age fifteen, Frederick joined a wagon train heading for California in St. Joseph, Missouri. He met his future wife, Mary Jane Brownell, in 1865 outside Stockton, California.  They married on December 19, 1865 in Benton County, Oregon.  The following year Frederick and his wife farmed in California’s San Joaquin Valley.  

While in California, Frederick attended lectures by members of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS) and decided to join the church.  He would continue to be an active member of the church throughout his life.  

The Warnky family moved to Colorado Territory in the fall of 1874 as the first missionaries for the RLDS church in Colorado.  Warnky, who had learned photography by this time, traveled around the Territory with a horse and wagon and his photography tent, taking pictures during the day and preaching in the evenings.  They spent five years in Colorado, living in Greeley, Golden, Fairplay, Lake City, and Leadville.

While working in southern Colorado, Warnky met photographer Charles L. Abbott. They would partner as Warnke & Abbott in Garland and Alamosa, Colorado, and in Abiquiu, New Mexico.  In November 1879, Warnky’s wife and four children moved to Independence, Missouri, headquarters of the RLDS, while Frederick pursued business opportunities in New Mexico.  

After working several months in New Mexico, Warnky established a photography studio at 214 West Lexington St., Independence, Missouri, until 1891, when he relocated his business to Argentine, Kansas.  Mr. Warnky advertised his work at this new gallery as a portrait and landscape photographer.  When his daughter joined his business, she taught painting “of different kinds” and also fancy work.  Warnky maintained a photography studio until 1900 when R. E. Lauck advertised his studio at Warnky’s old stand.  

Frederick C. Warnky died in Independence, Missouri on December 24, 1920.  He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Independence.  

1876-1877                                                                                                                               Mrs. E. A. Masters moved to Greeley, Colorado by the summer of 1876, offering portraits, cartes de visite, large photographs and views of residences. She claimed she made a specialty of portraits of babies.  A couple of months later, she advertised her photographic work under the surname of her first husband, Mrs. E. A. Hammatt. 

1878                                                                                                                                           David Clinton Broadwell was born just south of the Canadian border in Fort Covington, New York around 1855.  He learned photography as a teen.  The 1870 federal census for Deerfield, Michigan lists Broadwell as a photographic artist, only fifteen years old.  Between 1873 and 1876, he operated a studio in Lansing, Michigan, described as the “only gallery in the city situated entirely on the ground floor.”  His time in Lansing included a short partnership as Broadwell & Wood.  Broadwell relocated to Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1877.  Health issues led him to Greeley, Colorado a year later, where he set up a tent gallery across from the drug store.  Sadly, D. C. Broadwell succumbed to consumption on February 27, 1879, in Windsor, Michigan.  He was just 24 years old.  Broadwell left a wife and a young son.  

Thank you to Miranda Todd, Archives Assistant at the Greeley Museum for research assistance and to Beverly W. Brannan for proofreading.  







James M. Goins, The First Black Photographer in Denver

James M. Goins was born circa 1850 in Ohio.  In 1869 he opened a photography gallery in Chicago, Illinois with J. G. Johnson.  Goins remained in Chicago for nearly a decade, offering cartes de visite and opal miniatures.  He also made enlargements from old and faded photographs and photographs colored on oil, India Ink, or watercolor.

In 1879, he moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, but he left that city owing money to creditors. In 1881, Goins continued the photographic trade in Denver,  remaining in town for only one year.  

Goins portrait
Goines, photographer. Portrait of an Unidentified Black man, 1888-1889. Photo courtesy of Museum of Modern Art.

By 1887 he had relocated his business to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he stayed for a few years.  For about a decade, Goins’ whereabouts are unknown. The 1900 Chicago city directory places him back in that city as a photographer.   In the 1920 federal census, Goins is listed as a patient in Chicago’s Oak Forest Institution, a home for poor and elderly citizens.  He likely remained in the Chicago area for the rest of his life.

If anyone has seen Goins’ work from Denver, please let me know.

William Cronyn’s Talented and Tragic Life

woman with guitar
Cronyn & Hibbs, Railway Photographers. Unidentified woman with a guitar, circa 1899.  Collection of the author.

Last fall I attended the annual Daguerreian Society meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.  I was on the lookout for photographs by Colorado photographers at the trade fair.  An image made by Cronyn & Hibbs of a woman with a guitar caught my attention.  I thought the name Cronyn was in my database, so  I hustled up to my hotel room to check.   (Note to self:  Always ask the dealer to hold the photograph, rather than assume the photo will still be available when you return.)

My database included a William Cronyn, but no one named Hibbs.  I liked the image and it provided information about Cronyn’s career trajectory, so I decided it would be a good purchase.  I returned to the dealer’s table and the Cronyn photograph was in another collector’s hands.   What should I do?  I hung around as the woman contemplated her purchases, and exhaled a sigh of relief when she placed the Cronyn & Hibbs photograph in her reject pile.  I immediately picked it up and asked the collector if she was sure she was willing to let this one go.  We had a good chuckle about my predicament.

Cronyn’s biography is confusing.  Canadian census data suggests that William Cronyn was born around 1850 in Ontario, Canada to David Cronyn and Anna Hawthorne Cronyn, but other records state his birthplace as New York.  His personal life was messy.  He married at least four times.  Perhaps because of this, he moved frequently and his professional life showed plenty of challenges.

By 1879, William Cronyn lived in New York City.   The 1880 census lists his occupation as a photographer and his wife’s name as Josephine.   A year later, in March 1881, Cronyn married Etta Wright, in Omaha, Nebraska.  They would remain married until the early 1890s.  In the mid-1880s Cronyn was employed in the Pittsburgh area as an artist.  Later in the decade, he opened a studio in Omaha, but ownership of the gallery ended up in court.  Cronyn moved out of the gallery, taking all the apparatus and furniture, leaving broken negatives on the gallery floor.

Cronyn cabinet portrait
Cronyn, photographer. Charles O. Unfug, mayor of Walsenburg, CO in 1887 and 1891. History Colorado, Accession #92.94.13

In November 1887, Cronyn arrived in Pueblo, Colorado. The Colorado Daily Chieftain reported that Cronyn had “spent thirteen years…in the operating rooms of [Napoleon] Sarony’s famous photograph gallery in New York City.”  Likely this is an exaggeration, as there is no record that Cronyn spent that length of time in New York.  

He seemed to hit his stride in Pueblo.  His wife assisted with studio sittings and ran the business when Cronyn traveled.   She was also a talented artist, producing “point crayon”  portraits.  The point crayon portrait was executed by hand using only the point of the crayon, rather than the standard crayon portrait where shadows were created by rubbing the medium into the paper.  

child by Cronyn
Cronyn, photographer. Portrait of Helen Virginia Gibson, between 1887 and 1891.  Poughkeepsie Public Library District, I-G07.

Cronyn claimed his studio had the largest skylight in Colorado, enabling him to make portraits even on cloudy days.  The skylight aided him with his specialty for fancy lighting.  He won first premium and a diploma for best photographic collection at the 1888 Colorado State Fair, held in Pueblo. Locally, his work could be seen in the windows of Pueblo’s Wick’s Shoe store.

Early on the morning of August 1, 1890, a newspaper carrier noticed a fire in Cronyn’s studio.  An electric light left burning all night had ignited studio scenery.  The firefighters saved the building but losses included the skylight, valuable backgrounds and studio apparatus valued at almost $2,500.  The losses were fully covered by insurance and the studio was repaired quickly.

Less than a year later, another fire broke out in the back of the Cronyn studio, probably caused by the explosion of an oil stove.  The studio suffered smoke damage and a few panes of the skylight broke.  A week later Cronyn put the studio up for sale, including his cameras, chemicals, furniture, books and other supplies.  Lydia McCloskey purchased the studio.  Cronyn remained in Pueblo, working for photographer, Wesley S. Howard.

By late May 1891, E. E. Powers took over Cronyn’s former studio from McCloskey, with the operating room under the direction of Cronyn.  The press referred to the business as the “Cronyn gallery.”  Meanwhile, Mrs. Cronyn moved to Denver with their baby for her health.  Cronyn joined his wife briefly in Denver, but news reports cited his interest in moving to Los Angeles, California or Missouri.

In June 1892, Cronyn secured a position with W. H. Caman in Wellington, Kansas, leaving his wife in Denver.  A year later, Cronyn was on the road again.  In 1896, he acquired a photo railroad car which he operated in North Dakota with someone named McGlachlin.

Cronyn’s third marriage took place in September 1898 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Helen Gould, a young woman thirty years his junior.   They divorced less than two years later due to Cronyn’s affection for another woman.

Cronyn & Hibbs, photographers. Unidentified man and woman, circa 1899. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Donated by Don L. Durrah and D. Simone Durrah Logan in memory of Hattie J. Durr Whiddon Graham (1873-1950); Christopher Columbus Wayman Whiddon (1894-1973); Lina Irene Jordan Whiddon (1897-1983)

In 1899, Cronyn operated a rail car in Minnesota with Charles Hibbs.  On July 5, 1900, misfortune struck Cronyn’s photo car.  His assistant, who lived in the car, came home from a dance and accidentally tipped over a lamp, quickly igniting the entire car.  The fire destroyed the car and all of its contents, valued at $6,000.  Cronyn held only $2,000 insurance.

The 1900 federal census adds confusion to Cronyn’s biography.  The census places Cronyn in Aiken, Minnesota, married to Margaret “Maggie” Whitney, also a photographer.  The census data states that they have been married for 10 years.  William Cronyn died of heart disease in February 1903 in Tracy, Minnesota.

Thank you to Dr. Marcel Safier, of Brisbane, Australia for researching Cronyn’s death date.  Beverly W. Brannan, former curator of photography at the Library of Congress edited this post.  Jori Johnson, Collections Access Coordinator and Keegan Martin, Digital Imaging Technician, History Colorado also assisted.  

Denver Photographer J. C. Swan

To celebrate Black History Month, this post is illustrated with a portrait of an unidentified Black woman made in a Denver studio by White photographer, J. C. Swan.  Only a few Black photographers worked in Colorado, and information about them is very limited.  An earlier post discussed one of them,  John Green.  As a follow-up to that post, Green’s best-known photograph, a portrait of Black cowboy, Isam Dart, is held by the Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig.

Justus Crandall “J. C.” Swan was born in 1849 to Samuel Prentice Swan and Calista Elnora Crandall Swan in Lincklaen, New York. Justus was the oldest of four children. Samuel Swan worked as a wagon maker. According to the 1870 federal census, the family lived on a farm in Frederick County, Virginia.   In 1871,  Justus settled in Missouri. On January 20, 1875, he married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ann Goodman-Bateman in Nevada, Missouri.

The earliest mention of Swan’s photographic career appears in an advertisement in the January 13, 1876, Nevada Ledger (Nevada, MO) for his studio over Roberts & Tyler’s hardware store. In 1877, the Swans moved to Delavan, Illinois, where J. C. Swan was the senior partner in the firm of Swan & Maltby. Mrs. Swan worked as a milliner. The couple’s first child, Justine, was born in Delavan.

The Swan family is not listed in the 1880 federal census and J. C. Swan is not mentioned in the press until they moved back to Missouri in the spring of 1886. At that time, his stereoviews of Zodiac Springs (Vernon County, MO), made under the firm name Swan & Taylor were praised by the press. A month later the firm purchased the interests of  J. H. Harter’s Nevada, MO studio in the Norman Building at West Side Square. In Nevada, Swan photographed local events, including a Republican rally held in September 1888 and the local artesian well. Swan remained in Nevada through 1892.

He traveled to Texas, spending several months looking for job opportunities. The family moved to the Austin area in December 1892. By 1896 he operated a photocopying service in Shepherd, Texas.

J. C. Swan photo
Justus C. Swan, photographer. Full-length portrait of an unidentified woman, circa 1897. Silver and photographic gelatin on cabinet card mount. Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, Gift of JoAnn Oxley Foster.

In 1897, the Swans changed their residence once again, now traveling north to Denver, Colorado where he promoted himself as a portrait and landscape photographer. He stayed in the city for eight years, working mainly as a photographer, but Denver city directories list him as a carpenter in 1901 and 1903. In April 1905 the Swans settled in Nucla, a small, secluded town in Colorado’s southwest mountains. He continued his photographic work, while his wife ran a hotel. Justus C. Swan died on May 3, 1928, at 78 years old. He is buried at Nucla Cemetery.

Thank you to Beverly Brannan, former Curator of Photography, Library of Congress, for proofreading this post.

A. E. Lickman’s Short Career in Denver

A couple of interesting photographs inspired this post.  I had never heard of A. E. Lickman, but the two photographs shown below made me wonder who he was and the extent of his work.

Albert E. Lickman (1864-1945) arrived in New York City in 1887, crossing the Atlantic from Liverpool, England on the Steam Ship Egypt.  The Egypt made its maiden voyage between Liverpool and NYC on November 10, 1871.  The large ship could carry 120 first-class passengers and 1, 410 in steerage.     Cabin fares started at $35 a person.  The Egypt sailed until 1890 when it was consumed by fire at sea.  No lives were lost.

2 children
A. E. Lickman & Co., photographers. Cabinet card of two children. Albumen silver print, circa 1890. Autry Museum; 94.33.2.

Talented photographer, Albert E. Lickman, arrived in Denver by November 1889, opening The Berkeley Lake Tintype Gallery  at 17th and Arapahoe Streets.  His Denver career was very short.  By 1892, Lickman had relocated to the Bronx, New York, where he continued his photographic career.

By  1905, Lickman lived in Baltimore, Maryland.  The following year, he received a patent for a toothpick.  A couple of years later he resided in Indianapolis, Indiana, working as a travel agent.  He spent the latter years of his life in Chicago.


Theater at Elitch Garden
A. E. Lickman & Co., photographers. Elitch’s Theater, [Denver, CO], circa 1890, Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.
Thank you to Marilyn Van Winkle, Rights and Reproductions Coordinator, Autry Museum of the American West for assistance with permissions.


Photographers in Routt County, Colorado

This blog post presents a chronological listing of photographers who had studios in Routt  County in the 19th century.  (In 1911, the western portion of Routt County split off to form Moffat County.) More detailed posts for some of these photographers are available on the blog.

Routt and Moffat Counties are located in the northwest corner of Colorado, best known for the Steamboat Springs ski resort.   Even today, the counties are a bit off the beaten path, located about 2 hours and 45 minutes from Denver, even longer in snowy weather.

In the 1890s, the population fluctuated between 2,500 and 3,600 people, compared with about 25,000 today.  A few locals set up studios in Craig and Steamboat, but most ceased operation after a few years.  Given the scarcity of residents in the 19th century, traveling photographers provided an incentive for locals to have their portraits made.  Some photographers, like George McDonald, had mounts printed especially for their stay.  Others likely used mounts from their home base, making it difficult to determine if the photographs were made in Colorado or if the people traveled to other states to have their portraits made.

1892                                                                                                                           Luke & Haskinson, a partnership of Wellington O. Luke and an unknown person named Haskinson, active in Craig, CO.


Amos Snuffin Bennet lived in Axial, Colorado, a now-extinct town in Moffat County.  He 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.


Mary Augusta and Allen Grant Wallihan, were the most prominent photographers of the area.  They produced two compilations of  wildlife photographs, Hoofs, Claws and Antlers of the Rocky Mountains (1894) and Camera Shots at Big Game (1901), both with introductions by Theodore Roosevelt.  The Wallihan’s photographs were exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition and in 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.


Man in bed
G. W. McDonald, photographer. Unidentified man in bed. Museum of Northwest Colorado, 2012.004.31

George Willis McDonald (b.c.1862-1911)  was born in Collingwood, Ontario, Canada around 1862.  In 1890, he began his photographic career in Denver, Colorado with a studio at 1206 Larimer Street.  In 1893, he ran a branch studio in Georgetown, Colorado and in July 1894, he worked in Steamboat Springs.  McDonald maintained a photo studio in Denver until his death in November 1911.

Mrs. Ada Edgar Wither (b. 1870?)                       Ada Edgar married Peter Richie Wither at Hahn’s Peak on November 15, 1890.  They lived in Steamboat Springs through 1894.  Ada worked as a photographer in Steamboat.  By 1895 the couple lived in Denver.  The couple divorced by 1900.  On February 7, 1900, Ada married Lewis C. Davis in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  They lived in Erie Colorado.


Two people on bicycles
W. J. Johnston, photographer. Portrait of Hugh McKenna (1869-1930) and wife, 1890s.  Museum of Northwest Colorado, 2015.005.305.

William James Johnston was born in January 1857 in Portsmouth, Ontario. As a young man, he moved to Wyoming, settling in Green River as a photographer.  He partnered with Charles Baker, as Baker & Johnston in Evanston, WY.  Johnston worked as a photographer in Wyoming throughout the 1890s.  He traveled to Meeker, Craig and Hayden, Colorado in 1895.    

In 1904, Johnston patented the Cirkit panoramic camera.  The camera rotates on a tripod and can capture a 360-degree view, excelling in recording group portraits and city views.  He sold his rights to the camera, with the exception of the Canadian rights, before moving home to Ontario.  He founded the Panoramic Camera Company of Canada.  He opened a photo studio on Ontario’s Victoria Street and specialized in panoramic photography.  He remained in Toronto until the early 1920s when he relocated to California to pursue mining interests.  Before the end of the decade, Johnston was back in Ontario.  He retired from photography in 1930.  He died in October 1941. He is buried at St. John’s Norway Cemetery in Ontario.


Aaron August Brown, photographer. Hinman Children: clockwise starting at top: Mary Alve Retta, Hattie Georgia, Leone, Edward, Abbie, and Helen. Museum of Northwest Colorado, 2012.004.617.

Aaron August Brown                                               Aaron August Tägtström was born in Sweden on July 1, 1860.  In 1887 he immigrated to the United States and changed his surname to Brown.  Having learned photography in Sweden, Brown set up a studio in Rawlins, Wyoming, one hundred miles north of Craig, Colorado.  Brown traveled to Craig in July 1895, to spend a few days making portraits.  A year later he returned to Craig for ten days, with J. Ernest Ralston as his assistant.  He promised to complete all his orders before they moved on to Hayden and Steamboat Springs.  In 1900, Brown was granted a patent for a bicycle with a motor driven by compressed air.  In 1902, Brown moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where he continued to work as a photographer.  The last twenty years of his life were spent in the chiropractic trade.  On September 20, 1929, Aaron August Brown died in San Diego, California.  His remains lie at San Diego’s Greenwood Memorial Park.  


Ninion H. Conley was born on December 14, 1857, in Minnesota.   Conley was based in Primghar, Iowa.  He traveled through northwest Colorado with his tent gallery in 1896, visiting Meeker, Craig and Steamboat.  Two years later, he set up his tent gallery in Osceola and Ely, Nevada.  He returned to Primghar, Iowa where he died on March 13, 1902.  

John Ernest Ralston was born in Indiana.  He worked as a photographer in Iowa before coming to Craig, Colorado in 1896 to assist photographer Aaron A. Brown.  Ralston worked briefly in Boise, Idaho, before settling in Seattle, Washington for the majority of his career.  Between 1904 and 1906, Ralston worked in the studio of Edward S. Curtis, the well-known photographer of Native Americans.  Ralston was an active member of the Photographers’ Association of the Pacific Northwest.  Ralston worked in Seattle until the mid-1940s when he retired from photography.  John Ernest Ralston died on August 7, 1949 in Seattle and was buried in the city’s Forest Lawn Cemetery.

1896-1904                                                                                                               Dan Diamond moved to Craig, Colorado in 1896, where his mother and two brothers resided.  Craig operated a gallery from his home and also set up a photo car for his travels, working in Craig and Steamboat.


Herbert Lincoln States was born on February 16, 1869 in Michigan to George William States and Harriet T. Lincoln States.  In the 1880s, the family moved to Delta, Colorado.  H. L. States married Hattie Almira Castle on November 26, 1887.  By 1894, States operated a photography studio from a tent in Delta.  He accepted grain, butter and eggs for payment.  In October 1895, Frank L. Bishop took over gallery duties.  In 1897, H. L. States settled in New Castle, Colorado.  Later that year, he photographed the aftermath of Colorado’s worst railroad wreck to date, when a Rio Grande passenger train crashed head-on with a special Colorado Midland stock train.  He spent summers at Steamboat Springs, Colorado, before moving there year-round in 1899.

By 1901, States had left Colorado.  He pursued photography in Provo, Utah, Council, Idaho, Cambridge, Idaho, and Toledo, Oregon.  Herbert L. States died on April 24, 1926 in Cambridge, Idaho.

Herbert Lincoln States, photographer. Steamboat Springs, circa 1899. Museum of Northwest Colorado, 2014.098.009.


Thomas E. Barnhouse (1831-1911), a prolific photographer based in Grand Junction, Colorado set up his tent gallery in Steamboat in August 1899.  Barnhouse, a Civil War veteran, had a long career as a photographer.  His life will be profiled in a future blog post.


Group of women
Ed Rodstrom, photographer. Group of women including Cassie Finley (bottom left corner) and Cullie Melugin (bottom right corner) Museum of Northwest Colorado, 2016.091.002.

Carl Edward “Ed” Rodstrom was born on March 3, 1875 in Hobart, Indiana to Swedish immigrants Ingel Rådström and Anna Christine Davidson Rådström.  Around 1880, the family moved to a farm in Prairie, Nebraska.

Ed Rodstrom learned photography in Holdrege, Nebraska.  He would pursue a life-long career in photography traveling through Nebraska, northern Colorado, and Kansas, before settling in Dallas, Texas.  Rodstrom died on February 9, 1970 in Dallas.  His older sister Lydia ran a photo studio in Omaha, Nebraska for many years.


Thank you to Daniel Davidson, Director, Museum of Northwest Colorado, for extensive research assistance and Naylen Wheat, Office Manager/Registrar, for providing the scans,