Monday, April 15, 2019

Franklin George Abell

Photographer: Abell & Priest
Bancroft Building
723 Market Street
S F Cal

Typical city directory ad

Franklin George Abell
(1844 - 20 Jul 1910)

All data from US census and city directories

born in Roscoe, Winnebago County, Illinois, on September 20
family moves to Petaluma CA
tries out working in the mining industry in eastern OR
returns to California to pursue a career in photography
1863 Oct 01
marries Catherine Celissa Lauder
1863 - 1872
joins the gallery of William Shew to learn photography
1879 1882
opens own gallery 167-169 First Portland, OR
1884 - 1887
gallery operates as Abell and Son, 29 Washington, Portland, OR
returns to San Francisco, CA, to open a gallery
1889 - 1891
returns to San Francisco, CA, where he and Charles F. Priest open gallery at 723 Market
US census finds him back in Portland, OR
marries second wife Viola Baker in Orange, CA
1906 - 1907
opens a new gallery at 724 Johnson in Portland, OR
1908 - 1910
moves gallery to 631 Provident, Tacoma, WA
dies in Tacoma, WA, at age 64 and is buried in Portland, OR

Charles F. Priest
(6 Jun 1852 - 5 Mar 1916)

All data from San Francisco, CA, city directories and US census

Priest born in Massachusetts
now living in San Francisco, CA
1873 - 1874
as carpenter for stepfather William H. Smith; res 730 Folsom, San Francisco, CA
1875 - 1878
as carpenter for stepfather William H. Smith; res 1033 Howard, San Francisco, CA
US census says working as carpenter, city directory says working as machinist; res 18 ½ Rausch, San Francisco, CA

as brushmaker living at 18 ½ Rausch, San Francisco, CA
1882 - 1883
as brushmaker living at 323 Minna, San Francisco, CA
Marries Frances C Lauder
as carpenter again; res 427 9th, San Francisco, CA
1889 - 1891
as photographer with Franklin George Abell at 723 Market, top floor, San Francisco, CA
as photographer at 723 Market but Abell is not mentioned
1897 - 1900
as photographer at 2518 Mission, San Francisco, CA
1901 - 1915
as photographer at 2532 Mission, San Francisco, CA
Priest dies in San Francisco, CA, age 63

A very detailed review of Franklin George Abell's life is at Historic Photo Archive

This cabinet card must have been finished in that short time between 1889 and 1891 when Abell and Priest worked together in San Francisco, CA.

photographer Abell and Son
29 Washington St. Portland, OR
Example from auction site

reverse of card on the left

Photographer Abell and Sons
29 Washington Street,
Take the Elevator
example from auction site

Photographer Abell and Sons
29 Washington Street,
Take the Elevator
example from auction site

Photographer Abell and Sons
29 Washington Street,
Take the Elevator
example from auction site

photographer: Abell and Sons
29 Washington Street
example from Flickr member Suvari

The cards imprinted Abell and Son would have been finished between 1884 and 1887.
Update 13 Aug 2018

Photographer: Abell, Portland, OR
example from Ken on Flickr

photographer: Abell
Portland, OR
example from auction site

photographer: Abell
(No location imprinted)
example from, source unknown

photographer: Abell and Priest
723 Market Street, San Francisco, CA
example from auction site

reverse of card at the left

Not the one you were looking for? Here's the photographer's INDEX by name.

Listed here are all the Cabinet Card photographers of the 19th century found in LOST GALLERY.

This is a work in progress.


  1. Hi, I have a picture of a relative in our family bible, and don't know who it is of, wondering if there are any old records kept from the Abel & Priest days. The picture is of the turn of the century I'm guessing, a portrait.

    1. Thanks for your note.

      Your photograph would be from that short period Abell and Priest worked together, 1889-1891. By 1896 they had apparently parted ways.

      In most cases the records and negatives of the early photographers are lost to neglect and natural disaster. And some photographer’s records passed on to descendants who may or may not have preserved them. Those records that the photographer didn’t destroy when retiring, were often passed on to another photographer. Reprints were a good business. When Abell moved back to Portland, he probably left their negatives and records with Priest, in San Francisco.

      Any photographer’s records from that period that actually still exist are most likely in the hands of a local historical society or museum. In this case, The San Francisco Historical Society or the California Historical Society would be a good place to look.

      Something else to consider is that cabinet cards were often sold by the dozen. It is possible that there are eleven other copies of that photo in the hands of someone in another branch of your family tree.

      Get a good scan of the complete card (no cropping) and publish it in as many places as you can. I will add it to the Abel and Priest page if you wish. Consider some of the photo sharing sites such as Flickr and Facebook. Tags and descriptions will get the photo onto Google searches. Good luck in your search. Let me know if you find anything.


Old stuff here...

About Me

My photo
I am 4' 3", eat small insects, dress in the dark and take annual showers.