Monday, November 27, 2017

Towles Studio


Towles Studios
65 1/2 Centre St.
Cumberland
Frostburg and Lonaconing, Md.

reverse of the card at the left

William Henry Towles (1871 - 1954)
Clarence Oscher Towles (1866 - 1937)

W H Towles and brother C O Towles appear to have been major players in their time, winning awards and serving as officers in photographer associations. One account mentions that William H owned all of the equipment used by Mathew Brady who died in 1896

W H Towles seems the more active of the two. Towles Studio was in three maybe four cities around the turn of the 19th century. A studio might have been managed by one or the other, both or neither. But “Towles Studio” is what will be printed on the card in most examples, without regard as to who was the actual photographer. Some cards might include the particular town name but most seem more generic by listing all the studios at the time such as: “Cumberland, Frostberg and Lonaconing, MD” as in the example here.

In the list below, the brother who was at the studio is included where it is documented. Note that even if neither of the brothers were present, the studio might have been managed by someone else and the cabinet card logo would still look the same.

Typical City Directory ad circa 1899


William H continues as a photographer most of his life from about 1891 to his death in 1954. Clarence starts at about 1891 but in 1901 he also begins working in the photographic supply business. Then in 1916 he quits the studio to travel for a photographic supply company. He dies in 1937

Baltimore, MD
1902, 1903
Clarence O Towles was living there but there are no records confirming he operated a studio there; by this time he was operating the J Sussman Photostock Company

Cumberland, MD
1890
NO listing
1891 - 1894
no directory available so it is unknown if there was a studio or not
1895
Towles Art Studio at 65 1/2 n Centre (apparently owned by William H, managed by Thomas Sidney)
1897
Towles Studio at 65 ½ N Centre; William H
1900
Towles Studio at 69 Decatur st; William H
1901, 1902
Towles Art Gallery at 115 Baltimore; both Clarence and William
No Cumberland listings after this date

District of Columbia
1897 - 1899
Towles Studio at 115 Baltimore, apparently owned by Clarence O and managed by William H
1906 & 1908
Towles Studio at 1107 “F” av nw; Clarence and William
1916 - 1920
Towles Studio at 1520 Connecticut av nw; William H
1927 - 1929
Towles Studio at 1526 Connecticut av nw; William H
1930 & 1931
No studio listed
1932
Towles Studio at 1526 Connecticut av nw; William H

Frostberg, MD
No city directories available
Time frame would be around 1895 to 1897, after 1897 the District of Columbia location would be included on the card

Lonaconing, MD
No city directories available
Time frame would be around 1895 to 1897, after 1897 the District of Columbia location would be included on the card

The cabinet card shown above was probably finished around 1895 to 1897.

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.

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