Thursday, July 18, 2019

Studio LeGrande of Lincoln, NE

photographer: Studio Le Grande
124 S 12th St, Lincoln, NE
Probably finished sometime in 1891

Jefferson Grant Speake
(1864 - ?)

Many of the photographers of the cabinet card era were upstanding citizens, involved in civic and social affairs in their communities. Many of them grew very rich through investments and real estate transactions. And hard work. J Grant Speake does not appear to have been such a photographer.

He changed the name of his studio at least four times. He changed partners at least three times. He moved around a lot. And he was jailed at one time for trying to bilk some customers out of their money by not delivering their ordered prints. He was apparently saved from a jail term by his wife who finished up photographs while J Grant Speake was in jail, and delivered the merchandise to the complaining customers.


1863 Nov
Iowa, Jefferson Grant Speak is born to Thomas J Speake and Mary Ellen Chambers

1880 Jun 01
Vinton, IA, US census J G Speake age 16 is living with parents as farm labor
Vinton, IA, State census, J G Speake no occupation shown; still living with parents
1886 Jul 02
Benton County, IA, state records L G Speake marries Hattie E Walton; Marriage license says J G Speake is a photographer
1890 May or June
According to later death notices, apparently twins are born to J G Speake and wife Hattie
1890 Aug 08
Nebraska State Journal small item telling of death of a child of Mr. and Mrs. J Grant Speake
1890 Aug 16
Lincoln (NE) State Journal small item telling of death of three month old child, “second death in two weeks”
1890 Sep 11
Nebraska State Journal item mentions J Grant Speake of Sunbeam Studio
Lincoln, NE, city directory, J G Speake listed as Artist; ad for Le Grande studio at 124 s Twelfth

1891 May 18,
Nebraska State Journal item tells of the dissolution of partnership of J G Speak and J A Morrow; studio at 124 Twelfth street known as J A Morrow and Company
1891 Jul 25, 26
Lincoln (NE) Evening Call item says that the partnership of Morrow and Speake is now dissolved and J A Morrow is retiring. J Grant Speake will continue the business.
1891 Oct 28
Lincoln (NE) Evening Call item says J Grant Speake is at Le Grand Studio
1892 Feb 02, 1892 Feb 13
Lincoln (NE) Journal Star item mentions Pierson and Speake at Capital Studio, 124 Twelfth Street; no Pierson as photographer has been found
1892 Aug 04
Lincoln (NE) Evening Call item says J G Speake, photographer, has moved from 124 Twelfth Street to 1026 South Twelfth Street
1892 Aug and Sep
Lincoln (NE) Evening Call several small ads for J G Speake studio at 1026 O Street

1892 Nov 26
Nebraska State Journal small ad for someone to learn retouching at Speake’s studio, 1026 O Street
Lincoln, NE, city directory J Grant Speake as photographer at 1026 O Street
1893 Jun 03
Lincoln (NE) Journal Star a rather garbled news item says W L Prewitt has taken over the studio at 1026 O Street while Speake has moved to St Joseph, MO; Speake has apparently left town owing money
1893 Sep 08
St Joseph (MO) Herald item says J G Speake formerly of Lincoln, NE, has purchased a photo gallery at 717 Edmond from L G Bigelow
1893 Dec 29
Lincoln (NE) Evening Call a small display ad says W L Prewitt has studio at 1026 O Street
St Joseph, MO, city directory J G Speak listed as photographer at 717 Edmond
1894 Feb 22 through 1894 May 19
Nebraska State Journal small ads put W L Prewitt at 1026 O Street

St Joseph, MO, city directory J Grant Speake as photographer at 717 Edmund
1897 Mar 27
St Joseph (MO) News Press Gazette item says J Grant Speake and brother W A Speake were arrested for alleged bunco scheme
1897 Apr 02
Sedalia (MO) Democrat item says Speake case of obtaining money by false representation is continued
1897 Apr 13
St Joseph (MO) News Press Gazette item says J G Speak has been acquitted by a jury at Warsaw, MO
1897 Apr 15
Windsor (MO) Review news item says Mrs. J G Speake and Miss Adams finished up negatives and delivered the pictures fulfilling the Speake Bros contracts; (Note this is probably why the two brothers were acquitted and released)
Omaha, NE, city directory J G Speake is listed as retoucher for H S Emory gallery

1900 Jun 06
Omaha, NE, US census J G Speake is listed as photographer; res 2706 s 18th
Omaha, NE, city directory J Grant Speake as clerk; res 2409 Hamilton
Omaha, NE, city directory J Grant Speake as Operator for H S Emory gallery
Denver, CO, city directory J Grant Speake as “cigars” 409 15th; res 3821 Homer Blvd
Denver, CO, city directory J Grant Speake as retoucher; 2804 Downing Avenue; not listed in business section
Denver, CO, city directory, J Grant Speake NOT listed

Sometime between 1905 and 1910, Jefferson Grant Speake dies. No documentation has been found as yet. After 1904 he either died or changed his location again. Neither Jefferson Grant Speake nor his wife, Hattie E Walton, have been found in those years.

Omaha, NE, city directory Nina Speake as widow of J Grant Speake
1944 Jun 22
Davenport (IA) Quad City Times item says Hattie, former wife of J Grant Speake, has died;

So there are records that show J Grant Speake was operating at 124 Twelfth Street from May of 1891 through August of 1892. An 1891 city directory ad shows that the studio was called “Le Grand” at least at press time for the directory.

A Newspaper item from 04 August 1892 says that J G Speake has moved from 124 South Twelfth to 1026 O Street.

It is only a guess but the studio might have been called “Le Grand” only in that brief period between July of 1891 and February of 1892.

Lincoln, NE, city directory ad for 1891

Nebraska State Journal - 08 Aug 1890

Lincoln NE State Journal - 16 Aug 1890

Nebraska State Journal - 18 May 1891

Lincoln (NE) Evening Call - 26 Jul 1891

Lincoln (NE) Evening Call - 28 Oct 1891

Lincoln (NE) Journal Star - 13 Feb 1892

Lincoln (NE) Evening Call - 04 Aug 1892

Lincoln (NE) Evening Call - 05 Aug 1892

Lincoln (NE) Evening Call - 14 Aug 1892

Nebraska State Journal - 26 Nov 1892

Lincoln (NE) Journal Star - 03 Jun 1893

St Joseph (MO) Herald - 08 Sep 1893

Lincoln (NE) Evening Call - 29 Dec 1893

St Joseph (MO) News Press Gazette - 27 Mar 1897

Windson (MO) Review - 01 Apr 1897

Sedalia (MO) Democrat - 02 Apr 1897

Sedalia (MO) Democrat - 08 Apr 1897

St Joseph (MO) News Press Gazette - 13 Apr 1897

Windsor (MO) Review - 15 Apr 1897

Aberdeen (WA) Herald - 22 Jul 1907

Custer County (WA) Republican - 28 Nov 1907

Aberdeen (WA) Herald - 21 Nov 1907
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