Photographers have been working in Fort Wayne since the first daguerreian
arrived in 1843. Some were itinerants who worked here only a short time before
moving on. Some had difficulty breaking into the business and were only here a
year or two. Some were amateurs who also held other jobs and did photography
from a studio in their homes. Others were skilled artists who were successful in
their field and produced some remarkable images, not only portraits but images
of the city.
As genealogists, it is important to be aware of the photographers who took
portraits of our ancestors. Many of the old cabinet-style photos of the last
century were embellished with the photographer's name and studio address.
Knowing when and where a photographer worked at a particular location can help
us date our family photographs. Indeed, many photographers who remained in Fort
Wayne for a long time moved their studios rather frequently, so knowing what
address appears on your photo can be a valuable dating clue.
Because of a long interest I have in portrait art - both painting and
photography - I endeavored to compile a directory
of all known photographers in Fort
Wayne from the earliest period up to 1930. I used census records, city
directories, obituaries, and other newspaper announcements to help supplement my
work. I hope it will be of use to you in dating your family photos. I am sure
that my list
is not complete. Many were missed in the city directories and a few
were here such a short time as to make no impression in the printed sources. I
would appreciate any updates or additions to the list.