J. H. Wilson

1848                Room at Duncan’s New Block, Upstairs, Joliet, Illinois.

J. H. Wilson was recorded in one announcement on July 25, 1848 in the Juliet Signal (Joliet, Illinois).  Daguerreotype Miniatures.—J. H. Wilson, Daguerreotypist, whose room is in Duncan’s new block, up-stairs, is prepared to take likenesses in a superior style.  We have examined some specimens of his work, and do not hesitate to pronounce them the most natural and beautiful of any we have seen, that have been taken in this place heretofore.—Those wishing their likenesses taken must call soon, as he will remain but a few days longer.

J. H. Wilson is not recorded in other photographic directories.

B. S. Wilson

1855-1857       Elmendorf Building, opposite the American Hotel, Penn Yan, New York.

B. S. Wilson was recorded in two announcements, two advertisements and mentioned in a third advertisement in the Penn Yan Democrat (Penn-Yan, New York) and one advertisement in the  Yates County Chronicle (Penn Yan, New York).  The first announcement appeared on September 26, 1855 in the Penn Yan Democrat (Penn-Yan, New York).  Yates County Fair.  The annual Fair and Cattle Show of the Yates County Agricultural Society came off per announcement, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday last….S. B. Wilson, Daguerrean Artist, exhibited several beautiful specimens of his skill in the line of Ambrotypes, Photographs, &c.

The second announcement appeared on October 17, 1855.  But few are probably aware of the rapid progress that has been made in bringing the art of Daguerreotyping to perfection.  The latest, and we may say the greatest improvement that has yet been made in the art, is that of taking Ambrotypes and Photographs on glass.  The Ambrotypes are pictures taken on the back of plate glass, forming a picture that is seen in any light, and its natural position, not reversed as in Daguerreotypes.  The picture is covered with a gum that hardens and forms a secure protection from dampness or dust.  Indeed the picture can be destroyed only by breaking the glass.  It is seen through the glass, and is equally clear and distinct seen at any angle.  They are afforded at about the same rates as Daguerreotypes.

The Photographs are also taken on glass, and then by chemical process, the impression is transferred on to paper, presenting an appearance equal to the finest steel engraving, and any number of impressions can be taken from the same plate.  Bring on light paper you are enabled to present your distant friends with a beautiful and accurate picture of yourself, and that at a trifling expense.

Mr. Wilson, successor to Mr. Flower, at his rooms, opposite the Yates County Bank, is now prepared to furnish all who wish with either Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, or Photographs in the highest style of the art.

The first advertisement ran from October 31, 1855 to February 25, 1857.  Photographic And Daguerrean Gallery.  B. S. Wilson would inform the citizens of Penn Yan and surrounding country that he has now introduced the new and wonderful art of taking Likenesses on Paper and Glass.

While he is prepared to take these new pictures in the best of style, his facilities for producing Daguerreotypes are not inferior, but superior to what they have ever been, and all wishing the regular Daguerreotype, can rely on getting good pictures as heretofore.  The rooms are open and free at all hours, and all are invited to call and examine specimens.    B. S. Wilson.

Successor to S. J. Fowler, nearly opposite the Yates Co. Bank, Penn. Yan.  Instructions carefully given in the art, and apparatus furnished cheap.  Penn Yan, Oct. 31, 1855.

The third advertisement ran from February 21, 1856 to March 5, 1857 in  the Yates County Chronicle (Penn Yan, New York).  Pictures Taken On Paper And Glass.  The undersigned after being to considerable expense in [ ? ] and preparing to take pictures as above, is now enabled to put up pictures with Neatness And Dispatch.

And now while I return my sincere thanks and gratitude to the citizens of Penn Yan and vicinity, for the liberal patronage that they have given me, I would say to them that I have a new process for Glass pictures, that surpasses anything before [ ? ].  The advantages in taking in this style of picture is 1st.  You do not sit more than [ ? ].  2d.  It does not reverse but makes a positive Picture.  3d.  It is secured from dampness.  These pictures are decided by the most competent Judges, to be [as] much superior to the Plate Picture, as a Steel Engraving is to a Wood Cut Picture.

My pictures shall be as Cheap as the Cheapest; please give me a call, and you shall be [ ? ] or no charge.

Rooms in Elmendorf building, opposite the Yates Co. Bank, formerly occupied by S. J. Fowler.  B. S. Wilson.

N. B.  Pictures taken on plate as before, if desired.  A good assortment of Locket, Pins, and a variety of Cases, always on hand, all of the latest style.

Daguerreotype [ ? ] for sale to Artists and sent to all parts by Express if desired.

The fourth advertisement appeared in the Penn Yan Democrat (Penn-Yan, New York) on April 1, 1857.  Daguerreotypes.—Mrs. Lansing has taken the rooms formerly occupied by S. B. Wilson, opposite the American, where she will be pleased to furnish such as may wish with a superior quality of Ambrotypes, Daguerreotypes, &c.  We have been shown several specimens of her work, and they are certainly very fine.

B. S. or S. B. Wilson is not recorded in other photographic directories.

A. Wilson

1852-1853       Lafayette Street, over Dr. Buffington’s Office, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

A. Wilson was recorded in two announcements and two advertisements in The Daily Comet (Baton Rouge, Louisiana).  The first announcement appeared on November 14, 1852.  It will be seen that Wilson has reopened his Daguerreotype saloon on Lafayette street.  He is well fitted up and takes excellent pictures.

The first advertisement ran from November 14, 1852 to September 30, 1853. 1852 November 14.  The Daily Comet (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) November 14, 1852.  Daguerreotype Miniatures.  I have just returned from the west—and I am prepared for business.  Now whilst the opportunity offers, is the time to secure a picture.

Obtain the shadow’ ere the substance fades.

When our friends, relatives and sweethearts are with us, it would seem useless to have a likeness of them, but the future may separate us; Ay, death may take them away forever, and then a correct and life-like resemblance of them, is invaluable.

I have all the late styles of cases, Gold Enameled, Papier Maché, Pearls, &c. Gold Lockets, Pins and Bracelets.

Pictures taken at $2. Rooms on Lafayette street—over Dr. Buffington’s office, where the public is invited to call and examine specimens.  A. Wilson.   Nov. 14.

The second advertisement ran from January 16 to July 14, 1853. 

Daguerreotypes.  Be Taken

And for your likeness sit,

I know it’s time enough my dear,

And you have promised it;

But time is on the wing my love,

As Poets oft has sung,

And you’ll be fading soon my dear,

So get it while you’re young.

Wilson’s Office Lafayette Street—Pictures taken in Cloudy weather as well as Sunny weather.

The second announcement appeared on November 10, 1853.  Mr. A. Wilson has returned and re-opened his Daguerreotype in Lafayette street.  Mr. W, is by all odds the best Daguerrean artist we have had in this city, and doubt much if he has his superior in the State.  His saloon is in the second story of the late residence of Judge Chas. Tessier, where he may be found daily, during business hours.

A. Wilson is not recorded in other photographic directories.  It appears according to the first announcement that Wilson has visited Baton Rouge, Louisiana prior to November 1852.  It is unknow where else he may have visited or where his gallery is located.

Wilson & Steele (Steel)

1857                Rooms at Hebert’s Hall, Plaquemine, Louisiana.

Wilson & Steele (Steel) (Charles Wilson) were recorded in five announcements and two advertisements in the  Southern Sentinel (Plaquemine, Louisiana).  The first announcement appeared on January 10, 1857.  Ambrotyping.  See the card of Messrs. Wilson & Steele, who have just arrived amongst us with a large and complete stock of materials, for practicing their art to the fullest extent.  Their pictures speak for themselves, making any remarks from us almost superfluous. Our citizens would be well pleased by visiting their rooms at Hebert’s Hall.

The first advertisement ran from January 10 to 24, 1857.  A Card.  The undersigned respectfully informs the citizens of Bayou Plaquemine and vicinity that they have taken rooms at Hebert’s Hall, for the purpose of taking Ambrotype pictures.  They respectfully invite ladies and gentlemen to call and examine their specimens.  To those wishing pictures, they would say that they need not fear getting any inferior pictures palmed off on them, (a too common practice by men calling themselves artists, who, in reality, neither know or care anything about the art or its progress, further than to suit their own selfish purposes.)  Persons having pictures taken in the Eastern States or Europe are respectfully requested to produce them in our rooms for comparison.  We are prepared to challenge (superior pictures,) competition with any artist on either continent, as one of the party has experimented in the art from its earliest infancy, having operated with great success in the principal cities in Europe and America.  The patronage of those wishing Superior pictures is most respectfully solicited.  Call without delay as our stay is limited.  Wilson & Steele. 

The second announcement appeared on January 17, 1857.  Ambrotypes.  Our readers are referred to the Card of Prof. Wilson, in our advertising columns. It will be seen that he promises a great deal, but we are prepared to endorse it all, and will guarantee perfect satisfaction to the most fastidious.

We have examined his specimens, and can truly say that we have never yet seen any thing to equal, much less excel them.  They are beyond description, and must be seen to be fully appreciated.

Prof. Wilson is justly celebrated in his Art—has given universal satisfaction wherever he has been—and, as he will remain here but a few weeks, we bespeak for him the liberal patronage of our citizens, so eminently due to his merits.

Those who have old Daguerreotype pictures, had better destroy them at once, and get Ambrotypes, if they wish to “preserve the shadow ere the substance fade.”  Go and examine for yourselves.—Little Rock Gazette and Democrat.

We heartily endorse the above.  The Ambrotypes of Messrs. Wilson & Steele are unsurpassed in point of beauty and correctness of delineation.  Our citizens could not fail to spend a half hour delightfully at their rooms at Hebert’s Hall, admiring their numerous specimens; and once witnessing the faithful resemblance impressed upon the glass, we feel quite sure they would also feel inclined, as did their acquaintance, to transmit their features to posterity, for the benefit of the loved ones left behind, when the substance has faded away.  The above gentlemen will remain here but a short time, and the present opportunity should not be neglected.

The third announcement appeared on January 24, 1857.  The Ambrotype Art.  A writer in the Journal of Commerce gives some interesting facts concerning the art of photography, from which it appears that but a short time ago there were one hundred and fifty daguerreotype rooms in New York city, employing on an average five persons; but now, by the introduction of new processes not easily attainable, many of the old operators are irretrievable ruined.  The finer texture and subdued coloring of the plate-glass ambrotype led to the relinquishment of the metallic plate, so that the unnatural glare of the latter was avoided, the effect produced being more like that of a fine engraving; nor is the image reversed, as in the daguerreotype.  Another advantage is that the impression is taken instantaneously, so that the features are not disturbed by fatigue or impatience.  The photograph is another process much in use, which approaches more to the old style of miniature painting, the pencil being employed to a considerable extent, though the lineament and general expression an conveyed by optical apparatus, as in the ambrotype, except that paper is substituted for plate glass.

The above beautiful art of Ambrotyping is now being practiced in our town, in the highest grade of its perfection, by Messrs. Wilson & Steele.  Their stay among us cannot be of much longer duration, we learn, and those who have not yet caused their features to be made imperishable, by sitting a few seconds before the camera of these gentlemen, should not lose the opportunity; for it may be years before another chance like this occurs for procuring portraits of such faithfulness and durability, and finished with such skill and beauty by the artist’s brush.

The fourth announcement appeared on January 31, 1857.  Read the card of Wilson & Steel, Ambrotypists; their stay in Plaquemine is limited to but a few days longer.  Lose not this, probably, the last opportunity that will occur for a long time.

The second advertisement ran from January 31 to February 14, 1857.  A Card.  For the liberal patronage extended to us—by the flattering manner in which our Pictures have been received in Plaquemine—we return our sincere acknowledgments, and would say, that whatever good reputation we may have had, has been the result of a constant endeavor to please our patrons, and the persevering study of our art for years.  With our extensive facilities and long experience in the business, we are prepared to warrant satisfaction.

Our stay will be limited to a few days longer, during which time we invite all who have not had Portraits taken by our never-fading Ambrotypic process, to call and procure at once so valuable a memento, upon which time can effect no change; and which, for beauty, correctness of delineation, and perfectibility in coloring, we challenge the world to produce superior pictures! Wilson & Steel.

The fifth announcement appeared on February 7, 1857.  The Ambrotype Room of Messrs. Wilson & Steel seems to have been the most popular and fashionable resort for the past week, and to all appearances, likely to continue so for some time.  Their portraits appear to give universal satisfaction.  The gentlemen artists are very courteous and accommodating, and allow none to leave who extend their patronage without being wholly and entirely satisfied with their work.  Their stay here cannot extend to but a few days more, from what we understand, and we again advise procrastinators to hold back no longer.

Wilson & Steele (Steel) are not recorded in other photographic directories.  Charles Wilson is recorded in 1856 in Shreveport, Louisiana & Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1857 in Plaquemine, Louisiana & Tete, Louisiana and in 1858 in  Shreveport, Louisiana.

Wilson & Coulter

1859               Sandusky Street, Evans’ Brick Building, Delaware, Ohio.

Wilson & Coulter were recorded in two advertisements and one announcement in the Delaware Gazette (Delaware, Ohio).  The first advertisement ran from March 25 to October 21, 1859. Wilson & Coulter’s Ambrotype & Photograph Gallery.  Persons wishing a fine and life-like Picture should call at Wilson & Coulter’s.  Their pictures, for fineness and durability, are unsurpassed in the State.  They make the drapery to original color, thus giving to the picture a beautiful life-like appearance.  Pictures taken as cheap at this gallery as at any other well regulated gallery in the State.  They warrant their pictures not to fade, as their plan for putting them up is the best in the State.  All are invited to call and examine their fine collection of specimens.

Rooms in Evans’ Brick Building, Sandusky street, west side, between the Sash Factory and Shoub House. Pictures taken as well in cloudy weather as in clear.—Instruction given in the art.  March 18, 1859.

The first announcement appeared on June 17, 1859.  We are under Obligations to Messrs. Wilson & Coulter for a photograph of Rev. Dr. Thomson.  It is a beautifully executed picture and a most truthful and life-like likeness.—These gentlemen (whose advertisement will be found in another column) have recently added to their facilities for operating, and are prepared to execute orders in their line in the most satisfactory manner, both as regards style of work and prices.

The second advertisement ran from October 28 to December 2, 1859.  Wilson & Coulter Will make you a better Picture for 50 cents than any Premium Picture or no charge will be made.  Call and examine specimens.  Rooms in Evan’s Brick Building, Main street; Sign of American Flag.                                              

Wilson & Coulter are not recorded as being active in Ohio as partners.  After looking through Ohio Photographers 1839-1900 it is possible Wilson is R. T. Wilson who was active in Delaware, Ohio from 1859-1863.  Only one Coulter is recorded C. D. (Aka C. C.) who is recorded in Kalida, Ohio in 1859-1860.  Kalida is between 90 and 100 miles away (using modern roads).  It is unknown if the information collected is from a 1859/1860 city directory or if it is from two separate directories.

A. P. Willoughby

1856                Address Unknown, Findlay, Ohio.

A. P. Willoughby appeared in one announcement in The Daily Union (Washington, D. C.) on March 15, 1856.  We understand that Mr. A. P. Willoughby, of Findlay, Hancock county, Ohio, will shortly take out a patent for an Improved mode of dressing daguerreotypes.  He claims as his invention the art of coloring Ambrotypes to life by the application of oil colors, thereby giving the expression and color of the eyes, hair, whiskers, and drapery.  Any color can be produced by this invention that is required to give the picture a life-like appearance. These daguerreotypes are taken at Plumbe’s daguerrean gallery.

A. P. Willoughby is not recorded in other photographic directories.

William Williams

1859                Address Unknown, New York, New York.

William Williams appeared on July 9, 1859 in one announcement in The New York Herald  New York, New York).  Court of General Sessions, Before Judge Russell…  A Well Known Youthful Burglar Sent To The State Prison.  William Williams, a young man nineteen years old, against whom were three indictments, pleaded guilty to burglary in the third degree, and was sent to the State Prison for three years.  He said he was an ambrotype artist by profession. The City Judge was informed that he was a notorious burglar, although scarcely twenty years of age.

William Williams is not recorded in other photographic directories.  It is unknow if he was in fact an ambrotypist, if he had a studio under his name or who he might have worked for in NYC or elsewhere.   

Theodore S. Williams

1850                Address Unknown, Lynn, Massachusetts.

1854-1858       49 Union Street, Lynn, Massachusetts.[1]

Theodore S. Williams was recorded in one advertisement in the Salem Register (Salem, Massachusetts) and two broadsides.  The advertisement appeared on September 30, 1850.  List of Premiums & Gratuities.  Awarded by the Essex County Agricultural Society, September 26th, 1850. …Fancy Articles [The following Report of the Chairman of the Committee, Fitch Poole, Esq., of Danvers, contains the award of premiums under this head.]…

Daguerreotype Portraits and specimens of Penmanship by T. S. Williams, of Lynn.  These were quite creditable to the artist.  The wonderful discovery of this art of sun painting may yet enlarge the boundaries of Science to an extent once scarcely imagined.  Already the stars have been Daguerreotyped and fixed on the silver plate of the artist.  Why then may not portions of the moon be so represented as to exhibit a part of her disk with that perfection which belongs to this art and then the plate be examined by a powerful microscope which shall let us into the hidden secrets of our Satellite.  We make this suggestion to Mr. Williams with the hope that he will improve the hint, and some fine day—or night, introduce the committee to that noted individual, the “Man in the Moon.”

The firstBroadside is from the Lynn Historical Society Collection.  Patent Mezzotypes and Crystalotypes.  T. S. Williams Beg leave to return his thanks to the Ladies and Gentlemen of Lynn for their liberal share of patronage, and to make his yearly report.  For the year ending Sept. 1st, he has taken over two thousand likenesses, making an increase over the year before of eight hundred.  Now this fact shows at once that the people of Lynn appreciate true merit, and also shows that No. 49 Union Street is the place to get a good Daguerreotype at a reasonable price.

The proprietor intends to give his patrons the benefit of every improvement in the art, therefore he has purchased the Patent Right Whipple, Cutting & Co., of Boston to make Pictures on Glass and Paper.

The Mezzotype is taken on glass, put up and protected by a cement that is neither affected by heat, cold, nor dampness, and consequently will not fade or sport.  They are pronounced by good judges to be superior to Daguerreotypes.

Crystalotypes.  The likeness is first taken on glass, then transferred to paper by the agency of light, in unlimited numbers, as from a copper plate; being equal in beauty to the finest engraving.  If a Teacher or Clergyman wishes to give each one of his pupils or church members a likeness of himself, he can obtain any number of positives of paper by only one sitting once for a negative on glass, and at a cheap rate of about 25 cents apiece by the hundred, much larger, better, and more durable than any cheap Daguerreotypes.

Mr. W. would respectfully invite all teachers and Clergymen in Lynn, to call at his rooms and take a sitting, and for the trouble of so doing each one will be presented with a large sized Photograph of themselves.  An early call is solicited.

A quick process for taking Children, which seldom fails; the forenoon is the best time.  Please call and see specimens.

Daguerreotypes taken in the best style from $1 to $20 and warranted.  Cheap pictures for 50 cents in a good Case.

T. S. Williams, Proprietor.

C. G. Hill, Assistant Operator.

No. 49 Union Street, opposite Central Depot.

The secondBroadside is from the Harvey Zucker’s Collection.  Williams’ Sunbeam Gallery!!  No. 49 Union St., 49,—Lynn.

Immortal sun, great source of light,

Thou that maketh all things bright,

By thy aid and mysterious power,

nature smiles after a genial shower.

By thy aid we are able to trace

The features of the human face,

And upon the polished plate impress

Face and form, with lifelike truthfulness.

Surprising art! by which we lend

our countenance to an absent friend,

Or at the close of life’s eventful career,

Leave a memento for those we hold dear.

Next Thursday will be thanksgiving day,

Some meet for sport, others to pray;

But Williams will his favorite art pursue,

To save the shadows of the noble crew.

For a Holiday Gift of all the rest,

A type of yourself is surely the best,

Then hie for Union Street,—No. Forty-nine,

And get your Picture in a Case or Locket fine.

I have made arrangements with Mr. Hill—a first rate Artist—to assist me during the winter, therefore I shall be prepared to take any number of Pictures at short notice, from the smallest to the largest.  My apparatus is considered the most complete in this country, having a Quick Camera, made expressly for taking Children, by which we can get a perfect likeness in Two Seconds of time; therefore persons wishing for a Good Likeness, at a low price, are invited to call before going else where.

Pictures warranted perfect, or no charge will be made.

Theodore S. Williams is recorded in other photographic directories as being active in Lynn, Massachusetts from 1854 to 1858.


[1] A Directory Of Massachusetts Photographers 1839-1900.

T. & J. B. Williams

1857                At the Wharf, Sheffield, Ohio.

T. & J. B. Williams were recorded in one advertisement that ran from January 6 to February  24, 1857 in the Meigs County Telegraph (Pomeroy, Ohio).  Ambrotypes And Photographs.  The undersigned takes pleasure to announce to the citizens of Sheffield and vicinity, that their well known Boat, Floating Gallery, is now lying at Sheffield Landing, and will remain there during the winter.  Persons wishing to obtain correct and life like portraits of themselves and families, will give us a call, and we will try to please all.

Our Boat is well got up and well furnished, and has every advantage, and is not inferior to any of the first class Galleries.  T. & J. B. Williams.  Dec. 22.

T. & J. B. Williams are not recorded in other photographic directories.

S. Williams

1852-1853       Rooms where once stood the Vermont House, Brattleboro, Vermont.

S. Williams was recorded in one advertisement that ran from January 26 to July 6, 1853 in the Windham County Democrat (Brattleboro, Vermont).  Daguerreotypes.  The public are respectfully requested to call at the Worcester Daguerrean Gallery (where once stood the Vermont House) and examine specimens executed in the highest perfection of the art.—In making deep-toned, fine finished and life-like pictures, the subscriber challenges competition—Types taken as well in cloudy as in clear weather.  Perfect satisfaction guaranteed or no charge made.  Please call—N. B.  Instructions given in the art if requested.  Terms reasonable.  S. Williams.  Dec. 21.

S. Williams is not recorded in other photographic directories as being active in Brattleboro, Vermont.  It is possible, but unknown, that this is Simeon Williams who was active in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1849.