Photographers and Their Works: Charlotte 1855 - 1925

In 1867, there were two photographers working in Charlotte. The number increased to twenty by 1930. (Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory, 1867-1868, p 73 and Charlotte, North Carolina City and Suburban Directory, 1930, pp. 1018-1019.)

Photography came into its own in the mid-nineteenth century throughout the United States. (Care and Identification of 19th-Century Photographic Prints by James M. Reilly, Kodak Publication No. G-2S, 1986, pp. 1-5.) With the coming of the Civil War, a memento such as a tintype or a daguerreotype were treasured by soldiers and their families, who were parted for months and even years at a time. This was also true of Charlotteans.


Photographer: John Broadaway
Photographer
John Broadaway

John S. Broadaway was an itinerant photographer who came to Charlotte in 1865. His temporary studio was above the Charlotte Bank.

John Broadaway
Baumgarten vs. Broadaway

In 1872, Baumgarten and Broadaway became entangled in a lawsuit that dragged on for a number of years.

John Broadaway
Photographer: Henry Baumgarten
Photographer
Henry Baumgarten (1839 - 1918)
  • Born in Hanover, Germany on March 12, 1839. 
  • Immigrated to Baltimore Maryland with father and six siblings. 
  • Moved to Charlotte in 1867.
Henry Baumgarten
Henry Baumgarten (1839 - 1918)

Carte de viste of unknown man by Henry Baumgarten. From the Mary Brevard Alexander Howell Papers

Henry Baumgarten
Photographer: James Van Ness & Son
Photographer
James H. Van Ness (1841-1925)

Baumgarten’s sole competitor for a number of years was James H. Van Ness. He was born in Baltimore, Maryland on March 17, 1841.

James Van Ness & Son
Photographer: Henry Hayden
Photographer
Henry Hayden, Sr. (1872-1934)

Henry Hayden, Sr. (1872-1934) was a contemporary of Baumgarten and Van Ness and was Charlotte’s first known black photographer.

Henry Hayden
Henry Hayden: Afro-American Album Photograph Collection

 
From the Charlotte Afro-American Album Photograph Collection

Henry Hayden
Photographer: William M. Morse
Photographer
William Morse (1868 - 1932)

Charlotte native William Morse was born on September 27, 1868. He was the son of Richard Morse who owned a marble yard at 210 South Tryon Street.

William M. Morse
Interior view of the 1903 Carnegie Library

 
Interior view of the 1903 Carnegie Library at 310 North Tryon Street by Morse.
Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Archives

William M. Morse
Reading room of the 1903 Charlotte Carnegie Library

 
Reading room of the 1903 Charlotte Carnegie Library by Morse.
Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County Archives
 

William M. Morse
Photographer: John B. Readman
Photographer
John B. Readman (1851 - 1903)

Readman first appears in the Charlotte directory around 1899. (Maloney’s Charlotte City Directory, 1899-1900, p.

John B. Readman
Photographer: O.J. & Sallie Rader & Rembrandt Studios
Photographer
O. J. (1869 - 1935) and Sallie Rader (1872 - 1949) and the Rembrandt Studio

By 1903, the Charlotte City directory lists six photographers, including Otis Johnson Rader, who was professionally known as O. J.

O.J. & Sallie Rader & Rembrandt Studios
Rembrandt Studio

In 1913, the couple renamed their business Rembrandt Studio, which was the first Charlotte business to display electrical signs. (The Charlotte Observer, 7 August 1948, p.

O.J. & Sallie Rader & Rembrandt Studios
Works by O. J. and Sallie Rader

Unknown woman in a turn of the century gown with feathered headdress. From the Mary Brevard Alexander Howell Papers.

O.J. & Sallie Rader & Rembrandt Studios
The Rural Hill Plantation

Joe Davidson (left) and Graham Abernathy (right) are dressed in costumes for a 1901 jousting tournament. This was a popular event at The Rural Hill Plantation for a number of years.

O.J. & Sallie Rader & Rembrandt Studios
Mary Brevard Alexander

Stereograph by the Raders of Mary Brevard Alexander taken between 1902 and 1903. Notice the playful movement of her foot.

O.J. & Sallie Rader & Rembrandt Studios
Photographer: William Stertzbach
Photographer
Stertzbach Studio

Another Charlotte photography mystery lies in the identity of the owner of the Stertzbach Studio on West Fifth Street. There is no mention of this person in any Charlotte City directory.

William Stertzbach
Photographer: Leon Ernest Seay & Charles W. Eutsler
Photographer
Leon Ernest Seay & Charles W. Eutsler

Leon Ernest Seay was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1862. He began work as a photographer sometime in the 1890s. Seay came to Charlotte in 1906 and formed a partnership with Charles W. Eutsler.

Leon Ernest Seay & Charles W. Eutsler
Photographer: Alton Franklin
Photographer
, Alton Franklin

Embossed backing on a photograph by Franklin indicates the high quality of the materials he used.
From the Mary Brevard Alexander Howell Papers

Alton Franklin
Alton Waller Franklin (1879 - ?)

These three lovely portraits show the romantic style of Alton Waller Franklin, who was born around 1879 in Petersburg, Virginia. He worked as a photographer from 1905 to sometime in the 1920s.

Alton Franklin
Portrait of Violet Alexander in sepia tone by Franklin

From 1923 to 1924, Franklin ran the Iris Studio at 12 ½ South Tryon Street. (Miller’s Charlotte, North Carolina City Directory, 1923-1924, p.

Alton Franklin
Photographer: Jonathan C. Cushman
Photographer
Jonathan C. Cushman's Photo Shop

Jonathan C. Cushman first appears in the Charlotte City Directory in 1912. He and Harvey W. South ran the Photo Shop on 3 West 5th Street until 1920.

Jonathan C. Cushman
Photographer: W.T. Lindsay
Photographer
CMStory: Charlotte Photographers and their Works

A 1930 photograph of William Thomas Lindsay by his father, William T. Lindsay.Image courtesy of Kelly Paige

W.T. Lindsay
William Thomas Lindsay (1860 - 1932)

Morse’s partner, William Thomas Lindsay deserves some attention because so little is known about him.

W.T. Lindsay
Photographer: J.W. & Mary Moon
Photographer
, We Cover Dixie Like the Sunshine

We Cover Dixie Like the Sunshine"
The Moon’s slogan as it appeared on the back of their photographs

J.W. & Mary Moon
John William and Mary Moon at Camp Greene

Thirty-six photographers from across the country received special permission from the United States Army to photograph Camp Greene, a World War I military training base in Charlotte.

J.W. & Mary Moon
Camp Greene Hospital by the Moons, 1918

In September of 1917, the Moons received permission to photograph individuals or groups.

J.W. & Mary Moon
Camp Greene Base Hospital

Mecklenburg Historical Photograph Collection

J.W. & Mary Moon
The Art of the Photograph

Moon and his wife also photographed visiting, foreign troops who came to Charlotte like the French Blue Devils posing with Red Cross Nurses in this 1918 panorama.

J.W. & Mary Moon
Workers from the Park Cramer Company

The 1920 census clearly identifies both Moons as photographers. (Fourteenth Census, 1920 Mecklenburg County, Population Schedule, Charlotte, North Carolina, ED 149, p.

J.W. & Mary Moon
Young men with their newly built birdhouses

The Moons took this photograph of young men with their newly built birdhouses around 1925.
 Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Archives

J.W. & Mary Moon
John and Mary Moon

John William Moon (1871-1931) was born in Freetown, Courtland County, New York. He was the son of Nelson Moon and Fannie Rejan. (Mecklenburg County, Vital Statistics, Death Records, Book 38, p.

J.W. & Mary Moon
Photographer: Edward F. Gallagher
Photographer
, Edward F. Gallagher (1888 - 1943)

Edward F. Gallagher (1888-1943) first appears in the Charlotte City directory in 1909. (Walsh’s Charlotte City Directory, 1909, p.

Edward F. Gallagher
Photographer: Leonard C. Cooke
Photographer
Leonard C. Cooke (1877 - 1950)

Leonard C. Cooke was born in Massachusetts. He first appeared in Charlotte in 1915.

Leonard C. Cooke
Photographer: Henry G. Oliver
Photographer
Henry G. Oliver

Henry G. Oliver ran Peoples Photo Shop at 408 South Tryon Street.

Henry G. Oliver
Photographer: James Hemphill
Photographer
James E. Hemphill (1886-1959)

James E. Hemphill worked in Charlotte from 1917 to 1959. Besides Henry Hayden, he is the only known black photographer in Charlotte prior to 1925.

James Hemphill