by John

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.