John Broadaway

John S. Broadaway was an itinerant photographer who came to Charlotte in 1865. His temporary studio was above the Charlotte Bank. An advertisement from The Western Democrat indicates that his “traveling” studio “Gem Photograph” would be in town for a few days. Broadaway offered “fereotypes, ambrotypes and all kinds of collodion pictures in carte de viste, lockets, pins, rings, cases and made in the best style of the art.” Prices ranged from one dollar and upwards. (The Western Democrat, 1 August 1865, p. 3.)
Apparently Broadaway believed that he could open a profitable studio in Charlotte because two years later he is listed as an ambrotypist in Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory (1867-1868) along with Henry Baumgarten. (p. 73) By 1869, their job title changed, and the Branson’s Directory lists both men as “photographers.” (Branson’s North Carolina Business Directory for 1869, p. 98.) Although some sources claim that Baumgarten was the first commercial photographer in Charlotte, no primary documentation can be found that verifies this assertion. (The Jews of Charlotte by Morris Speizman, McNally and Loftin, Publishers, 1978, p. 7.)
There are no known copies of Broadaway’s work in the Carolina Room collection but there are fine examples of Baumgarten’s work. Nevertheless a discussion of the two is necessary because during the early part of their careers, their paths intertwined and would eventually cause one of them to leave Charlotte. It also offers some insight into the photography business in Charlotte following the Civil War.