Tag Archives: Richmond Virginia

C. J. Fox

1858                 Address Unknown, Richmond, Virginia.

C. J. Fox appeared in an advertisement on March 18, 1858 in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia).  Rooms Wanted, For A Photographic Gallery On the second or third floor.  The south side of Main street, between 7th and 12, preferred.  Apply personally or by letter, to C. J. Fox, American Hotel.

A Charles J. Fox is recorded in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry as being active in New York City in 1859.  It is unknown if they are the same person.

Thomas A. Duke

1856                Rooms at 139 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.

Thomas A. Duke was recorded in three advertisements.  The first advertisement ran from April 11 to May 10, 1856 in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia).  A Card.—Thomas A. Duke.—Having purchased Mr. Power’s Daguerrian Gallery. No. 139 Main street, I shall continue the business in the same style it has been heretofore conducted, having an operator who has had long experience in some of the first Galleries in the Union, and we feel confident that we can please the most fastidious with pictures gotten up in first-rate order, and on the most reasonable terms.  I shall endeavor to make my Saloon both attractive and pleasant, and hope the public will give us a call, and patronize us according to our merit.  Thos. Duke.

The second advertisement ran from May 17 to 23, 1856 in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia).  Persons wanting any style of “Daguerreotype” pictures have only to call on “Duke,” No. 139 Main street, and they will certainly get one to please them, on more reasonable terms than elsewhere to be had, put up in plain or fancy cases, or in pins, rings, lockets, &c., &c., as may suit the taste.

The third advertisement ran from September 25 to October 1, 1856 in The Daily Dispatch.  (Richmond, Virginia).  By E. B. Cook, & Co., Aucts., Trustee’s Sale Of Furniture, Pictures, Daguerrean Apparatus, &c. &c., At Auction.—By virtue of a deed of Trust, made by Thomas A. Duck, to the undersigned, and duly recorded in the Richmond Hustings Court, I shall proceed to sell at the Daguerrean Rooms of said Thomas A Duck, main street, over the store of James Woodhouse & Co., on Thursday, Oct. 2d, at 10 o’clock, all the Daguerrean Apparatus, Carpets, Oil Cloth, Sofas, Chairs, Stoves, Centre Table, Bureau, Frames, Pictures, &c., &c., mentioned in said deed of trust.  Also at the same time and place will be sold the unexpired lease of said Daguerrean Rooms.  B. W. Starke, Trustee.  Sale conducted by E. B. Cook & Co., Aucts.

Thomas A. Duke is not recorded in other photographic directories.

J. W. & E. S. Dodge

1856                Rooms over Hicks’ China Hall, Nashville, Tennessee

J. W. & E. S. Wood were recorded in an announcement on October 26, 1856 in the Nashville Union and American (Nashville, Tennessee). Mechanics’ Institute.  Second Annual Exhibition.  Premiums Awarded…   Class No. 6—Marble Work, Paintings, Drawing, Daguerreotypes, Etc.

J. W. & E. S. Dodge, Nashville, Miniatures on Ivory……………………. 5.                                            J. W. & E. S. Dodge, Nashville, Photographs, plain and colored…….…5.                                          A. Larcomb, Nashville, Ambrotypes……………………………….……. 5.                            Hughes Brothers, Nashville, Daguerreotypes……………………………5.

The identity of the J. W. is probably John Wood Dodge who was active in St. Louis, Missouri in 1855 and in Nashville, Tennessee from 1855-1858(+).  E. S. is probably Edward Samuel Dodge.  In looking through genealogical records I discovered that they were in fact brothers.  Both were painters and are recorded in the New York Historical Society’s Dictionary of Artist in American 1564-1860.  Craig’s Daguerreian Registry list Edward Samuel in Richmond, Virginia in 1844 and Augusta, Georgia in 1850-1853.  Early Georgia Photographers 1841-1861 a Biographical Checklist Compiled by E. Lee Eltzroth list him in in Augusta, Georgia from 1848-1853.

W. Calhoun Cralle

1854                Rooms at Mansion House, 37 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.                        1855                37 Main Street, Richmond, Virginia.[1]

W. Calhoun Cralle was recorded in an advertisement that ran from May 4 to June 7, 1854 in The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia).  New Skylight Daguerrean Gallery—W. Calhoun Cralle, Daguerreotypist, having opened Daguerrean Rooms in this city, offers his professional services to the citizens and public generally.  He will give his constant personal attention to his rooms, and hopes by strict application to business to be able to execute Pictures in a style worthy of the art and its professors; yet he will make no promises to excel, but submits his claims to patronage to a discriminating public on his merits.  He can be found at his Rooms, No. 37 (Mansion House) Main street, from sunrise to sunset.  Pictures taken in any kind of weather.  Prices uniform.

W. Calhoun Cralle has been reported in other photographic directories. Craig Daguerreian Registry list him only in 1855. While Photographers in Virginia, 1839-1900 list him in 1854 & 1855.  In both directories he is listed as W. C. Cralle.

[1] Photographers in Virginia, 1839-1900: a checklist.  By Louis Ginsburg

Dr. A. Caspari

1843-1844       Address Unknown, Richmond, Virginia.

Dr. A. Caspari was recorded twice in advertisements that appeared the in The New York Herald (New York, New York) on June 1, and ran until September 5, 1843 and on October 17, 1843 to January 26, 1844.  It is unknown if Dr. Caspari is a daguerreotypist, a supplier or just an agent for the Langenheim Brothers.  Philip Haas, Edward White, and Peter Laurens[1] are daguerreotypist, Dr. Caspari and William West are not recorded in other photographic directories that I have access to.

Philadelphia Daguerreotype Establishment.  Exchange Building, Rooms 26 & 27.  The Subscribers, having procured the agency for the sale of Voigtander’s Daguerreotype Apparatus, constructed according to Professor Petzval’s calculation, have on hand a large assortment of these Apparatus, and artists as well as amateurs of their art, wishing to procure a good apparatus, will find it to their advantage to procure instruments of this construction.  They also have lately imported a large quantity of German and French plates, and all the chemicals used in their art, which they warrant in every respect, as they are made to their order.  Polishing substances, and morocco cases, and all necessary materials, are sold on the most reasonable terms.  The following gentlemen have agreed to act as their agents, viz:—                                                                                                                                      E. White, 175 Broadway, N. Y.                                                                                                                              P. Haas, Esq., Washington, D. C.                                                                                                                      Dr. A. Caspari, Richmond, Va.                                                                                                                              P. Laurens, Esq., Savannah, Ga.                                                                                                                  William West, Esq., Cincinnati, Ohio. Added to advertisement on June 22, 1843.

All communications (post paid) and orders, accompanied with remittance, will be promptly attended to, and should be directed to W. & F. Langenheim, Exchange Building, Phila.

The second advertisement ran on  October 17, 1843.  Peter Laurens has been replaced by Samuel Broadbent for the Southern States.  Philadelphia Daguerreotype Establishment.  Exchange Building, Rooms 26 & 27.  The Subscribers, has received a large supply of Voigtander’s celebrated Daguerreotype Apparatus, large and small sizes, with achromatic lenses made according to Professor Petzval’s calculation.

Also a new supply of the best plates and chemicals, which he warrants good and sells at reduced prices.  The following gentlemen have agreed to act as their agents, viz:—                E. White, 175 Broadway, N. Y. P. Haas, Esq., Washington, D. C. Dr. A. Caspari, Richmond, Va.  S. Broadbent, Esq., for the Southern States.  William West, Esq., Cincinnati, Ohio.

All communications (post paid) and orders, accompanied with remittance, will be promptly attended to, and should be directed to William Langenheim, Exchange Building, Phila.

[1] Active in Savannah, Georgia from 1843 until at least 1863.  Early Georgia Photographers, 1841 – 1861: a Biographical Checklist, Compiled by E. Lee Eltzroth.



Bossue was recorded in an advertisement for Tyler and Co. on April 14, 1857 on The Daily Dispatch (Richmond, Virginia.)  The Twenty Artist that Tyler & Co. employ are not mere pretenders in their business, but are regular educated gentlemen, calculated to excel in the fine arts and scientific results.  The ease and poetry of position, the life-like expressions of the features and eyes of the portraits, taken at 139 Main street, is not the effect of bungling mechanical doings, but of true artistic skill, seldom met with.  Bossue, the principal Artist of this famous establishment, has been the pioneer in Photography in Europe the last ten years.

Bossue is not recorded in other American photographic directories.  Of the hundreds of advertisements for Tyler & Co., this is the only one that mentions Bossue by name.

Louis J. Bossieux

Louis J. Bossieux was recorded on September 9, 1854 in an advertisement in The Daily Dispatch  (Richmond, Virginia.)  Wanted—To sell a Daguerrean Apparatus complete, with chemicals and stock.  It will be sold low and on a credit of six months.  Should a person purchase it ignorant of the art, they will be instructed.  Apply to Louis J. Bossieux.

Many question surround this entry for Bossieux.  Was he a dealer in Daguerrean equipment?  Did he somehow acquire the camera?  Or the probable scenario was that he a daguerreotypist selling his equipment and getting out of the business?  At this point this is pure speculation on my part.  There are no listing for Bossieux other photographic directories that I have checked, nor is he listed in Craig’s Daguerreian Registry.

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.

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…”

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