Monday, March 19, 2018

Frederick Willard Curtiss



Photographer: F W Curtiss, Madison, Wis
(F W Curtiss was the son of
photographer E R Curtiss)


Here is an example of what happens when cabinet cards are stacked together for decades, undisturbed in a shoe box on the top shelf of the closet. The image of a photograph in the stack transfers to the reverse of the next image in the stack.

Frederick Willard Curtiss
(1860 - 1943)

Sources: city directories, US census, newspaper items as shown

1860 Feb 11

Madison, WI, Frederick Willard Curtiss is born to Edwin Rodney Curtiss and Eva A. Lingenfelter
1866
Madison, WI, city directory Edward R Curtis, photographist, badger block, Pinckney; res west canal n Mifflin; F W Curtiss NOT listed
1868, 1871, 1873, 1875, 1877
Madison, WI, city directory F W Curtiss NOT listed; father E R Curtiss listed at over 42 Pinkney; res 31 Canal
1880
Madison, WI, city directory, as photographer; bds cor Mifflin and w Canal (works for father, E R Curtiss)
1883
Madison, WI, city directory as operator at E R Curtiss; res ss State 4 e Gilman
1885
Madison, WI, city directory as operator at E R Curtiss; res 404 n Henry
1886, 1888
Madison, WI, city directory as operator at E R Curtiss; res sw cor N Hancock and Muffin

1890
Madison, WI, city directory as operator at E R Curtiss; res 317 E Mifflin
1894
Madison, WI, city directory; business pages only as photographer at 23 e Main, 2nd fl; res pages 97 through 112 are unavailable; Edwin R Curtiss as photographer at Pioneer blk
1896, 1898
Madison, WI, city directory as photographer at 3rd fl 23 E Main; res e Mifflin
1900, 1902, 1904, 1907
Madison, WI, city directory as photographer at 4th fl 108 State; res e Mifflin
1909, 1911, 1914
Madison, WI, city directory as photographer 4th fl 108 State; res Adams
1916
Madison, WI, city directory as photographer; res 2010 Adams; not listed in business pages
1917
Madison, WI, city directory res listing only; 2010 Adams
1918 Feb 24
Wisconsin State Journal newspaper ad stating that the Reierson Studio is in possession of all of the negatives from E R and F W Curtiss studios. This might indicate that both have retired.


1919
Madison, WI, city directory res listing only 123 e Gorham
1920 Jul 31
Wisconsin State Journal newspaper ad indicates that the negatives from E R and FW Curtiss are back in the possession of F W Curtiss.
1921, 1923
Madison, WI, city directory res listing only 123 e Gorham
1925
Madison, WI, city directory as artist; res listing only 123 e Gorham
1927, 1929
Madison, WI, city directory as photographer; res listing only 123 e Gorham
1930
Madison, WI, US census: It appears the enumerator just skipped 123 e Gorham for the 1930 census. Although Frederick Curtiss and wife Katherine and her sister E Estelle Abbott were together at 123 Gorham in the 1940 census, the 1929 and 1931 Madison, WI, city directories, none of the three names can be found in the 1930 census.
1931, 1933, 1935, 1937, 1939
Madison, WI, city directory as photographer; res listing only 123 e Gorham

1940
Madison, WI, US census as no occupation listed; res 123 Gorham
1941
Madison, WI, city directory NOT listed
1943
Madison, WI, city directory NOT listed
1943 Jul 13
Madison, WI, F W Curtiss dies at age 83

It appears that FW Curtiss worked in his father’s studio until about 1894.
His own studio was at:
23 e Main in 1894 through 1898.
108 State in 1900 through 1914
Then from 1916 on he is not listed in the business pages, giving only his home address of 123 Gorham. He could have been working out of his home address after 1914, as many of the early photographers did, but the city directory listings do not indicate this.

The cabinet card in this collection shows no address so it could have been done any time between 1894 and 1914. The design of the card would indicate 1895 or after.

Wisconsin State Journal - 24 Feb 1918

Wisconsin State Journal - 31 Jul 1920

Wisconsin State Journal - 14 Jul 1943


Wisconsin State Journal - 25 Jul 1943

Wisconsin State Journal - 21 Dec 1946

Wisconsin State Journal - 31 Jan 1921

Actually, the above is probably not exactly accurate. The city directories indicate the studio was already located at 108 State in 1900. The studio remained at that address until 1914.


Example from auction site
Dating of an example like the above will not be very accurate as no studio address is shown and indeed, WHICH Curtiss is not indicated.

It should be noted that there were at least four other photographers of the era named Curtiss.
Curtiss, Frank H, New Haven, CT
Curtiss, Nathan S, Syracuse, NY
Curtiss, Charles E, New Haven, CT
Curtiss, D A, Port Byron, IL

Nathan Selah Curtis, photographer in Syracuse, NY, was the brother of Edwin Rodney Curtiss. Edwin Rodney Curtiss was the father of Frederick Willard Curtiss, the photographer reviewed on this page.


Example from PhotoTree
This card is by E R Curtiss, father of Frederick Willard Curtiss, reviewed on this page


photographer: F W Curtiss
Madison, WI
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.

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