Tag Archives: Memphis Tennessee

G. M. Thomas

1846                Rooms at the Banner Office, Louisiana, Missouri.

1858                181 Main Street, opposite the Worsham House, Memphis, Tennessee.

G. M. Thomas was recorded in one advertisement in Democratic Banner (Bowling Green, Pike County, Missouri), and mentioned in and additional five advertisements and six announcements in the Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee) while working for William H. DeShong.  The first advertisement ran from July 25 to August 17, 1846 in Democratic Banner.  Daguerreotype.  G. M. Thomas would respectfully inform the citizens of Louisiana and vicinity, that he has taken rooms at the above place and will remain in town but a few Days.

Daguerreotype Miniatures taken in the most perfect style, plain or colored; and perfect satisfaction warranted to all.  The public are respectfully invited to call and examine specimens.

Rooms at the Banner Office.

The following five advertisements and six announcements appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal.  The first advertisement ran from July 14 to August3, 1858.  DeShong’s Pictures Still all the Rage.  Persons wishing the best style should not fail to give him a call.  He is now assisted by Mr. G. M. Thomas, who is acknowledged to be one of the best artists in the States.

Remember that DeShong has the exclusive right of Memphis for the Melainotype Patent.

His Gallery is 181 Main street, opposite the Worsham House.                                 

The second advertisement ran on November 4 to 6, 1858.  Premium Pictures.—People will inquire no longer where to get pictures, when they learn that Thomas, at DeShong’s Gallery, 180 Main street, opposite the Worsham House is Making Malameotypes (on iron plates) as cheap, if not cheaper, than those worthless glass pictures made elsewhere.  Recollect—first premium awarded to Thomas for the best pictures at every fair where exhibited.

The third advertisement ran on November 4 & 5, 1858.  We are informed through the press that a great blessing has been conferred on this community by the introduction of a cheap Gallery.  we doubt that the people of Memphis will consider it a greater blessing when they learn that Thomas, at DeShong’s, is making pictures as cheap, if not cheaper, and warranted fifty per cent better, or no pay required.

The first announcement appeared on November 9, 1858.  To The Citizens of Memphis.—A certain humbug establishment in this city say they have eight premiums awarded them—have sixteen years experience.  They wish to know what more can be said in their favor.  Thomas, at DeShong’s will state for their favor, that he has a little boy under his charge, not thirteen years old, has not had sixteen weeks’ experience (not years), who will bet his own money —$50—he can beat them making pictures.

Thomas bets two to one on the boy.

Thomas bets $100 they never got eight premiums—not even one; bets twenty to one they will never get one in Memphis.

First premium to Thomas throughout the South and West.  Got the fixings as proof.

Thomas, at DeShong’s, is working cheaper, and warranted 100 per cent. Better, or no pay required.

Thomas does not wish to boast or humbug.  The above is to let the people know where the best pictures in the world are made.

Thomas will stand up to all he says.  Call and see if I am not right.  Will make your pictures for nothing if you don’t think so.

The fourth advertisement ran on November 10 & 11, 1858.  Memphis Against The World.—Thomas, at DeShong’s, will compare malaneotypes and ambrotypes, for superiority, with any body in the world, for $500—more or less.  The pictures are his own productions, and mostly citizens of Memphis.  Call and see them.  They cost less than elsewhere.

Let the people of Memphis recollect that Thomas will make 50 per cent. Better pictures than the great humbug establishment, or no pay required.  I will do what I say.  Rooms 180 Main street.

The second announcement appeared on November 12, 1858.  Premium Pictures.—Let the people recollect where they are made.  Thomas had no opposition at Fall Fairs, never expected any—sufficient evidence of their superiority over all others, they are not brought from the North.  Warranted 100 per cent. Better than at the great Humbug Depot, or no pay required—all at DeShong’s, 180 Main street.

The third announcement appeared on November 13, 1858.  Premium Pictures.—Thomas, at DeShong’s, is making Pictures as cheap as elsewhere and warranted 5 per cent. Better or no pay required.  First premium awarded to Thomas at every State Fair, South and West, were exhibited.

The fifth announcement ran on November 18 & 19, 1858.  One hundred persons at least, collected at DeShong’s yesterday, disgusted with their steam portraits made on green window glass—“serves them right,” coming to their senses at last.  First premium awarded to Thomas, at DeShong’s, throughout the South and West; one hundred present better or no pay required and cheaper than elsewhere.

The fourth announcement appeared on November 20, 1858.  The reason everybody are now getting pictures at DeShong’s, is they say Thomas, took the first premium everywhere, without even any opposition.  No one has the presumption to compare pictures when he is in the field—sufficient evidence of their great superiority over all others.  AS cheap as elsewhere.  Warranted 100 per cent. Better; or no pay required.

The fifth announcement appeared on November 25, 1858.  Premium Pictures.—Let the people recollect that Thomas, at DeShong’s, has been awarded first Premiums throughout the South and West for the finest pictures.  Warrants them 50 per cent. Better and as cheap as elsewhere, or no pay required.

Everybody says that Thomas’ pictures, at DeShong’s, are the finest they have ever seen in any part of the world.  They are mostly of citizens of Memphis.

The sixth announcement appeared on November 3, 1858.  Premium Pictures.—Everybody that has visited the northern cities, and traveled throughout Europe, pronounce Thomas’ Ambrotypes and melaneotypes, (at DeShong’s Gallery,) the finest specimens of the art they have ever seen, in any art of the world.  They cost no more than elsewhere, and are warranted 100 per cent finer, or no pay required.  First Premium awarded to Thomas, at every Fair South and West.

G. M. Thomas was recorded in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry as being active in 1851 in Mobile, Alabama apparently in partnership with William H. DeShong and again in 1859 in Memphis, Tennessee.  According to the 1858 advertisements and announcements it appears that Thomas worked for DeShong.  This might have changed in 1859 but to date no newspapers have been consulted in Memphis in 1859.

Stephen Remington

1857-1859      1 Clark’s Marble Block, corner Main & Madison Streets, Memphis, Tennessee.

Stephen Remington was recorded in nine advertisements and four announcements in the Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee).  The first advertisement ran from January 1, 1857 to August 4, 1858.  The Sphereotype.  The latest and by far the most important improvement in Photography is the recently patented picture known as the Sphereotype, which is not only new and unlike any of its predecessors, but greatly superior to all.  The Sphereotype is proof against Time, Air, and Water, and for the richness of tone, warmth of expression and distinctness has to equal—in fact the illusion is such that the picture, or image, seems suspended in air, entirely independent of the background.

For this picture we have the exclusive right for Memphis.  Specimens can be seen in our Gallery, where pictures are also taken in the various styles by our Artist, Prof. Remington, who combines the chemist with the Artist, which enables him at all times to produce superior Pictures.  F. H. Clark & Co., No 1 Clark’s Marble Block.  dec2.

The second advertisement ran from January 1 to May 6, 1857.  Dissolution.  On the 1st June, 1856, the firm heretofore existing between F. H. Clark and A. C. Wurzach was dissolved by mutual consent.  F. H. Clark is charged with the settlement of the business of the late firm of F. R. Clark & Co.  F. H. Clark.  A. C. Wurzbach.  New Firm… of F. H. Clark & Co.  F. H. Clark,  Jas. S. Wilkins, Thos. Hill.

A Card.  Our New Firm…Established 1841….Our leading branches are, first—Watches,…Jewelry….Guns, Guns….Pistols,…Silver Goods….Silver Plated Goods…Cutlery…Our Mechanical Branch…..Engraving…

Our Daguerrean Gallery, Prof. Remington, Artist, Embraces a suit of rooms built expressly for the purpose, and we are prepared to furnish our customers with first class pictures in all the various styles.

In building expressly for our business, we have combined every convenience for the different branches, and greatly reduced our expenses, which, with our facilities and the extension of our business, enables us to sell goods and do work on the most reasonable terms.  Goods cheerfully shown and fairly represented, and we invite all, both buyers and the curious, to drop in without ceremony and examine our stock.  We keep open house for all.   F. H. Clark & Co.  oct16.

The first announcement appeared on March 13, 1857.  At Clark’s Daguerrean Gallery is a colored Photograph of Mr. Fray, the artist, colored by himself and taken by Mr. Remington, which is as perfect and beautiful a likeness as one will see anywhere.  It is a large, but not a full size.  Mr. Frye has also painted several other likeness of well-known citizens, among others a most perfect portrait of Fletcher Lane, Esq., and one of James Elder, Esq., Michael Magevney, Esq., etc.

The second announcement appeared on June 6, 1857.  Gen. Walker was again called to stand up and show himself, so as to give all an opportunity to see him, and he appeared a few moments on the stand, bowing modestly to the excited and enthusiastic multitude.

After the reception had concluded, General Walker was conducted in an open carriage to Clark’s Daguerreian Gallery, where Professor Remington succeeded in getting two very excellent likenesses of him—one a photograph and the other an ambrotype.  We understand it is his intention to multiply copies of the photograph and place them in the reach of all who wish a copy….

The third advertisement ran from June 6 to July 8, 1857.  Gen. Walker.  On Monday, June 8, will be issued at F. H. Clark & Co.’s Gallery, copies of Prof. Remington’s Photograph of Gen. Walker, the only original picture of him in Memphis.

The third announcement appeared on October 9, 1857.  The Zoonograph.  The superiority of the Ambrotype over the Daguerreotype is universally acknowledged, and they in their turn are totally eclipsed by the Zoonograph, which is the result of a new chemical process discovered by Professor Remington, and perfected after much labor and perseverance.

These pictures are more clear in their outlines, brilliant in tone, life-like in expression, durable, richly-colored and elegantly finished, than any style of Photographic picture that it has ever been our pleasure to examine critically.

Clark’s Gallery contains everything requisite, every convenience and facility that can be desired or obtained to execute in the most perfect manner any of the various styles of photographic work.  It will richly repay a visit, and especially so to those who desire artistic pictures.

We can also assure the public that Prof. Remington is in possession of several processes and materials in his art, that no other establishment in this part of the country commands.  As a consequence, he is enabled to give a beauty, finish and life to his pictures that we shall in vain look for from other artist.

Give him a call and judge for yourselves.  Clark’s marble Block, Corner Main and Madison streets.  sep29.

The fourth advertisement ran from November 12 to December 18, 1857.  Premium Pictures!  The Zo-onograph!!  The superiority of the Ambrotype over the Daguerreotype is universally acknowledged, and they in their turn are totally eclipsed by the Zo-onograph, which is the result of a new chemical process discovered by Professor Remington, and perfected after much labor and perseverance.

These pictures and all the styles known to the art are taken by Professor Remington, in the new operating room of F. H. Clarke & Co.

The fourth announcement appeared on January 17, 1858.  A Mammoth Photograph.—We were yesterday shown a fine photograph of the gifted young tragedian, Edwin Booth, taken by Remington at Clark’s Gallery.  This picture is the best that we have seen coming from the same hands, and will, we think, compare with the best photographs executed at the North.  It is a large picture—12×14 inches—and photographs the character of the subject to the life.  We understand that Remington has just added a new improvement to his much admired Zoonograph, which he styles the Crayon Zoonograph.  Everybody should see his specimens before procuring pictures at other establishments.

The fifth advertisement appeared on December 21, 1858.  F. H. Clark & Co.’s. Column.  Watchmakers, Jewelers, Silversmiths, And Engravers, Importers And Dealers In Watches, Clocks, Silver and Plated Ware, Guns, Fancy Goods, Jewelry, &c.

New Goods…Fine Goods…Watches…Jewelry…Silver Ware…Clocks…Guns, Guns!… Spectacles…Cutlery…Engraving…

Our Picture Gallery—Professor Remington, Artist, Is one of the most extensive in the Union.  Superior Pictures taken in all the various styles known to the Photographic art.  The Sphereotype and Remington’s Zoonographs, are worthy of special notice.

J. O’B. Inman[1] This Celebrated Artist.  This Celebrated Artist has permanently located in one of our rooms connected with our Gallery, with whom we have made arrangements to color in oil Remington’s Cabinet size Canvas Photographs.

These pictures combining as they do, the skill of the two Artists, are among the most perfect specimens of the Art.  No. 1 Clark’s Marble Block.

The sixth advertisement ran from October 9 to 15, 1859.  Clark & Remington’s Gallery, No. 1 Clark’s Marble Block.—Photographs from Miniatures to life size, colored in oil or water colors.  Ambrotypes and sphereotypes.

The sixth advertisement ran from October 9 to 15, 1859.  Clark & Remington’s Gallery, No. 1 Clark’s Marble Block.—Photographs from Miniatures to life size, colored in oil or water colors.  Ambrotypes and sphereotypes.

The seventh advertisement ran from October 18 to November 8, 1859.  Ivorytypes!  Ivorytypes!!  Clark & Remington’s Gallery.—The greatest improvement ever invented, having all the softness and brilliancy of color peculiar to the genuine ivory miniature, and at prices within the reach of all, taken Only at Clark & Remington’s mammoth sky-light gallery.  Also photographs, sphereotypes and ambrotypes.

The eighth advertisement ran from November 20 to December 17, 1859.  Everybody visits Clark & Remmington’s famous Gallery of Art.  Their Ivorytypes, Photographs, Sphereotypes and Ambrotypes are works of art.  Perfect pictures and warranted to please.  Remember the place—Clark & Remmington’s mammoth sky-light gallery, corner Main and Madison streets.

The ninth advertisement ran from December 14 to 25, 1859.  Christmas Gifts.—Clark & Remington have just received a large assortment of fine pearl, velvet and gilt cases, especially intended to supply the demand for their pictures as Christmas approaches.  Our prices will be found to suit all who wish good and durable pictures—Ivorytypes, photographs, miniatures in oil, ambrotypes, etc.  Look in and examine specimens, corner of main and Madison streets.

Stephen Remington is recorded in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry as a possible daguerreian in the partnership of F. H. Clark & Co. in 1859-1860.   Reading the advertisements and announcements Clark is the owner of the business that has a photograph Gallery in it.

[1] The New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artists in America 1564-1860 list his full name as John O’Brien Inman.

James R. Pollock

1857                30 Front Row, Memphis, Tennessee.

James R. Pollock was recorded in an article on September 1, 1857 in the Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee).  Probable Homicide.—The particulars of a very tragic affair which occurred on Sunday night, is thus recounted by the Evening News.  We have heard nothing, after the most diligent inquiry, contrary to the facts here detailed:

A man named Slider was shot last night, on Shelby street near Trezevant, by another named James R. Pollock.  The weapon used was a pistol, and the ball entered the stomach.  There was an unsettled difficulty between the parties, the origin and progress of which has been related to us.  It appears that they have both been paying court at the shrine of a young woman who resides on Poplar street, with whom Pollock had exchanged daguerreotypes and perhaps other tokens of reciprocal affection and confidence.  But, as “the course of true love never does run smooth,” a misunderstanding of some sort arose between then, upon which Pollock demanded the return of his pictured semblances.  The lady complied, though, at the time of giving him possession, she took occasion to express her opinion that he was “no part of a gentleman.”  Pollock replied that he could not strike a woman, but if any male friend would take her part he would resent the insult.  Slider, who was present, remarked that he would stand for the lady.  Pollock then drew upon him, but the interference of by-standers prevented a collision.

The parties did not meet again until last night, when Pollock escorted a lady home from church who lived on Shelby street, Slider and a friend being in advance of them.  Just past the house where the lady resided, Slider halted, and when the lady entered he called to Pollock that he wished to speak with him, advancing towards him at the time.  Pollock told him to stand back, and he stopped, when P. fired upon him.  After the shooting Pollock entered the house and remained a few minutes, when he left and has not since been heard from.  The wounded man is expected to die hourly.

Pollock was in the employ of Dr. Y. A. Carr, learning the daguerreotyping business.  He came from Washington county, Ark.  Slider was a blacksmith, in the employ of the Mississippi and Tennessee Railroad Company.  He was a German.

Up to the very last hour of going to press Pollock had not been arrested.  The wounded man now lies in a hopeless condition at a house on Treazavent street, near the river.

Dr. Keller is his attending physician.  The wounds are in the abdomen and under the left arm.

James R. Pollock is not listed in other photographic directories.

Dobyns & Hall

1853-1854       Address Unknown, Louisville, Kentucky.

Dobyns & Hall (Thomas Jefferson & Nicholas) were recorded in an advertisement that ran from August 17, 1853 to January 15, 1854 in the Nashville Union and American (Nashville, Tennessee).  Daguerran Stock And Picture Establishment.

Dobyns & Yearout, Nashville, Tennessee, College Street.                                                                        Dobyns & Hall, Louisville, Ky.                                                                                                                          Dobyns & Richardson, Morssewet, New York.                                                                                          Dobyns & Spaulding, St. Louis, Mo.                                                                                                              Dobyns & Yearout, Memphis, Tenn.                                                                                                              Dobyns & Harrington, New Orleans.

At any of the above establishments, you can procure as fine Pictures as can be had in any city, of any desired style or finish, as we have every improvement, and expect to keep up with any and all improvements.  We are prepared in either city to furnish artists with every article used in the art.  Our arrangements are such, we can furnish stock on the most reasonable terms.  Dobyns & Co.  N. B.—Pictures taken in any kind of Weather.

Dobyns and Hall are not recorded in other photographic directories.  Dobyns is the third photographer to have multiple franchises Followed by John Plumbe, Jr. and Jesse Harrison Whitehurst.








W. H. Conant

1859                292 Main Street, Calhoun Block, Memphis Tennessee.

W. H. Conant was recorded in an announcement on July 30, 1859 in the Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee).  Artistic.—W. H. Conant, portrait painter and Photographist, respectfully informs the citizens of Memphis that he has taken rooms in the Calhoun Block, No. 292 Main street, adjoining Mr. Yearout’s daguerrean gallery. Portraits and photographs in oil on canvass, cabinet or life size, will be painted from life, ambrotypes or daguerreotypes.

W. H. Conant is not recorded in other photographic directories. He was also not listed in The New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of American Artist 1564-1860.

Bingham & DeShong

The partnership of Bingham & DeShong has previously not been recorded in photographic directories.  Both Benjamin Bingham and William H. DeShong have appeared in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry.  They first appear in an advertisement that appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee) under the heading Business Notices on December 12, 1858 and ran till January 15, 1859.  We are often asked by strangers where the best pictures are to be had?  We would here through the press answer all.  We say, go to DeShong’s Gallery, 118 Main Street.  Mr. DeShong is now assisted by Mr. Bingham, whose pictures stand unrivalled, Call and see for yourselves, and be convinced.

On January 18, 1859 in the Memphis Daily Appeal under the heading Business Notices two notices appear.  Beautiful Pictures.—Messrs. Bingham & DeShong, 181 Main street, take the melainotype pictures on the iron plate, which will neither break or fade.  They are undoubtedly the best and prettiest pictures made.

Children’s Picture’s.—parents wishing pictures of their children can get them fac simile of Messrs. Bingham & DeShong, at the premium gallery, opposite the Worsham House.  Every attention will be paid to the cases of children, and their restlessness will be met with cheerful patience.

On March 27, 1859 the third Business Notice in the Memphis Daily Appeal appears.    Premium Gallery.—Bingham & DeShong Main street, opposite the Worsham House, continue to make those celebrated Melainotypes, known to be the very best pictures now made.  Recollect premium gallery. 180 Main street.  It is unknown if they changed address, if they are newspaper typos, or a renumbering of street addresses, which address is correct 118, 181 or 180 Main Street?

William G. Adams

A testimonial in the Mississippi Palladium, published in Holly Springs, Mississippi on April 29, 1852.  A letter from Mr. Falconer appears…Should any of your readers visit Memphis for the purpose of procuring good Daguerrean Likenesses of themselves or friends, I recommend all such to call on Wm. G. Adams, on Front Row, where they can get a perfect copy of the original.  He is a very polite and affable gentleman, and I feel justified in saying will do all justice who may want likenesses taken…

Adams is recorder in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry as being active in Memphis, Tennessee from 1849 to 1853.

Tyler & Company revisited

While in my opinion Tyler & Company are not in the top echelon of photographers operating in America during the first twenty years. Their advertisements would lead you to believe that they were.  In researching the Memphis Daily Appeal newspaper. In which I have access to the latter part of the project from January 1857 through December 1859 and beyond. Fortunately, or unfortunately Tyler and Company fit into this time slot during their stay in Memphis.  Like in Richmond their modus operandi is the same, they brag that they are better than everyone else, that their accomplishments are better, and that their gallery is the finest in the State that they have won many awards and have 16 years of experience.  Again like Richmond they undercut the other photographers’ prices and start fights in their advertisements with their competitors.  In reviewing the files they have advertised more in 15 months, (October 1858 through December 1859) then all the other photographs put together in 36 months.

On October 17, 1858 their first advertisement appeared in the Memphis Daily Appeal.

Tyler & Co. Give notice to the public of Memphis that they have opened an extensive Sky Light Depot of Art at 219 Main Street, opposite Odd Fellows’ Hall, for the purpose of introducing a new and original plan of Picture Making.  It consist in taking at the rate of 300 pictures daily, and being enabled to make fine Ambrotypes for 75 cents, the same as others charge $2 for. Ladies and gentlemen who visit Tyler & Co.’s Gallery, can be assured of receiving the best of treatment and the highest satisfaction in point of good work.  Tyler & Co., have had 16 years’ experience in their profession, and enjoy a celebrity worldwide throughout the Union.  They make all the various styles of pictures at prices ranging from 75 cents to $1, and also introduce the Vitreotype[1], a picture heretofore unknown in Memphis.  Call and see the new Gallery.

As stated above there are many similarities between their advertisements in Richmond and Memphis. “They still keep it before the public” their words.  Meaning that they advertise most every day often there are multiple entries of between one paragraph, or more often than not three to nine lines consisting of a sentence or two in the same Business Notices or the Local Matters columns.  The overall tone of the advertisements seems to have become more reserved then in Richmond, they are still making claims that they have the finest and largest gallery in the state.  In Richmond they continued to say that they made 400 to 800 portraits daily and sometimes as high as 1,000 a day.  In Memphis they are consistent throughout their stay at 300 portraits taken daily.  From October 17, 1858 to January 4, 1859 their prices stay the same at 75 cents to $100.  On January 5, 1859 they lower their prices to 50 cents to $50.

Tyler and Company use several name to describe their gallery. Sky-Light Depot of Art; Tyler & Co.’s Gallery; Young America Picture Depot; Big Depot of Art; Locomotive Picture Depot; Great Depot; Great Depot of Art; Tyler & Co.’s Gallery of Art; and Great sky-light Daguerreotype Depot and Emporium of Art, Beauty and Fashion to name but a few.

There seems to be a double standard in the way that Tyler & Co. attacks their competitors…their work is inferior, their images cost too much, they will fade or rust…when the other photographers voice their opinion of them, Tyler and Company often attack back “Don’t be deceived by the bombast of their rivals. The fogyism they exhibit in the newspapers, shows their envy of Tyler & Co.”  They never really answer the other photographers’ accusations.

In trying to tie up the record for Tyler and Company in Memphis I searched the latter part of 1860 knowing that Tyler and Company only stays in one location for two or three years at the most, see below for activity dates. They also probably were not in the South during the Civil War, since the first hard dates for them was 1853 in Boston, which would mean that they probably had northern sympathies. In addition Edward M. Tyler is recorded as being in Providence, R. I. in 1860 and in Newport, R. I. in 1865.  The last advertisement found was on October 11, 1860 and reads Tyler & Co. attend personally to their visitors, assisted by a corps of talented artists.

To confuse the time line more, two days later on October 13 the report of the Shelby County Agricultural Fair is published.  It list for Best Daguerreotypes, $5, O. H. Tyler; Brandon & Crater received a certificate.  Than on October 19 the following appears

Premium Daguerreotypes.—We will willingly correct an error which in the hurry of reporting the premiums awarded at the late fair, we, with other reporters, fell into, copying the list of premiums from the Secretary’s books. We reported Tyler & Co. as having received the premium for best daguerreotypes, and Brandon & Crater the certificate.  We understand from a member of the latter firm that the premium was awarded to them instead of O. H. Taylor & Co.  Since no first name was ever used for Tyler & Company in the Richmond or Memphis newspapers it is unclear if O. H. Taylor is another typo or do we have a clue as to who Tyler is.  At least in Richmond it was suggested that there was at least two Tyler’s running the gallery. Possibly Edward M., or O. H.?

Unlike John Plumbe, Jr., Jesse Harrison Whitehurst, and Thomas Jefferson Dobyns who had multiple galleries operating at the same time Tyler & Co. appears to open one studio and then moves on after a couple of years. This may not have been the case while they were in Richmond and Petersburg, Virginia where they seem to be operating both galleries at the same time.

A side note Charles R. Rees who worked for Tyler & Company, in the Richmond and Petersburg Galleries and possibly in several other locations, took over their Richmond Studio and made reference to sending ambrotypes to a new gallery in Memphis. On October 23, 1858 the following appeared in the Richmond Daily Dispatch. “We understand the reason that Rees & Co. have no Pictures on exhibition at the Mechanics’ Institute, is partly owing to their not having had time to arrange them in time for competition, and having just sent about 200 specimens of their new style of Ambrotypes to Memphis, Tenn., for the opening of a new Gallery. We are certain that their new style of Pictures would be much admired at the Institute.”

This opens a whole new line of questions. On May 5, 1859 in the Richmond Daily Dispatch the following appears….Old Rees has had 17 years experience in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Charleston, New Orleans and Cincinnati…. Did Rees work for Tyler & Co. in those locations? We know that Tyler and Company was in Boston and Charleston, and they claim they were in New Orleans and in Cincinnati, there was a James Tyler & Co. in 1857.  No hard evidence has been found at this time that Tyler & Company were in New Orleans, New York or Philadelphia.  John Craig does list Rees in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry as being in Richmond and in New York. What is the connection with Tyler & Company in Memphis?  Is he a partner?  No advertisement, articles or notices were recorded in the newspaper for C. R. Rees that I have found to date.

To throw another twist to the relationship with Tyler & Company there is a Rees, Blodget & Company in Worcester, Massachusetts at the same time that that Tyler & Co were there. There are no first names attached to the company so it is unclear if this could possibly be C. R. Rees or not…  The advertisements are a standard attack by their competitors. Two advertisements follow.

October 18, 1855 in the Worcester Daily Spy. Take Notice!—Opposition to Steam Daguerreotypes, taken by a new American discovery, for only 25 cents, warranted to be of the best quality, and satisfaction given.  Something less than 500 taken daily.  No connection with the steam whistle, next door.  Rees, Blodget, & Co, artists.  Piper Block, Main st.

October 19, 1855. Rees, Blodget, & Co. do not take Daguerreotypes by steam, as their noisy competitors boast to do, but at the same time give all who visit them good portraits, and at a quick rate, for 25 cents.  Rees, Blodget & Co. have opened their rooms at Piper’s Block, bent upon blowing up all steam boilers in the vicinity, if they burst themselves in doing so.

While reading through the Memphis Daily Appeal newspaper the following item appears.  It’s not directed by name specifically to Tyler and Company, nor is it signed, but by the tone and history of Tyler & Co.’s advertisements it is conceivable that a rival had it published.  This is pure speculation on my part and I really try not to do that.  There is a quote that I’ll end with that I try to live by, but in this case it sounds so much like them that after days of consideration I decided to include it here.  It was published on November 17, 1858 exactly one month after Tyler & Co.’s first advertisement appears in Memphis papers.

What sort of an Animal a “Snob” is.—Thackeray thus daguerreotypes this animal. He is speaking of English society:

“A snob is that man or woman who are always pretending before the world to be something better—especially richer or more fashionable—than they are. It is one who thinks his own position in life contemptible, and is always, yearning and striving to force himself into one above, without the education or characteristics which belong to it; one who looks down upon, despises, and overrides his inferiors, or even equals of his own standing, and is ever ready to worship, fawn upon, and flatter a rich and titled man, not because he is a good man, a wise man, or a Christian man; but because he has the luck to be rich or consequential.”

The quote that I mentioned is by John Drydan and holds as true today as the day it was written. “We find but few historians of all ages, who have been diligent enough in their search for truth; it is their common method to take on trust what they distribute to the public, by which means, a falsehood once received from a famed writer becomes traditional to posterity.”  This is the one reason why in my research I document everything and give a source of where the information comes from.

Tyler & Co. Activity dates and addresses.

N.D.                 Address Unknown, New Orleans, Louisiana.[2]

1853-1855       2 Winter Street, Boston, Massachusetts.[3]

1855                 Main & Front Streets, Worcester, Massachusetts.[4]

1854-1856       Address Unknown, Charleston, South Carolina.[5]

1857-1858       139 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.[6]

1857-1858       39 Sycamore Street, Petersburg, Virginia.[7]

1858                   Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.[8]

1858-1860       219 Main Street, opposite Odd Fellows’ Hall, Memphis, Tennessee.[9]

1860                81 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island.[10]

[1] Their name for Daguerreotypes.

[2] Richmond Daily Dispatch

[3] Directory of Massachusetts Photographers, 1839-1900 and Boston Morning Journal

[4] Worcester Daily Spy

[5] Partners with the Sun South Carolina Photographers 1840-1940.

[6] Richmond Daily Dispatch.

[7] ibid

[8] ibid

[9] Memphis Daily Appeal.

[10] Craig’s Daguerreian Registry.

Tyler & Company

While this is an interesting group of photographers and needs further exploration, the following is what I know at this point. They advertised mostly as Tyler & Co. (with no first names.)  John Craig refers to them as “mass merchandisers” they come in to a town, stay a short period of time, undercut their competition, and flood the market with ninth plate images.  I have advertisements from several newspapers from both Boston and Worcester Massachusetts, but the bulk comes from the Richmond Daily Dispatch.  A new advertisement appears almost every day, starting on March 19, 1857 until late December when they advertise that they have opened another gallery at 39 Sycamore Street, Petersburg, Virginia.  Afterwards their advertising slows down a little, they miss a day or two here and there.  On January 30, 1858 they drop their price in half from .50 – $50 to .25 – $25.  During this time period a typical day’s advertisement is in a solid block with a paragraph or two and or between one and 13 separate lines of often repeating text.  On March 20, 1858 they claim that they have spent $4,000 over the past year on advertising.

They repeatedly make unsubstantiated claims. First that they were in New Orleans, Louisiana for eight years prior to being in Charleston, South Caroline for three.  In reviewing a number of photographic directories, I cannot at this time verify the New Orleans claim.  Looking at Photography in New Orleans, The Early Years, 1840-1866 by Margaret Denton Smith & Mary Louise Tucker they do not mention them. Craig’s Daguerreian Registry also does not list them in New Orleans, except to say that they won a wager that they could make 1,000 likenesses in four hours.  This was probably from an advertisement in one of the Charleston papers.  Looking at Partners with the Sun South Carolina Photographers 1840-1940, by Harvey S Teal.  He has Tyler & Co. in Charleston from December 1855 to June 1856 and again between, November 1856 to February 1857 that’s a total of 11 months, not the three years they claim.

Another claim is the amount of portraits they take daily which can fluctuate between 300 to 1,000 on any given day. They do advertise that they are taking daguerreotypes or what they call Vitrotype, later they advertise ambrotypes, photographs, lettertypes, ect.  They make the same claims “400 taken daily” when they were in Boston, Worcester and Charleston.  In Boston and Worcester they use a double lens camera.  In Richmond they advertise that they are taking “three at a pop.”  They also start out advertising that they employ fifteen artist which quickly becomes twenty and by the end of their time in Richmond they are up to twenty-five artists.

By the tone of their advertisement they are the only ones that ever uses steam in the production of likenesses, and that anyone who say they uses steam are just imitators. John Adams Whipple in Boston advertises on May 12, 1848 in the Salem Gazette that he is using a small steam engine to buff his plates. They also claim to have daguerreotype and ambrotype patents, and that they are inventors from everything I have looked at, no records of patents were ever issued to them.  They are also in the habit of claiming that they have at different time been issued 5 Gold medals, but they never say when or where they received these awards.  Every other photographer list when and where they received an award.  They did win a silver medal for Daguerreotypes at the 1857 Fair of the Virginia Mechanics Institute.  Also Albert Litch won a silver medal for color photographs, Sanxay & Chalmers won a silver medal for Ambrotypes, and E. Powers a first class diploma for Ambrotypes and Photographs.

Their philosophy which they state several time is to “keep it before the people.” Translation beat them over the head with their advertisements, and they do.  Their claim that other photographers are charging $2.50 for the same image they charge 50 cents for, is unjustified.  If fact other image makers were charging 50 cents for their images long before Tyler & Co. came to Richmond.

On May 18, 1858 we learn in an advertisement that C. R. Rees has returned to Richmond from a five month stay in Petersburg (Tyler & Co. new gallery.) On August 10, 1858 we learn that C. R. Rees is now the Proprietor.  Rees continues the same practice in his advertising as Tyler & Co. but with less regularity.  His excuses as to why he did not exhibit at the late fair was that he was getting ready to send specimens to his new gallery in Memphis, Tennessee.  It is interesting Tyler and Company have also opened a studio in Memphis around this time, what is the conection?

Craig speculates that the various listings he has for Tyler & Co. based on the language of the advertisements are the same company.  On June 6, 1857 the following advertisement appears in the Daily Dispatch which seems to verify John’s speculation.

Strangers and all others, are cautioned against being humbugged and deceived by steam pictures advertisements. This steam picture taker has been Driven out of Boston, Cincinnati, Worcester, Mass, and Charleston, S. C.  This Imposter commenced to advertise 50 cent Daguerreotypes but he found they did not take.  He then altered his show bills and advertisements to Vitrotypes for 50 cts., pretending it was a new kind of picture.  This fellow says he has taken 400 Pictures a day for 16 years.  Now he did not have money enough to buy a few yards of carpet when he arrived here, but had to run his face.  This same humbug man took pictures in Boston for 20 cts. apiece.  The public can judge whether his work is good or bad.  It is my intention to show him up just as long as he continues to humbug, lie and deceive the people of Richmond.                                                                       Respectfully, A. W. Osborne, Opposite Exchange Bank.

Below is the timeline and address of their studios to date.


N.D.               Address Unknown, New Orleans, Louisiana. [i]

1853-1855       2 Winter Street, Boston, Massachusetts. (Edward M. Tyler.) [ii]

1855                   Main & Front Streets, Worcester, Massachusetts.[iii]

1855-1856       233 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina. [iv]

1856-1857       233 King Street, Charleston, South Carolina. iv

1857                30 & 32 Fourth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio (James Tyler.) [v]

1857-1858       139 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia. i

1857-1858       39 Sycamore Street, Petersburg, Virginia. i

1858                Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. i

1859-1860       219 Main Street, Memphis, Tennessee (Edward M. Tyler.) v

1860                81 Westminster Street, Providence, Rhode Island. (E. M. Tyler.) v






[i] The Richmond Daily Dispatch

[ii] Directory of Massachusetts Photographers, 1839-1900 and the Boston Morning Journal.

[iii] Worcester Daily Spy

[iv] Partners with the Sun South Carolina Photographers 1840-1940.

[v] Craig’s Daguerreian Registry