Tag Archives: Julian Vannerson

Samuel A. Cohner

1857                380 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D. C.

Samuel A. Cohner was recorded in The Photographic and Fine Art Journal (New York, New York) on December 1857.  Washington Galleries.  Washington November 5, 1857.    Mr. James McCleese of Philadelphia, has opened his new gallery below the Kirkwood House.  His operator is Samuel A. Cohner, Esq., a practical chemist of some notoriety; he is very successful in all of his operations.  I was shown many of his beautiful plain photographs, that in tone and sharpness were exquisite.  But ‘tis just like Mr. McC., he never has any body about who does not fully understand his business.  His gallery is one of the finest in Washington, and the many water colored pictures that are adorning his walls, speak highly for the business.  His artists is a man of the first order and paints with unusual rapidity.  Mr. Vannerson is the agent of Mr. McClesse’s gallery, and for the length of time he has resided in Washington, no man is more capable of doing the agreeable in securing the public patronage.  This gallery will do a large share of the business the coming winter.  I fully predict a brilliant career for them, and well they deserve it.  By the time your next number appears, I hope to be able to speak more of this gallery.

Samuel A. Cohner is recorded in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry.

Nahum S. Bennett

There are a series of announcements and advertisements in the Washington, D. C. Newspapers that place Nahum S. Bennett in D. C. from 1850 to late 1852.  He was first recorded in The Daily Union (Washington, D. C.) in an announcement on August 21, 1850.

We are indebted to Mr. N. S. Bennett, of this city, for a daguerreotype likeness of Mr. Millard Fillmore, the present President of the United States, and lithographed by Mr. A. Newman.  It is an admirable likeness, and beautifully executed.  The President’s face is calculated to grace the art of the daguerreotypist or the painter; but those features are too apt to undergo a premature revolution from the wrinkles of care, which power, if faithfully administered, stamps with its seal upon the brow.…

In an announcement that was published in the Daily American Telegraph (Washington, D. C.) on July 13, 1852.  A Beautiful Daguerreotype.  The most perfect and admirable daguerreotype likeness we have ever seen has just been made of General Winfield Scott, by Mr. Bennett, of this city.  It is of very large size, and as clear and distinct as the reflection from a polished mirror.

We learn that the old General sat for this likeness with cheerfulness and patience, though under protest, declaring that so frequently has he of late been called upon to sit to artists of various kinds that he must henceforth refuse.  If others have succeeded as well as Mr. Bennett, we do not, indeed, think further efforts are needed.

Also on the 13th the following advertisement appears Rocky Mountain Indians!  Daguerreotype likenesses of the principal Chiefs of the Different Rocky Mountain tribes of Indians on exhibition at Bennett’s National Gallery, Penna. av., between 6th and 7th sts.

The last Daguerreotype, from life, of the departed patriot, Henry Clay, may be seen at Bennett’s National Gallery, Pa. av., between 6th and 7th sts.

In an article entitled The Pueblo Indians in the Daily American Telegraph (Washington, D. C.) on August 13, 1852 in part….Bennett, the skilful and popular daguerreotypist, took their portraits yesterday.  They were highly gratified, and, when told that each of them should have a copy of his own likeness, their pleasure knew no bounds.  The old man of the party (aged sixty-four) looked at his image for a while, and then said:  “When I am dead, and gone to heaven, I shall still live in this.”…

In an advertisement in the Daily American Telegraph.  (Washington, D. C.) on September 20, 1852 we learn that a portrait of General Scott is being painted by Stanley[1] which is possibly the best portrait of the General ever painted.  It is from a most beautiful daguerreotype by Bennett, of this city.

The last advertisement in the Daily American Telegraph (Washington, D. C.) appeared on October 26 and ran until November 18, 1852.  Crayon Daguerreotypes.  This style of Photographic Pictures was patented by John A. Whipple, of Boston, about six years since[2], and introduced into this city by Bennett in 1850, as many who have had them know.  Mr. B. continues to take them, in a superior manner, at his Gallery, Pennsylvania avenue, between 6 and 7th streets.

Published in an article about early Daguerreotypist in Washington, D. C. a letter from Samuel Rush Seibert dated October 19, 1896 is included.  It is in reply to Samuel C. Busey’s inquiry about early Daguerreotypist in Washington.  He states in part “Mr. N. S. Bennett had a Daguerreotype gallery a few doors west, on the same avenue, in a building which was on the east side and adjoining L. D. Gilman’s drug store. During the winter of 1851 and 1852 I negotiated with him for the purchase of the gallery for Marcus A. Root and John H. Clark, who immediately obtained possession and refitted the skylight and rooms, and there produced many fine specimens of the Daguerrean art.[3]

Based on the last advertisement of Bennett’s (October 26, 1852) and the first ad for Root in the Washington papers (December 19, 1852) the sale of the gallery had to be in October-November 1852.  Interesting John H. Clark[e] does not appear in any advertisements found in the D. C. newspapers.  According to Laurie Baty’s unpublished Directory of Washington, D. C. Photographers Clark was a pupil of Root’s and was the operator of his D. C. gallery.

Bennett was on board the steamer Empire which left Troy, NY around 7 P. M. on Friday July 15, 1853 heading to New York City, when it was in a collision with the sloop General Livingston about 2 A. M on the 16th on the west shore of the Hudson River, opposite Clinton Point, about two and a half miles above New-Hamburg, and six below Poughkeepsie.   A number of people were killed or injured in the accident.  The extent of Bennett injuries are unknown it is reported in the Daguerreian Journal that he did lose a valuable collection of daguerreotypes including a whole plate of the last portrait taken of Henry Clay, sixteen specimens of members of the U. S. Senate, Likenesses of the Rocky Mountain Indian Tribes, and a portrait of Billy Bow Legs and John Howard Payne[4], who was an American actor, poet, playwright, and author.

No other advertisements, notices or articles have been found in any of the Washington newspapers that I have access to, until the three advertisements in the Evening Star discussed previously about Smith Bennett who was award a silver medal at the 1855 Metropolitan Mechanic’s Institute while he was in Alexandria, Virginia.

Reported in the Evening Star (Washington, D. C.) on February 10, 1857.  That N. S. Bennett has sent an application to the Mechanics’ Fair to exhibit ambrotypes and daguerreotypes.  Then on March 31 (in the same paper) a list was published of the premiums awarded at The Fair…Class 30….

Brady, N. Y.—photographs—Silver Medal.                                                                                 Whitehurst, Washington—ambrotypes—Silver Medal.                                                               Whitehurst, Washington—daguerreotypes—First award of merit.                                         Langenheim, Philadelphia—stereoscopes—Silver Medal.                                                      Vannerson, Washington—photographs, ambrotypes and daguerreotypes—Bronze Medal.   Whitehurst, Washington—photographs—Diploma.                                                                       Cutting & Turner, Boston—ambrotypes—Diploma                                                                                  N. S. Bennett, Alexandria—daguerreotypes—Diploma.

Bennett is reported to have been active in 1860 in Alexandria at 69 King Street.  At this time I have been unable to find directories for Alexandria to verify activity dates and address for Bennett from 1855-1860+.

[1] Probably John Mix Stanley.

[2] Crayon Daguerreotypes were patented by Whipple on January 23, 1849, Patent No. 6,056.

[3] In an article published in the Records of the Columbia Historical Society, Washington, D. C.  Vol. 3, P. 81-95.  Entitled Early History of Daguerreotypy in the City of Washington, by Samuel C. Busey.

[4] Article in the New York Times, July 18, 1853, P. 1.

Julian Vannerson

I have recently rechecked The Photographic and Fine Art Journal, December 1857 issue for the source of Vannerson working for McClees in Washington D. C.   For background, I have added the first advertisement for James E. McClees in Washington, D. C. from the Evening Star (Washington, D. C.) October 23, 1857.

New Gallery of Art.  No. 308 Pennsylvania Avenue, (over Davis’s Piano Store.) The subscriber, induced by his success in Philadelphia, and the numerous orders he receives from this section of the country, has opened a first-class gallery in this city for the production of Ambrotypes, Daguerreotypes and Photographs, affording the citizens of Washington and the public an opportunity of procuring as fine a work as is made in New York or Paris.

Portraits in Oil, from Life or Daguerreotypes; and Photographs finished in India Ink, Crayon, and Natural Colors, by a distinguished Parisian artist, engaged expressly for this establishment.

Persons residing at a distance wishing to have Daguerreotypes enlarged and painted can send them (with description of person) and have them accurately copied, and returned by express.   All likenesses are guaranteed, and an examination of specimens is solicited.  J. E. McClees, Photographer, 308 Pennsylvania avenue, 626 Chestnut street, Philadelphia.

Entry from the Photographic and Fine Art Journal.  Washington Galleries.  Washington November 5, 1857.

Mr. James McCleese of Philadelphia, has opened his new gallery below the Kirkwood House.  His operator is Samuel A. Cohner, Esq., a practical chemist of some notoriety; he is very successful in all of his operations.  I was shown many of his beautiful plain photographs, that in tone and sharpness were exquisite.  But ‘tis just like Mr. McC., he never has any body about who does not fully understand his business.  His gallery is one of the finest in Washington, and the many water colored pictures that are adorning his walls, speak highly for the business.  His artists is a man of the first order and paints with unusual rapidity.  Mr. Vannerson is the agent is the agent of Mr. McClesse’s gallery, and for the length of time he has resided in Washington, no man is more capable of doing the agreeable in securing the public patronage.  This gallery will do a large share of the business the coming winter.  I fully predict a brilliant career for them, and well they deserve it.  By the time your next number appears, I hope to be able to speak more of this gallery.                             J. R. J.

 

Julian Vannerson

By deciphering Vannerson’s activities through the newspapers in Washington, piecing together several newspapers a clearer picture appears. The first advertisements which I have access to that mentions Vannerson is from the Daily American Organ on July 22, 1854, and reads in part “New Daguerrean Gallery.  The establishment formerly owned by Mr. [Edwin C.] Thompson, has been purchased by Mr. Vannerson, of this city…” From this advertisement through July 30, 1856 only Vannerson’s last name is used, giving the impression that Vannerson is operating his own gallery.  Not until the following advertisement appears on January 5, 1855, in the Daily American Organ do we have a clue as to which of the three brothers is operating in Washington (Adrian, Julian or Lucian.) In referencing Craig’ Daguerreian Registry Julian is the brother who is operating the Whitehurst’s Gallery in Washington, which is confirmed in later advertisements.

Portrait of Rev. Mr. Sunderland.—A lithographic portrait of Rev. Byron Sunderland, pastor of the four-and-and-a-half street Presbyterian Church, in this city, is to be published by Mr. C. H. Brainard, of Boston, who has already published portraits of many of our distinguished men in a style of artistic excellence rarely equaled.

This portrait of Mr. Sunderland will be drawn by Grozelier, from a daguerreotype by Vannerson, the accomplished superintendent of Whitehurst’s gallery, and we feel bold to say in advance, be in every respect creditable to all concerned in its production.

On July 30, 1856 the following advertisement appears in the Evening Star. From this we learn that he has left Whitehurst Gallery which he had been employed for the past five years.

Vannerson’s Gallery Of Premium Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes & Photographs, No. 424 and 426 Pa. avenue, (Lane & Tucker’s building.) between 4½ and 6th sts., Three Doors from his former place of business, Washington, D. C.

Mr. Vannerson Returns His thanks for the very liberal patronage bestowed on him, while conducting the Whitehurst Gallery, for the last five years, and solicits its continuance from his friends and the public at his New Gallery, where he has greater facilities for the production of fine Portraits than formerly, with all the latest improvements for the production of Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, Photographs, and Portraits, in Oil colors, on Canvas, in Water colors, and Pastille.

Mr. Vannerson devotes his personal attention to all sittings.

Over the next couple of week several card appear in the Washington newspapers Whitehurst implies that Vannerson has misappropriated funds for his own use. Vannerson on the other hand claims that over the last couple of years under an agreement he was entitled to one half of the profits and that he is innocent of Whitehurst’s claims, which Whitehurst does acknowledge the agreement, but continues to claim misappropriation of funds.  At this time no outcome of the accusations have been found in any of the Washington newspapers that I have viewed.

Vannerson continues to operate his gallery into 1857.  On March 31, 1857 it is reported in the Evening Star that he has been awarded a bronze medal for photographs, ambrotypes and daguerreotypes at the Mechanics’ Fair.  This is the last advertisement or article found in the Washington newspapers at this time.  It is reported in Craig’ Daguerreian Registry and by Merry A. Foresta the former director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative that Vannerson was associated with James E. McClees around mid-1857[1], Craig also reports that Vannerson moves back to Richmond, Virginia in 1861.

On August 4th, 1859 the following appears in the Evening Star. Phelan (Michael) and Bird continue to made much of by the billiard amateurs of this city.  They dropped in at Ellicott’s saloon, corner of Thirteenth street and the avenue, yesterday afternoon, and played three games, (four ball American game,) Phelan winning two of the three.  In the evening they had some further playing at Marr’s Billiard Hall, Bird beating Phelan by 70 points in 200.  The weather was voted too warm entirely for the French carom games.  To-day Phelan and Bird are sitting for their photographs at Vannerson’s.

The question is, is Vannerson on his own again, or is he still working for McClees?

A quick search of the Richmond Daily Dispatch has determine approximately when Vannerson arrived back in Richmond, by using caricature recognition searching under Vannerson’s name the first hit was an advertisement on December 12, 1860 that announced the co-partnership between Smith & Vannerson has been dissolved.  I next searched the various processes in use.  On April 20, 1860 the following advertisement appears,

For rent—Photographic Gallery, in Corinthian Hall, now occupied by J. Thomas Smith. Possession given immediately.  On May 23ed Smith’s first advertisement appears at his new gallery at 77 Main Street, Whitehurst’s Old Stand.  On June 13 at the end of a Smith Advertisement he advertises that an “Operator is wanted.”  On September 22 the announcement of the Smith & Vannerson partnership appears.

A New Art Gallery In Richmond. The proprietors of the new Art Gallery would respectfully call the attention of the citizens of Richmond, and strangers in the city, to the fact that they have leased the rooms formerly known as “Whitehurst Gallery,” No. 97 Main Street, and have opened an establishment for the production of Every Style Of Photographs, From the Smallest Locket to the Full Size Of Life.  And as A First Class Establishment, They have every facility, and will produce a better style of Photograph that has heretofore been made in this city.  To finish the Photographs In Oil, the very best talent will be employed.

Photographs In Water Colors.  A superior picture, and at a price much less than hitherto charged by artists in this city, prices ranging from Three to Five, Ten and Fifteen Dollars.  Crayon Photographs, of Cabinet Or Life Size. A new style, to which particular attention is requested.

Photographs in India Ink will be finished by the same artist, Whose skill in this branch of art has given so great a popularity to this style of Picture, as made in Washington and Philadelphia.

Photographs, Ambrotypes and Daguerreotypes Copied.—An important fact to be noted is that the Photographs finished in oil at this establishment, are all made upon canvas, and not on paper fastened to canvas. Another fact to be remembered is, that anyone possessing a Daguerreotype or Ambrotype of a friend, may have it copied by photography of any desired size, and finished in Oil, Water Color, Crayon or India Ink.  Parties at a distance may thus send a Daguerreotype and have the Photographed returned by express.  An examination of specimens is solicited.     Smith & Vannerson, Practical Photographers, No. 77 Main st., between 14th and 15th sts., Richmond, Va.

Pictures made at all prices, from Fifty Cents to Fifty Dollars.

On November 1 a List of Premiums awarded at the seventh annual exhibition of the Virginia Mechanics’ Institute, which closed on the night of October 31….

Class No. 27.—Photographs, Daguerreotypes, Engravings, &c.

To G. W. Minnis, for finest display of Photographs, Certificate of Silver Medal.

To Smith & Vannerson, for second best Specimens, First-Class Diploma.

To Rees & Co., for third best Specimens, Second-Class Diploma.

Vannerson was still operating a gallery in Richmond on September 4, 1866. On December 13, 1866 the following advertisement appears,

At Home Again In The Midst Of The Pictures!

In returning to the business, in the conduct of which some years since I flatter myself I established a fair reputation, I will respectfully inform my friends and the public that I have taken the well-known Old Whitehurst Gallery, On Main Street, Below Fourteenth Street (Late Vannerson & Co.’s) and with all the modern improvements introduced, I am prepared to furnish Photographic Pictures in every style of the art, at Reduced Prices, and warranted equal to any produced in this city. All persons in want will please give me a call.    P. E. Gibbs.  de. 12.

It interesting to note that Whitehurst left Richmond in 1857 yet everyone who has been in the studio since then (1866), has referred to the “Old Whitehurst Studio” in their advertisements.

In tracking Whitehurst addresses it is difficult to nail down specific locations through 41 pages of Whitehurst advertisements and articles from Washington, D. C.; Baltimore, Maryland; Tarborough, North Carolina; and Richmond, Virginia he uses for his Washington studio Pennsylvania Avenue, (or variant Pa./Penn Ave.) or Pennsylvania Avenue between 4½ and 6th Street, also Lane and Tucker Building and over Duvall & Brothers Store.

 

Vannerson’s activity dates and address.

1851-1854       Pennsylvania Avenue, between 4½ and 6th Street, Washington, District of Columbia.

1854-1855       426 and 428 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, District of Columbia.

1856-1857       424 and 426 Pennsylvania Avenue, Lane & Tucker’s Building, Washington, District of Columbia.

1857-1859       308 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, District of Columbia.

1861-1866       77 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.

[1] The Photographic and Fine Art Journal, December 1857, Vol. X, No. 12, P. 380.  “Mr. Vannerson is the agent of  Mr. McCleese’s gallery…”