Saturday, February 8, 2020

George Downing

Photographer: George Downing
617 Kansas Ave
Topeka, Kans

George Downing
(17 May 1840 - 19 Feb 1908)

1840 May 17
born George Downend in Shelby, OH
Find-A-Grave bio: changes name to Downing when he enlists in army for civil war.
Topeka, KS, city directory as photographer with Knight’s Gallery
Find-A-Grave Bio: opens own studio
1875 Jun 04
Daily Commonwealth (Topeka, KS) news item Ragan and Downing photographers in the Union Hall block
1878 Mar 06 - 1878 Dec 15
Daily Commonwealth (Topeka, KS) more than 70 display ads in three versions run giving no studio address
1879 Apr 23
Daily Commonwealth (Topeka, KS) small display ad about legislative group photo
Topeka, KS, city directory as photographer at 197 Kansas av
1881 Dec 19 and 27
Topeka (KS) State Journal display ad photographer at 197 Kansas av

Topeka, KS, city directory as photographer at 197 Kansas av
1884 Sep 21
Topeka (KS) Daily Capital News Ad about redecorated gallery at 197 Kansas av
1884 Nov 20
Daily Commonwealth (Topeka, KS) small ad for studio at “197 over Barnum & Co store”
Topeka, KS, city directory as photographer at 197 Kansas av
1887 Apr 19
Topeka (KS) Daily Capital small mention of Downing photographer
1887 May 08
Topeka (KS) Daily Commonwealth classified ad no address
1890 Jun 21
Topeka (KS) State Journal display ad photographer at 617 Kansas av
1899 Aug 04 - 1900 Apr 13
Lecompton, (KS) Sun about 30 display ads at 617 Kansas av, Topeka, KS
1900 Jun 28 - 1900 Dec 28
Lecompton (KS) Sun about 20 display coupon ad
Find-A-Grave bio: apparently retires from photographer business

Topeka, KS, city directory still operating his studio at 617 Kansas av
1908 Feb 19
dies at 67 of the illness that forced him to retire

It was easy to confuse George Downing of Topeka, KS, with George D. Downing of Wichita, KS, who had a studio there, then became a detective for the Wichita police force for five or six years, then moved to Detroit, MI, to work for the Arthur Studio. He finally moved to New York to work for Eastman Kodak. He was about 35 years younger than the George Downing of Topeka, KS.

George Downing of Topeka, KS, opened his studio at 197 Kansas Street in 1874 and stayed in the same location until he retired around 1902. Then a re-numbering of Kansas ave in Topeka in about 1888 changed the studio address to 617 Kansas.

This cabinet card was most likely finished after 1888 and before 1901.

City Directory Ad - 1887

Topeka Daily Capital - Obituary

Topeka Daily Commonwealth - 04 Jun 1875

Topeka (KS) Daily Commonwealth - 21 Jul 1878

Topeka (KS) State Journal - 27 Dec 1881

Topeka (KS) Daily Capigal - 07 Jan 1885

photographer: Downing
617 Kansas Avenue, Topeka, KS
example from auction site
(finished after 1888)

photographer: Downing
Topeka, KS
example from auction site

photographer: Geo. Downing
Topeka, KS
example from auction site

Note that in all the examples on the left, the photograph is not squarely trimmed and centered on the mounting card.

This could be a characteristic of the work of George Downing, or it just could be the work of a particular assistant and a particular time.

The two examples at the right are by a Downing of Ardmore, Oklahoma Territory. No connection has been found to the George Downing of Topeka, KS.

The only similarity is the poor mounting on the first example. The second example is highly restored so it is hard to tell if it was mounted squarely or not.

This is most likely a different Downing as Topeka, KS, is nearly 400 miles from Ardmore, OK

These two cards were made before 16 Nov 1907 when Oklahoma became the 46th US state.

photographer: Downing
Ardmore, IT (Indian Territory)
example from auction site

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. For a look at the original postings go to LOST GALLERY.

Some examples on this page have been enhanced or restored for clarity and presentation here.

This page is free for educational and research purposes only but, as always, if the original owner of any of these examples objects to the use on this page, they will be immediately removed.

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