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Langdon's List of 19th & Early 20th Century Photographers

Photographers Blog

Theodore A. Brown, Lisle W. Brown and Anna J. Brown, photographers, Marshalltown, Iowa

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 20, 2011 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)


This is an authentic antique cabinet photo of three unidentified graduates. These lady scholars are in fluffy white dresses with neck ribbons and high collars. The girl standing has a neck chain with a gold locket or brooch. The seated lady on the left has a double neck chain and the one on the right has a satin ribbon sash with fringe. All three have lily of the valley sprays and their diplomas.


The image measures 3¾ inches by 5½ inches and is on a whitecard board mount with a gold pinstripe around the image and rounded corners and overall measures 4¼ inches by 6½ inches. The artists' mark is below the image in gold and the reverse is blank.

Using Federal and State Census Records and City Directories, it is possible to follow an early American photographer Theodore A. Brown from 1860 to 1920, and his son Lisle W. Brown, from birth in 1875 until the latter's death in Seattle, Washington in 1940.

On the 1900 Federal Census for Iowa, in Marshalltown, Marshall County, are two photographers named Brown. Living together at No. 19 West Main Street, the same address as on the one printed on the photo, are: Theodore A. Brown, photographer, born July 1851 in Illinois, and his son, Lisle W. Brown, photographer, born October 1875 in Illinois. Anna J. Brown who is listed with them is the second wife of Theodore A. Brown. Later in 1920, Anna J. Brown was working as a photographer with her husband. It is noted on the 1910 Federal Iowa Census that they married around 1900 and that it was Theodore A. Brown’s second marriage (and so she is not the mother of Lisle W. Brown.)

On the 1880 Federal Census for Iowa, in Marshalltown and Marshall County is Theodore Brown, photographer, born about 1851 in Illinois.With him are his first wife Alice Brown, born about 1853 in Ohio, his son, Lisle Brown, born about 1875 in Illinois and daughter Edith Brown, born about 1878 in Iowa.

On the 1885 Iowa State Census, Lisle W. Brown is eight years old and in school. By the 1900 Federal Iowa Census, he is working as a photographer with his father. According to the 1905 Iowa State Census, Lisle W. Brown was no longer with his father T. A. Brown and wife at 506 W. Main in Marshalltown in 1905.

There is a military record for a man named Lisle W. Brown who served in the Iowa National Guard. There is record of service for a Lisle W. Brown in the Spanish American War. When Company H of the 49th Iowa National Guard was organized in Marshalltown, Iowa on 4 June 1897 by Captain R. N. Darley and Lieutenant Charles S. Aldrich, Lisle W. Brown is listed at the rank of First Sergeant. In 1904, a Lisle W. Brown served as Regimental Sergeant Major in Company M of the Iowa National Guard.

On the 1910 Federal Iowa Census Theodore A. Brown, Artistic Photographer, born about 1851 in Illinois, is in Marshalltown, Marshall Co., IA. He and Anna Brown are rooming with George C. Hixson on 12 South Fifth Avenue.

In 1920, Theodore A. Brown, photographer with a studio, was enumerated in Bellingham, Whatcom County, Washington. He and Anna J. Brown are living and working together as photographers at 609 16th.They owned the structure free and clear. [See last two paragraphs.]

Lisle W. Brown and wife Nona M. Brown are listed on the 1910 Federal Census for Wisconsin in Dane County, in Madison.Their address was 1017 W. Johnston St. and they apparently married about 1907. An infant daughter Eleanor was born in 1910 in Wisconsin. This census lists Lisle W.Brown's occupation as Photographer at the University. The 1911 Madison Wisconsin City Directory has the couple living in Madison and his occupation is University Photographer and again on the 1920 Federal Wisconsin Census, he is listed as Photographer U. of Wisconsin.

By the 1923 Seattle Washington City Directory, Lisle W. Brown and Nona S. Brown are listed at 6313 10th Avenue NE. On the 1930 Washington Federal Census in Seattle, King County, Lisle W. Brown, his wife and daughter appear. He was working as a Demonstratorfor Eastman Kodak in Seattle. Lisle W. Brown died 27 September 1940 in Seattle, Washington. (See Washington State Deaths)

The 1860 Illinois Federal Census lists a Theodore Brown who washe son of John Brown, a farmer, who was born about 1815 in Denmark, and his wife Joanna Brown born about 1818 in Denmark.They were enumerated in Livingston County, Newtown Township; the Post Office was New Michigan. At that time, Theodore Brown was 10 years old, born Illinois, he is at school and he had a brother John Brown aged about 11 also born in Illinois.

In 1850, John Brown born 1815 in Denmark was a Painter in Stark County, Illinois. His wife was Joanna born about 1818 in Denmark . At that time they had three children: Mary D. Brown, born about 1842, Elizabeth J. Brown, born about 1844 and John Brown, born about 1849 in Illinois, who corresponds to son, John Brown on the 1860 Illinois Census. John Brown, born1815 in Denmark is also listed as a Painter in Adams, LaSalle County, Illinois on the 1870 Federal Census.


Orlando B. Richardson, Photographer of Cambridge, MA

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 7, 2011 at 5:39 PM Comments comments (0)

When it began this search was for more information about this carte de visite which has the 1860's look and the only information on the back: “Richardson, Lowell, Mass.”


This type of photo image, a vignette portrait and the style of the CDV place this in the 19th century. The characteristics of the card: the size of the card (about 2 1/4" x 4"), the cream colored thin cardboard mount with square corners and a plainly printed photographer's back mark places this unidentified young lady in the 1860's. Her hair parted in the center and with a cascade of long sausage curls, the day dress which has a high collar with a little white ruffle and tiny buttons down the front were fashionable around the time of the American Civil War. If there was tax stamp on the back, it might be more precisely dated to the Civil War years, we must settle for Civil War Era and/or the 1860's. ,


The search did not prove exactly whose studio produced this particular carte, Beginning the search using Federal Census records for Lowell, MA, I did not find a photographer named Richardson living and working in Lowell, Massachusetts in the1860’s. It seems though that there was a photographer named Orlando B. Richardson who first appears as a Photographer on the 1870 Massachusetts Census in Middlesex County in Cambridge’s Second Ward. The photographer was 28 years old and married to Malvinia S. Richardson. The young couple had a personal estate of $7,000 and were living in the same household with John Wilder, a wealthy real estate agent, his wife Persis D.Wilder and son Albert F. Wilder.

In 1860, Orlando B. Richardson aged 17 is living and working with Mary A. Richardson, a widow who is farming in Middlesex Co.

In 1880, Orlando B. Richardson, Photographer, is enumerated on the Middlesex County, MA Census in Somerville. His address is 142 Clarendon Avenue. His wife is Malvinia and the children are: Edith W. Richardson, Albert W. Richardson, Persis E. Richardson and Madeline Richardson who was born in June 1879.


In 1900, Orlando B.Richardson surfaces on the other side of the dark period of the lost 1890 Census, but he is working as a boot and shoe salesman. He and daughter Edith W. Richardson, a teacher of drawing and design, are living at 8 Warland Street in Cambridge.  On the 1900 census, Orlando B. Richardson and his wife each indicate they are married, but they are living apart., Daughter is  Edith W. living with her father and the remaining children are living with Malvinia Richardson: Persis C., Madaline, Odline, Albert W. and two younger children.Their son, Albert W. Richardson says he has been married 6 years, so the two youngsters Leslie and Roland may be Albert's children.


In 1910, Orlando B.Richardson, boot and shoe salesman and his daughter Edith W., an architectural draftsman are still living at 8 Warland Street with William A. Thomas and family.

Now for the family historian in you, here is other Bio compiled using Massachusetts Federal Census records:

Orlando B. Richardson was born April 1842 in Massachusetts and Malvinia S. Richardson born March 1844 in New Hampshire.

The 1850 Census shows that Orlando B. Richardson is likely the son of: George B. Richardson, who was born about 1807 in Maine, a Dealer in Ice and Fruit with $4,600 of personal estate in West Cambridge, Middlesex Co. ,Massachusetts. In 1850  George B. Richardson’s wife was Mary A. Richardson, born about 1814 in Massachusetts and the children listed were: George E., Orlando B., Elenor W., Francis E. and Ella R. Richardson.


On both the 1850 and 1860 Censuses, Samuel Wilson born 1787 and Mary A. Wilson born about 1792-1794, both in Mass. are living in Mary A. Richardson’s household.



It cannot be proven at this time with this information and the image to prove that the above cdv was taken by Orlando B. Richardson.

Crawford & Huston, Photographers of Morris, Illinois

Posted by LangdonRoad on February 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Carte de Visite (CDV) of an unidentified Illinois family in the city of Morris in Grundy County. They posed at the studio of: "Crawford & Huston, Photo. Artists, Morris, Ill."

The image measures 2¼ inches by  3¾ inches and is mounted on a heavy white card with a pink back which overall is 2½ by x 4 1/8 inches


On the 1880 Federal Census for Grundy County, Illinois, are the two photographers Crawford & Huston living at different addresses in the city of Morris. William Crawford, Photographer, born about 1858 in IL, is boarding with Catharine Crawford. In 1880,[Albert] Berta Crawford is working as an Editor and also living with Catherine Crawford. On the 1870 Census also in Morris is James H. Crawford, Photographer, born about 1833 in NY and his wife Catherine. Albert and William Crawford are children. In 1860, in Dixon, Lee County, Illinois, is James H. Crawford, Artist, born about 1833 NY with Catherine and his children.

In 1870 in the household next door to James H. Crawford and family is: Joseph Even, Photographer, born about 1826 in Luxembourg.


Dewitt Huston, Photographer, of Crawford & Huston, was born about 1851 in IL, and was living on Liberty Street with his wife, Anna C. Huston. He was the son of Charles Huston, a mail carrier and Mary J. Huston.


Source: Federal Censuses