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Charlotte Photographers & Their Works (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.

Title Description
John S. Broadaway (1838 - 1891)

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 “...

Henry Baumgarten (1839 -1918)

Henry Baumgarten was born on March 12, 1839 in what is now the province of Hanover, Germany. Baumgarten’s father Selig, mother Winzee [sic] and their seven children immigrated to the United States, settling in Baltimore, Maryland in 1852. Selig Baumgarten was an engraver, and Henry served an...

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. Educated at a private school, Waugh and Majors, Van Ness graduated in 1858, and began working at his father’s grocery store until 1862. At that time, Van Ness joined...

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. The son of David and Mary Hayden, he grew up in Charlotte and opened a studio in 1897 at 303 South Brevard Street. This photograph and the one that follows cannot be...

John B. Readman (1851 - 1903)

Readman first appears in the Charlotte directory around 1899. ( 1) Born in New York in April of 1851, his father was from England and his mother was a New Yorker.  Readman dabbled in the theatrical business and worked in newspapers in California. He arrived in Charlotte in 1896. (2) Readman’s...

John Cleveland Cushman (1882-1959)

John or 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.  Cushman was originally from New York and was born on November 6, 1882. In 1920, Cushman sold his studio to another 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. Rader (1869-1935) and his wife Sarah "Sallie", Charlotte’s first professional woman photographer. (1)  A native of Caldwell County, North Carolina, Otis was the son...

Leon Ernest Seay (1863-1930)

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. Together they ran a studio from Eutsler’s home at 21 North Tryon Street until 1910. (1) In 1907, Seay...

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. Over the years, William Morse operated his studio with two partners, W. Carson Davis (1909-1910) and William Thomas Lindsay in 1918. (1)  By 1920,...

William Thomas Lindsay (1860 - 1932)

Morse’s partner, William Thomas Lindsay was born in Texas in 1860, and depending on which document you go by, he was either born in Fort Worth or Waco, Texas. (1) The spelling of his surname is quite different on these official documents. According to his granddaughter, the correct spelling is...

Alton Wells Franklin (1878 - 1943?)

Alton Wells Franklin was born in Chesterfield, Virginia in 1878.  While living in Petersburg, Virginia, he met and married his first wife, Claudia B. Willis. Around 1908, Franklin became an itinerant partner with a Mr. Hicks, who is listed in the 1909 Charlotte City directory, and their studio...

Henry G. Oliver

Henry G. Oliver ran Peoples Photo Shop at 408 South Tryon Street. Although his advertisement appeared regularly in the Caduceus, Oliver, himself, only appears in the 1921 Charlotte City Directory. (1) 

Advertisement from The Caduceus, December 14, 1918, p. 11.

To see more...

Edward F. Gallagher (1881-1943)

Edward F. Gallagher (1888-1943) first appears in the Charlotte City directory in 1909. (1) A native of Kentucky, he was a first generation Irish-American. By 1925, Gallagher became president of the Colonial Realty Company and left his studio in the hands of Verdie Perrell, who would eventually...

John William Moon (1871-1931) and Mary E. Hays Moon (1884-1952)

The Carolina Room probably has one of the largest collections of John and Mary E. Moon photographs. Known for their large panoramas, the couple captured family gatherings, company employee, local officials  and during World War I they were the only local photographers allowed to film life at...

Leonard C. Cooke (1877-1950)

Leonard Cooper Cooke was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1877. He first appeared in Charlotte in 1915. His studio was first located in his home at 324 North Tryon Street (1) Cooke later would open a studio at 1702 E. 4th Street, where he remained until his retirement in 1946. (2) He passed away...

Verdie Lee Perrell (1902 -1970)

Verdie Lee Perrell was born in Guilford County, North Carolina in 1902. He was affiliated with The Gallagher Commercial Studio from 1922-1925. From there he partnered with W. Marvin Dunaway and formed Dunaway and Perrell Detective Agency and Commpercial Photography in 1926. One year later,...

James Edward 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. He was born in Blackstock, South Carolina in 1886. Hemphill was the son of James and Frances Hemphill. (1) He firsts appears in the Charlotte City...

Historic Photographic Terminology

There are certain terms used throughout this website that refer to photographic formats no longer in use. Definitions of some of them are given below:

 

Albumen Paper was introduced in 1855. It was popular in the United...