If your ancestors did not write caption information on the back of old photographs, it can be difficult to tell when they were taken, and therefore figure out who might be in them.
But most old photographs were marked with the name of the photographer. So in order to help researchers pinpoint when certain photographers were in business, I have gleaned the information below from old Lincoln County newspapers. The first article below gives a lot of the history.
Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, March 14, 1935G.W. Phegley, photographer in Lincoln the past 24 years, is planning to move his studio from its present quarters over the Model Cash Grocery to the building now occupied by the Allen Plumbing company. Mr. Phegley purchased the plumbing building some time ago and plans to make it into one of the finest photograph studios in central Kansas. It will make him an ideal location, easily accessible and with splendid natural light.
The rooms being vacated by Mr. Phegley have been used as a photograph studio since 1888, when the first "gallery" was opened in Lincoln by G.E. Hutchison, now bonded abstractor. For 19 years, Mr. Hutchison was busy taking pictures of Lincoln residents, their babies, weddings and funerals. For in those days it was considered the proper procedure to have a picture made of the flowers banked against the casket.
After 19 years in the business, Mr. Hutchison was nominated and elected to the county office of Register of Deeds and sold his photograph equipment and supplies to James Shipley.
Two years later, in 1909, Mr. Shipley found greener pastures and the work of preserving faces on photographic paper in Lincoln was turned over to Mr. Yenser. He remained in the business for two years, selling out to Mr. Phegley who came here from Alton, Kan., in July 1911. Since he has been here, Mr. Phegley has added much new equipment, including the latest type electric lighting and developing methods.
Photo Gallery Here Since '88 Will Be Abandoned April 1
C. Nightingale (c. 1884-85)Listed in old business directories for Lincoln County; thanks to Sheryl McClure for this name.
Plasmyer (c. 1912)Listed in old business directories for Lincoln County; thanks to Sheryl McClure for this name.
N.B. Rees (c. 1880-1885)Rees took photos before and after those dates listed as well; he also did some stereotype work; I've seen one he took and its stamp said "Lincoln, Kan." but it was definitely not take in Lincoln. He was listed in old business directories for Lincoln County; thanks to Sheryl McClure for this name.
J.M. Shipley (1907-1909, circa 1912)In addition to the mentio in the article above, Mr. Shipley was found listed in old business directories for Lincoln County indicating he was working around 1912; thanks to Sheryl McClure for this name.
U.S. Davis (???-1888)From the Lincoln Democrat, 23 August 1888: U.S. Davis expects to remove his photograph gallery to Mercelene, Mo., in a short time.
From the Lincoln Democrat, 13 September 1888: U.S. Davis, who departed for Missouri last week, sent a telegram back enquiring if he could rent his old rooms again, but he was too late, as Pinkerton & Bower had rented them to a Mr. Hutchinson of Beloit, who will soon open up a photograph gallery. This ought to be a warning to those who are now leaving, and cause them to take precautionary measures by retaining the right to their old places for a time, for they will all return to sunny Kansas before long.
From the Lincoln Republican, Jan. 16, 1890: U.S. Davis, who was the photographer here for several years, is now located at Linneus, Mo., and is doing well. He orders The Republican continued to his address.
Hutchison’s (1888-1906)George Hutchison opened a studio in Lincoln in 1888, immediately after his marriage, and remained in the photography business until 1906, when he was elected Register of Deeds. He worked at a variety of professions after his term expired but apparently never returned to photography. He died in 1949.
Shipley’s (1903-09) James Shipley came to Lincoln from Lucas in 1903. From the Lincoln Republican, Oct. 22, 1903:
"James Shipley of Lucas has bought the old Baptist church and will move it onto the lot where the tent stands, just east of the Farmers’ Home hotel and will remodel it and convert it into a photograph gallery. Mr. Shipley is a good artist and a good businessman and we welcome him to the business circles of Lincoln."
Phegley’s (1911-1942)G.W. Phegley came to Lincoln in 1911 from Alton, Kan., and opened a studio, which he operated until his death in November 1942.
From his obituary in the Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, Nov. 19, 1942: "He was a careful workman, proud of his ability to produce a true likeness of his subjects on photographic paper. While he took many indiviual pictures, he especially enjoyed making photographs of groups, many of his wedding pictures being unusually artistic. Family gropus were also to his liking and he was always careful to see that each individual was placed to the best advantage before the picture was snapped."
Phegley received his training at the Illinois School of Photography and got his start in Glen Elder, Kan.
Cottage Studio (1904-??)This studio seems to have been started by Ed Bradbury (son of H.C. Bradbury) in 1904, but in August 1905 it had apparently been taken over by J.M. Shipley. He was still calling it the Cottage Studio at that point.
Shideler’s (??-1894)I do not know when Shideler opened his studio in Lincoln, but he left in the summer of 1894. From the Lincoln Republican of Aug. 2, 1894: "Otto Shideler has purchased a photograph gallery at Burlington, Kansas, and moved his family there. Mr. Shideler is a hustling business man, one we could ill afford to lose. We bespeak for him success in his new home. "
This is Mr. Shideler's obituary, from the Lincoln Sentinel-Republican, Jan. 31, 1946:
E.O. Shideler, Blackwell, Okla., a former resident of this community, died Wednesday, Jan. 23, at his home in Blackwell, following an illness of five years. He was 77 years of age.
Mr. Shideler was at one time in the implement business in Lincoln and later learned photographer under George E. Hutchison. For a number of years he had lived in Oklahoma. Surviving are his six children, 19 grandsons and one granddaughter, [and] other more distant relatives. His wife preceded him in death.
C.V. Peacock, a brother-in-law of Mr. Shideler, left Thursday for Blackwell and attended the funeral services there Friday afternoon. He returned to Lincoln Saturday night. The late Mrs. Shideler was a sister of the Peacock brothers.
Rev. A. Case (1895-??)
I have seen several mentions in the newspapers about Rev. Case taking photos, in particular group photos. This mention is from the Lincoln Republican, April 4, 1895: Rev. A. Case went out to the schools of Miss Alvena Nelson, John McCurdy and John Jennings and took photographs of the pupils in groups. We are told that he gave the highest satisfaction in each place.
Waldo Hancock (1905-??)
Mr. Hancock was a prominent Beverly businessman and I'm told he had a studio at one time. Exact dates are not known, but he was working at photography in 1905.
Miller Studio, Sylvan Grove
From the Sylvan Grove News, 1 August 1907, came this report: "H.G. Bearnes of Tescott was up Tuesday evening and closed the deal with Mrs. E.E. Miller for her photograph business. Mr. Bearnes has rented Mrs. Miller’s place and will take possession about the 21st of August. We understand that Mr. Bearnes is a good artist and will no doubt get all he can do at this place. He made some souvenir cards which are on sale at the drug store which are all O.K. Mrs. Miller will run the business till Mr. Bearnes comes to take charge."
More on Sylvan photographersIn July 1910, E.B. or A.B. Stolz (it appears several different ways) sold out the photo gallery in Sylvan to S.G. Morefield. S.G. was Stacy Morefield, who contracted pleurisy and died in May 1911. Later that month, a J.A. Hacker is mentioned in the Sylvan Grove News as taking over "the gallery." E.B. Stolz returned to the gallery in July 1911.
According to the Sylvan Grove News, 29 September 1927, "Miss Ivy Morgan has just opened a studio in the Dehler building west of the cozy Theater which would be a credit to a much larger town than Sylvan Grove. The building has been rearranged on the inside, giving a camera room 24 feet long, and a nice sized reception room. New floors were laid and all the woodwork painted in French gray and walls newly papered in gray. The curtains are of pongee. The developing and finishing rooms are downstairs. Miss Morgan has installed one of the newst and best 8x10 cameras for portrait work. She is a real artist in posing and retouching and painting, as all who have seen samples of her work know. Sylvan Grove is indeed fortunate in having a photographer of Miss Morgan's ability.
Sylvan Grove News, 4 January 1934 Between three and five thousand negatives destroyed by the fire which swept the Sylvan Studio Saturday forenoon in the most serious loss although other damages cannot be definitely estimated as the camera and other delicate equipment must be examined by experts. Some of the furniture and various properties were practically destroyed while some may be saved. The interior of the building is badly smoked and wood work, etc. charred.
The source of fire is unknown. Miss Morgan had been gone from the Studio perhaps 20 minutes and returned to find it burning. A small grey smoke coming from the roof was reported to Mrs. E.I. Morgan and she immediately started to go to the studio to investigate. Others had seen it by this time and the alarm was given. The fire department is to be commended on their response.
Both the building and equipment were insured.
Sylvan Studio is swept by fire
Johnny Waffles Johnny Waffles, the Studio Pup, better known as “Puppins,” lost his life Saturday in the fire at the Sylvan Studio probably being smothered in the dense smoke.
Puppins, a shaggy lovable little dog, was well known to the entire town as well as to many from surrounding towns who visited the studio, as he was the “Official Greeter” there. At the first sound of the outer door being opened he came bounding up the stairs, so pleased to see and be seen. Many an unwilling child has been helped to the “photograph mood” by the amusing antics of Puppins. He will be very sadly missed.
Sylvan Grove News, 18 January 1934 Miss Ivy Morgan is having her home remodeled to accommodate a portion of it to use as a studio and expects to announce her opening within two weeks time. Before opening within two weeks time. Before opening in the Dehler building, which was recently damaged by fire, Miss Morgan was located in her home but made the move because of lack of space but, when completed, the remodeling will provide ample facilities for taking practically any size of indoor group desired, to the best advantage. The many pleased patrons of the Sylvan Studio are eagerly waiting announcement of the opening and Miss Morgan expresses herself as always appreciating the generous and friendly support of people in Sylvan and surrounding territory and will be grateful for continued patronage.
From the Barnard Bee, 23 March 1922: People of Barnard and vicinity will be glad to learn that W.F. Knauer has purchased the old Feather Photo Gallery, which he expects to put in operation in the near future. The Gallery which has stood idle since 1916, is one of the old landmarks of the town and has been here for many years. Mr. Knauer expects to have an expert photographer come here for at least one day a week and take care of the business that will undoubtedly come to Barnard. He expects to have the Gallery open for business the latter part of April.
The Extra Finish stamp
One clue to dating photos is the Extra Finish stamp. Sheryl McClure also found this explanation: "The words "Extra Finish" (within a paint palette) was listed next to the name of the studio. The "Extra Finish" process was used, according to one website, from 1887-1894, and the stamp may have appeared on photographs for years after, depending
on how much the photographer had in stock and had to use up."
If you have further information on any of these photography studios, please contact the website coordinators.
Captions for Lincoln County Photographs
From the Lincoln Democrat, 1 March 1888: Our neighbor, J.A. Houston, of the photograph car, places us under obligations for a splendid photograph, in a group, of jurors in the Cleary trial, also the bailiffs in attendance. The faces and forms of the following gentlemen loom up in good shape therein: C.C. Sperry, Logan; J.K. Stevenson, Marion; S. Gamison, Battle Creek; George Toliver, Cedron; Oscar Gorton, Elkhorn; C.D. High, Golden Belt; M.W. Brownlee, Madison; Wm. Schroder, Logan; H. Johnston, Grant; Christ Kruse, Elkhorn; P.E. Percival, Logan; T. Rutledge, Marion; and Bailiffs George Boyle and C.C. Strawn.
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