Abell, Frank G. (Portland, Eugene)

Frank G. Abell  (1844-1910)

George L. Abell  (1866-?)

Abell & Son, Abell-Herrin Co., Abell & Welsh

Ashland, Jacksonville, Roseburg, Cottage Grove, Creswell, Eugene, Portland.

1857-1877. Frank Abell arrived in California in 1857 and after a few years in school he started out as a gold miner. He began photography around 1862 in San Francisco working at William Shew’s gallery. By 1866, he had opened his first gallery but it soon folded. Abell went back to work for Shew until 1874. He then formed a partnership with J. O. Welsh, called Abell & Welsh, and they traveled around California operating temporary galleries in Grass Valley, Red Bluff, and Yreka until 1876. They arrived in Ashland in November 1876 and spent the winter there, carrying their gallery to Jacksonville once. In the spring of 1877 they moved to Roseburg for two months.   In early July, 1877, Abell & Welsh leased the Eugene photography gallery of J. A. Winter (q.v.). While Abell and his family worked the Eugene gallery, J. O. Welsh took the mobile tent gallery on the road and traveled to Cottage Grove in August and Creswell in September. Business in Eugene was good and they hired A. L. Jackson (q.v.) as an apprentice. Eugene was an agricultural community, and Abell advertised he took wheat in payment. Winter’s lease on the Eugene gallery expired on October 15, 1877, and the partnership of Abell & Welsh then dissolved.

1878: Frank Abell and his family moved to Portland where he opened a photo studio around February 10, 1878. It was in the old Bosco & Megler (q.v.) studio in Monastes’ building on the west side of First St. between Morrison and Yamhill (Bosco & Megler had gone out of business two years earlier. Buchtel (q.v.) bought the equipment and gave Bosco a job. Dennie Hendee (q.v.) leased the studio. Abell bought out Hendee.) Abell lost no time promoting his gallery and by September was considered one of Portland’s elite artists. Abell made fashionable new styles of photographs, including “Paris Panels” (4 x 8.25″ vertical portraits) and photos on porcelain (watch dials, for example). In September, Abell competed with Portland’s top photographer for the prizes at the Oregon State Fair. Abell’s rival was Joseph Buchtel (q.v.), an established pioneer who had had personally organized the first Oregon State Fair pavilion in 1861. The Oregonian’s review noted that Buchtel’s display “was favored by the best position and light.” Buchtel won four prizes, and Abell scored two, which were the premiums for best retouching and best display of Cartes-de-Visites. By November, Abell had five employees working at his studio full time. George Davies (q.v.) was the printer, H. D. Kay (q.v.) was the photographer, Mort McClaire (q.v.) was the retoucher, Abell’s wife Fannie was the receptionist and likely his 12 year old daughter Emily was the fifth employee. Abell himself did portrait sittings and handled outside photography assignments, including school portraits, field work and stereoscopic views using his wet-plate wagon.

1879. Abell remodeled his studio with new carpeting and furniture. In the camera room the skylight was lowered to provide more illumination and enlarged, which allowed reflectors to be more effective. Exposure times for portraits were about 4 seconds or more so these improvements made a big difference. He also devised a siphon to provide fresh water in the print washing sink, which greatly reduced the subsequent fading of his prints. He advertised “larger heads” on his cabinet card portraits. Portrait lenses at the time were of the Petzval design, and in order to get a larger head on your negative, you had to select a longer focal length (moving the camera closer to the subject to get a bigger head was not an option because the perspective would exaggerate the size of a persons nose and reduce the apparent size of their ears.) These long lenses required large studios, and Abell’s was not less than 30 feet. The studio had several dressing rooms for customers to arrange themselves. The parlor was elegantly furnished, and included a grand piano. In July, Abell estimated he had made 100,000 cabinet card portraits in the year and a half since he established his Portland studio. The number is misleading because he sold portraits by the dozen, but that figure is still an average of over 100 sittings per week or over 15 per day. In September, Abell personally subsidized the construction and painting expenses of the photography exhibit area in the Oregon State Fair, and won 13 first prizes for photography and portraits. The winning portrait was of Portland’s mayor Newberry.

1880. Abell traveled to Eugene to photograph the graduating class of the University of Oregon. Even though he had moved out of the city two and a half years before, he still advertised in the Eugene Register-Guard and the news column noted his success in Portland. In May, Abell was elected Vice President of the photographer’s association and chosen to represent them at a Chicago photographers’ conference. He was an officer of the AOUW lodge, a member of the Multnomah Rod and Gun club, and also a volunteer fireman. He continued to innovate in portraiture, and offered “living statues,” created by posing the customer with their head protruding from a cast plaster statue front. Another novelty was his trick-photography “bino-graphs”. The subject is photographed twice by double-exposing the plate with a half-disc in front of the lens — thus two different images of a customer would be on the finished print and these generally were the subject appearing to be greeting himself or some other impossible situation.   Business continued to improve, and the Abells were able to move their residence from the studio to their own house on Yamhill and West Park (now 9th)

1881 may have been a peak year for Abell. On July 2nd he won the Gold Medal in photography at the Oregon State Agricultural Society exhibit. He traveled to San Francisco and Detroit. Newspapers noted his attendance at fashionable balls in their society columns. His photography displays at the State Fair and the Mechanic’s Fair were prize winners. He wrote his personal recipe for making collodian wet-plate negatives. Abell’s “Practical Instruction for the Novice” was the lead article in the 1881 Wilson’s photography annual, published in Philadelphia.

1882-1887. The Abells moved their residence back into the studio in 1882. In 1883 they moved both their studio and residence to 29 Washington, in the Labbe building, which was on the north-east corner of Washington at Second. He renamed the studio Abell & Son to include his 16 year-old son George. This studio was much larger, and Abell claimed it was the largest studio west of Chicago.

In late 1883, a photographer named William Partridge (q.v.) began working for Abell. The son of a Boston daguereotyper, William was the past secretary of the Boston Camera Club and likely had some connection with the Blair camera company. At age 23, William had first-hand knowledge of the latest developments in the industry and was well-connected. His two older brothers were both photographers, Sam Partridge owned the West coast’s largest photo supply, in San Francisco, and Edward Partridge was a engineering graduate of MIT and a photographer. Abell may have already been familiar with William because they had both authored photography articles in the same issue of Wilson’s photography annual. Shortly after William began working for Abell, he fell in love with Abell’s daughter Emily. The Partridge family legend has it that Frank Abell would not allow William to marry his daughter until he had earned $20,000. The interesting story of William Partridge is to be found under his own listing in this book. William worked for Abell until the spring, and then set out to find his own fortune. William did provide help to Abell over the next few years. For example, William was the first person in Oregon to take portraits by artificial light, which was a primitive form of flash using explosive magnesium powder. William demonstrated portraits taken using his flash machine at the 1884 Mechanics Fair, and within a few weeks had set up Abell’s studio. The importance of flash illumination can hardly be underestimated. It enabled photographers to get sharp photos of moving subjects like children and “nervous people” without using a shutter on the lens, and it also enabled photo studios to operate during the late afternoon and evening.

Another new technology was dry plates. Until this time, photographers made negatives by coating a plain piece of glass with wet emulsion and had to expose and develop the plate right away before it dried. During the mid 1880s, dry plates that were ready-made came into widespread use. The advantage of dry plates was that they were much more sensitive to light and reduced portrait exposures to a third or a quarter of what the old wet plate negatives needed. The problem for Abell was that his entire photo studio was obsolete. The darkroom and chemistry was only the beginning. His cameras needed new backs and plate holders and his lenses needed shutters. Because the new plates were much more sensitive to all colors of light, minor leaks in the camera, bellows, plate holder, or in the darkroom caused fogging. The cost of dry plates for a studio making 12 negatives a day was about $2000 a year, a substantial increase over the wet plate glass which could be re-used indefinitely. Abell’s mobile wagon with the wet-plate darkroom was a thing of the past. Dry plates enabled anyone to photograph outdoors or anywhere with no darkroom, and achieve better results. The ease of use encouraged competition and a price war amongst photographers resulted, particularly in field photography.

William Partridge began using dry plates almost as soon as they were available. He obtained contracts for field photography for the railroads. He also sold prints of these views at his photo studio in Portland, as well as his brother’s photo supply in San Francisco and in Boston. In 1886, he embarked upon his final field trip and went to Alaska to photograph hundreds of views. Upon William’s return to Portland, he immediately married his fiancé Emily Abell on September 1st. The bride and groom then left Portland and settled in Boston. They were joined there by Frank Abell’s wife Fannie.

1888-1907. On January 2, 1888, Abell sold his photo studio to a former employee, E. W. Moore (q.v.).   Several days before, the AOUW lodge held a testimonial dinner to bid him farewell, and after the well-wishing speeches he was presented with a gold-headed cane. Abell told the lodge he was moving to Buenos Aires, but in fact he moved to Colfax, Washington, where he had a small branch gallery run by by J. W. Markel (q.v.). He was joined by his son. He spent the winter there and in the summer he moved back to San Francisco. Here he opened a new photo studio with Charles F. Priest called Abell & Priest at 723 Market St. in the Bancroft building. This studio operated from 1888 until it was struck by the 1893 depression. In 1894, Abell returned to Portland and worked at odd jobs and as a photographer. By 1898, his son George had married and settled in Needham, Massachusetts. In 1899, Abell opened a new studio with M. E. Herrin (q.v.) but it was short lived. Abell was President of the Northwest Medical Aid Association that year, but its unlikely that the charity paid him a salary. He opened his own restaurant on Morrison St. in 1901. It was not a success and he continued to work as a photographer, although without a studio, in Portland until 1907.

1908-1910. Abell then moved to Tacoma and got a job working for a former Portland photographer, William G. Cutberth (q.v.). Abell also re-married. After a brief trip to California, in early 1908 Abell bought Cutberth’s Tacoma studio in the Provident building. In November, 1909, Frank Abell was elected president of the Pacific Northwest Photographers’ Association. By then, Abell was a senior member of the profession and a photographer for 47 years. He was endorsed by one of Seattle’s most prominent photographers, A. L. Jackson, who was personally trained by Abell thirty-five years earlier. Abell was generally well known and liked in the trade. However his health went into a decline. Abell was 66 and had been suffering from asthma for the last year.   An advertisement in the August 1910 issue of Camera Craft offered his studio for sale “on account of failing health. … Money talks if you want to buy.” Before the magazine could be delivered to its subscribers, Frank Abell passed away on July 21, 1910 of dilation of the heart. He was buried in Portland’s Riverview cemetery.

Chronology
1862-1866 San Francisco CA, William Shew
1866 Stockton CA, Abell’s Star Gallery
1867-1874 San Francisco CA, William Shew
1869-1870 San Francisco, Abell & Bain
1872-1875 Grass Valley CA
1875 Red Bluff, CA
1876 Yreka CA
1876-1877 itinerant, Northern California, Oregon (Abell & Welsh)
1877 Roseburg
1877 Eugene
1878-1888 Portland
1886 Corvallis
1888 Colfax WA
1889-1894 San Francisco
1897-1907 Portland
1908-1910 Tacoma WA
1898-1900 Needham, MA (George L. Abell)
Abell’s daughter, Emily, was born in California in October 1864. (source: 1900 Federal census for Massachusetts).
In 1900, Abell’s wife was living with her daughter, Mrs. Emily Partridge, in Norfolk, Mass. George Abell was living in the area also, probably working for William H. Partridge.
Employee Listings
Davies, G. W., printer 1881
Jackson, A. L. 1877
Kay, H. D. operator 1879
Lamb, Charles Y., printer for Abell 1883-1884, retoucher 1885-1887
Lauder, Fannie, Miss, receptionist 1881 (Abell’s wife)
McAlpin, Arthur B., printer 1885-1887
McClaire, Mort, Mr., retoucher 1881
Directory Listings
1878 PD not listed
1879 PD pg. 65 “Abell, Frank G., photographer, 167 and 169 First”
1880 PD pg. 65 “Abell, Frank G., photographer, 167 and 169 First, res same”
1881 Ore pg. 257 Portland “Abell, Frank G., photographer, 167 and 169 First St. bet Morrison and Yamhill; res 172 Yamhill, cor. W. Park” plus display ad
1881 PD pg. 65 “Abell, F. G., photographer, 169 First,; res 172 Yamhill bet E and W Park”
1882 GD pg. 81 “Abell, Frank G., photographer, 167 and 169 First bet Yamhill and Morrison, res same.”
1883 GD pg. 65 “Abell, Frank G., photographer, 167 First, res same”
1884 POWI pg. 245 Portland “Abell, F. G. & son (Frank G. & George L.) photographers, 29 Washington”
1884 GD pg. 69 “Abell & Son, Frank G., photographer, 29 Washington, res same.”, “Abell, G. L. (with F. G. Abell) res 29 Washington”
1885 PCD pg. 102 “Abell & Son (Frank G. and George L.) Photographers, 29 Washington”, “Abell, Frank G. (Abell & Son), res 29 Washington”, “Abell, George L., (Abell & Son), res 29 Washington” plus display ad on front cover of book (OHS copy has been rebound)
1886 PCD pg. 103 “Abell & Son (Frank G and George L) Photographers, 4th floor Labbe Bldg.”; “Abell, Frank G (Abell & Son), res 29 Washington”; “Abell, George L (Abell & Son), res 29 Washington”
1886 Pacific Coast pg. 994 Corvallis “Abell & Son, photographers”
1886 POWI Corvallis: not listed
1887 PCD pg. 110 “Abell & Son, (Frank G and George L), Photographers, 4th floor Labbe Building”; pg. 109 “Abell, Frank G (Abell & Son), res 29 Washington”; “Abell, George L (Abell & Son), res 29 Washington”
1888 PCD not listed
1888 POWI pg. 592 Colfax, WA “Abell & Son (Frank G. & George L.) photographers, J. W. Markel, mngr”
1891 POWI pg. 350 “Moore, 29 Washington St. Crayon artist and photographer. Successor to Abell & Son” (display ad, with cuts of Moore and Abell’s signatures)
1898 PCD not listed, 1899 EO & P not listed
1899 PCD pg. 132 “Abell-Herrin Co (Frank G. Abell, David C and M E Herrin), photographers, 122 6th”; “Abell, Frank G (Abell-Herrin Co) pres Northwest Medical Aid Assn Oregonian Bldg, rms 303 1/2 Washington”; “Herrin, David C (Abell-Herrin Co), 132 6th, res 500 Columbia”; “Herrin, M E (Abell-Herrin Co), 122 6th, res 500 Columbia”
1901 PCD pg. 104 “Abell, Frank G., restaurant 186 Morrison”
1902 – 1905 not listed
1906 PCD pg. 135 additions and removals supplement “Abell, Frank G., photog, res 724 Johnson”; pg. 140 “Abell, Frank G, photog, bds 550 5th”
1907 PCD pg. 201 “Abell, Frank G, photog, res 724 Johnson”
1910 Tacoma Directory: F. G. Abell, 631 Provident Bldg.
Mautz Oregon ” Abell, Frank G., 1870-1885, Portland”, “Abell & Son, 1885-1887, Portland”, “Abell & Welsh, 1880, Portland”
Interesting Artifacts
Boudoir size view of Frank Abell’s display at the Mechanics Fair 1881. Photo by I. G. Davidson. (OHS 28110)
Official Records
1900 Federal census of Massachusetts, soundex A140, Massachusetts, Vol. 57, E. D. 1051, Sheet 16, Line 79. Needham town, Norfolk county.
Abell, George L, white, born Apr 1866, age 34, born California.
” Jessie E, wife, born Apr, 1868, age 32, born California.
” Doris, daughter, born June 1898, age 1, born Massachusetts.
(Frank Abell’s daughter and wife are listed, please see Partridge, William H in this book for further details)
Photographer’s Imprints
“Abell’s Star Gallery, Mills & Doll’s building, Main St. Stockton” CDV with tax stamp, before the end of 1866. (reported by Palmquist)
“Abell’s New Mill Street Gallery, near Main, Grass Valley” ms date April 1873 (reported by Brown)
“Abell & Welsh, Photographers” CDV back.
“Abell Photo” front, “Frank G. Abell Photographer Nos. 167 & 169 First St., Portland Ogn. All Negatives Preserved. No._____. Duplicates from this Picture may be had at any time.” back. CDV with engraving of monogram.
“Abell & Son, 29 Washington St. Portland Or.” front, “From The Photographic Studio of Abell & Son, Crayons A Specialty, from $20 Up. Free Hand. Take the Elevator. 29 Washington Street. Portland Or.” back. cabinet card
“Abell & Priest, Bancroft’s History Building, 723 Market St., S. F.” cabinet card embossed front, ms date 1886
“Abell & Son, publisher of Stereo, Boudoir, and Imperial View. North Pacific Coast and California”
“Abell + Son publishes a fine line of Stereo, Boudoir, and Imperial Views, North Pacific Coast and Yosemite Valley, Cal. Send for Catalogue” stereo card imprinted back.
News Items and Advertisements
1875: “Photographic Art Society of the Pacific – Minutes of a special meeting, held Friday, August 20th, 1875, at the rooms of William Shew, 115 Kearney Street, San Francisco… The following gentlemen were proposed for membership: …Frank Abell”; “Minutes of a general meeting, held Friday, September 3d, 1875, at William Shew’s art gallery… Messrs… Frank Abell were unanimously elected members of the society…” Philadelphia Photographer, Vol. XII, No. 142, October 1875. pg. 308-309.
1877: “Change. Mr. J. A. Winter has leased his photographic gallery to Mr. Abell, from California, and will soon remove to his sheep ranch in Linn county.”; “Artist. Mr. Able, an artist from California, has rented the photograph gallery of Mr. J. A. Winter, and will continue the business. Mr. A. has the reputation of being a first class artist, and his patrons are assured of getting pictures true to life, and finished in the most perfect and artistic manner, and at prices low enough to satisfy the most economical.” Eugene City Guard, (Eugene) 11 July 1877
1877: “Photographs. Mr. Able, of Able and Welsh, San Francisco, has leased the gallery of Mr. J. A. Winter, and is now prepared to take pictures of every style in the most artistic manner. We have examined quite a number of pictures taken by Mr. A., and for life-like feature, clearness of outline and elegance of finish, they cannot be surpassed. If you want really excellent pictures now is the time to get them at a small cost.” Eugene City Guard, (Eugene) 18 July 1877
1877: “A Rare Chance – Mr. Frank Abell, of the firm Abell & Welsh, late of San Francisco, has leased the photographic gallery of J. A. Winter for one or two months. His specimens are certainly very fine, and he will undoubtedly give satisfaction to any and all who desire anything in his line. Mr. A. makes a specialty of the cabinet-size photographs, on exhibition at the post office. Parties desiring work done will do well to call soon, as his time is limited. Mr. Welsh will be in Cottage Grove on or about August 18th, and persons living in that vicinity will not be under necessity of coming to Eugene” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 11 August 1877
1877: “EUGENE ITEMS: Mr. J. A. Winter, having concluded to try the freedom of granger life, has rented his photograph gallery in this place to Abell & Welsh, of Roseburg, who will continue business at the old stand.” Oregonian, 13 August 1877, pg. 3, col. 4. (courtesy Michael Cirelli)
1877: “Cabinet-size photographs a specialty, by Abell & Welsh at Winter’s gallery.” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 18 August 1877
1877: “J. O. Welsh, of the firm of Abell & Welsh, photographers, late of San Francisco, has established a gallery at Cottage Grove and will remain there about two weeks. From thence he will go to Creswell.” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 25 August 1877
1877: “Frank Abell, at Winter’s photograph gallery, announces to the farmers of the county who desire photographs taken, that he will take wheat in exchange for them and pay from five to ten cents higher than the regular market price. The more work he does the higher price allowed for the wheat.” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 25 August 1877
1877: “Everybody should bear in mind that the celebrated artists- Messrs. Able & Welsh- will not be with us always. This is the best chance ever offered the citizens of Eugene and surrounding country to obtain really superior pictures. Bear in mind also that they are only transient and will remain but a short time longer, as their engagements in other places makes their time positively limited.” Eugene City Guard, 1 September 1877
1877: “Pictures. Abell & Welsh will only remain in Eugene a short time and everybody wanting superb pictures should avail themselves of the present opportunity. It may not occur again in a lifetime. At Winter’s gallery.” Eugene City Guard, 8 September 1877
1877: “Now or Never. Messrs. Abell & Welsh will only remain a few weeks longer and everybody should avail themselves of this opportunity to get their pictures taken. Mr. Abell’s work cannot be surpassed either East or West, and this is a chance to get splendid pictures that may never occur again.” Eugene City Guard, 15 September 1877
1877: “Now or Never. Don’t forget that Messrs. Abell & Welsh THE PHOTOGRAPHERS will be in Eugene but two weeks longer, as the lease of the gallery from Mr. J. A. Winter, will expire on the 10th of October. Those in want of photographs will bear this in mind, ‘a thing of beauty is a joy forever.’ That is what you get when you get one of Abell’s photographs of your baby, daughter, son, or sweetheart. Get one.” Eugene City Guard, 22 September 1877
1877: “Mr. A. L. Jackson of this city is learning Photography under Abell & Welsh.” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 22 September 1877
1877: “Abell & Welsh will remain only a short time longer. Those wishing superior photos should not delay, as another opportunity for obtaining first class Photographs will not be had in Eugene for a long time to come. These gentlemen understand their business, as their work on exhibition will attest. If you want pictures go at once, else you will be too late.” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 22 September 1877
1877: “A thing of beauty is a joy forever’ is an old but true saying. What can be fore beautiful with which to decorate the walls of your cosy parlor than the photographs of your dear and loved ones. When thus arranged you can gaze upon their faces, and, as it were, hold conversation with them although they may be miles away. Two weeks more and Mr. Frank Able, the photographer who has made such a favorable impression upon the citizens of Eugene during the past few months will seek other land than ours. Do not let this opportunity to obtain a likeness of yourself go unimproved. Probably not for many months you may again have such a chance and what better can be done than to take advantage of it.” Oregon State Journal, (Eugene) 27 October 1877
1877: “Take Notice. Abell & Welsh only remain one week more, and those wishing really first-class pictures should avail themselves of this opportunity, as the chance may not occur again.” Eugene City Guard, 29 September 1877
1877: “A Change Yet. Abell & Welsh, the popular artists, will remain a few weeks longer, having re-rented the gallery of Mr. Winter, and everybody who have not availed themselves of the opportunity of getting pictures, should delay no longer. Such a chance may not occur again in a lifetime.” Eugene City Guard, 13 October 1877
1877: “Remember that ‘procrastination is the thief of time,’ and that Abell & Welsh, the artists, will remain a very short time, and your chance for getting a splendid picture will soon be past unless you improve the opportunity at once.” Eugene City Guard, 20 October 1877
1877: “Last Chance. Abell & Welsh will only remain in this city until next Wednesday, and this will be the last chance to secure one of those splendid pictures.” Eugene City Guard, 3 November 1877
1877: “Mr. Abell, of Abell & Welsh, photographic artists, will leave for San Francisco today, his lease of Winter’s gallery having expired. Mr. J. A. Winter and family returned on Thursday, and he will again assume the charge of his gallery.” Eugene City Guard, 10 November 1877
1878: “PHOTOGRAPHIC A new man in the field for glory! Mr. FRANK G. ABELL, of San Francisco, has opened in the Gallery originally fitted up by Bosco & Megler. Photos greatly reduced in price and first quality work done and guaranteed to please. Mr. George W. Davis (sic), late with Buchtel & Stolte, is employed as printer, by Mr. Abell. We understand from Mr. A. that he prefers cloudy days to clear for the production of fine work. He also desires it to be known that extra attention will be given to Photographing children. Therefore, mothers, now is your time.” Oregonian, 7 Feb 1878 pg. 3 col. 4.
1878: “Metropolitan Items… Our correspondent at Portland under date of April 17th sends us the following… Frank Abell, the photographer, who was in Roseburg last summer, is doing an extensive business in this city” The Western Star (Roseburg), 19 April 1878, pg. 3, col. 3.
1878: “Ladies if you want an elegant photograph in the last and most tasteful style called ‘The Panel’ call on Abell, the popular artist.” Portland Daily Standard, 14 July 1878 pg. 3, col. 5. (tracked through 20 July 1878)
1878: “When you want an excellent photograph, and do not want to pay extortionate prices, go to Frank G. Abell, who does work well and at a reasonable figure. His productions show that he is popular.” Oregonian, 18 October 1878, pg. 3, col. 4.
1878: “THE STATE FAIR… Pavilion… The pictures competing for premiums, exhibited by the rival photographers of Portland, Buchtel & Stolte and Frank G. Abell, are fine in the extreme. The display of the former is favored by the best position and light; and receives four first premiums, the first being for the largest and best collection. The latter receives first premium for the best retouched photographs and display of cartes de visite.” Oregonian, 18 October 1878 pg. 1, col. 4.
1878: “MECHANICS FAIR: … ABELL, THE PHOTOGRAPHER, Comes to the front again and spreads before the public some superior pictures, from the smallest sized carte de visite to a life size portrait. His work is known to be good. Being strictly attentive to business, he is gaining much encouragement.” Oregonian, 24 October 1878, pg. 3, col. 4.
1878: “Abell, photographer, No. 167 and 169 First Street, Portland, Oregon” East Oregonian, (Pendleton) 2 Nov 1878 pg. 7 col. 6 (insertion noted 12 Oct 1878)
1878 “News From Portland…Frank Abell is here engaged in the photographing business and is doing lots of work. He has five men in his employ.” Eugene City Guard, 30 November 1878 pg. 3 col. 3. (this news placement would indicate Abell was well known to Eugene citizens)
1879: “Porcelain Pictures. – Those porcelain photographs taken by Mr. Frank G. Abell, and exhibited in the windows of Morse’s Palace, are the handsomest ever seen and command general admiration. In pose, color and execution they are simply perfect and commend themselves to those who desire to have similar beautiful ornaments for their parlors.” Daily Bee, (Portland) 5 March 1879, pg. 3, col. 3.
1879: “Abell’s photos are ‘par-excellence’. Only the very best work allowed to go out of the establishment. Large photos and porcelains a specialty.” Daily Standard, (Portland) 14 March 1879 pg. 3 col. 2 (regular insertion)
1879: “Boudoirs, panel, cabinet, in fact pictures of all kinds at Abell’s elite studio, First street” Daily Standard, (Portland) 2 May 1879 pg. 3, col 5. (First insertion 1 April 1879. last insertion 12 May 1879)
1879: “Board of Fire Delegates…(minutes of meeting)…From Willamette Engine Company No. 1, asking for active certificates for…Frank S.(sic) Abell” Daily Standard, (Portland) 9 May 1879 pg. 3 col. 2 .
1879: “The Photographic Art: In no department of science or art has such wonderful improvements been made as in the art of photography. If the spirit of Daguerre were permitted to revisit the earth, he would be as astounded at the progress in the art his genius originated, as would Watts, to behold the railroads and steamboats of the present day.
Any one that undertakes to compare the old daguerreotypes of our fathers with the elegantly finished cabinets that grace our walls and albums, will understand the nature of our advance. Even within a very few years the improvement is so marked as to create demand for now sittings every year. It is a matter of pleasure and pride to our people that we have here in Portland, artists second to none on the coast. Today we took a look upon the recent extensive improvements just being completed by Mr. Frank G. Abell, Portland’s favorite photographer. His large and elegant reception room has been thoroughly renovated, newly carpeted and furnished throughout.
In the operating room he has brought down his skylight and enlarged the same so as to have a fuller command of those delicate lightings and shadings by which the finest work is produced. By means of an ingenious syphon sink he obtains a finer washing of his prints. He also takes pictures direct from the living object without the solar camera. The advantage of this is that the negatives are all completed and retouching done before printing, thereby obtaining finer and softer work and saving the daubing of India ink, etc., upon the picture after it is printed.
Mr. Abell’s porcelain work is on the largest plates ever attempted on the Pacific Coast. Two fine specimens of this unexampled work may be seen in the attractive showcases at the doorway from the sidewalk. No finer and larger specimens of group work can be found in any gallery on the coast. His group of the graduating class of the High School, twelve in number, is remarkably well taken and life like. The famous panel photographs were first introduced here by Mr. Abell.
Another advantage of this gallery is in the larger heads taken here than at any other north of San Francisco.
Mr. Abell makes field work a specialty. He is always prepared to go out and take business places and residences and finish them up in superior style. The best specimens of this kind of work we have seen in Portland are his pictures of the steamboat S.G. Reed. Here is the steamer as she gracefully sits upon the water, a thing of life and beauty. He has also her interior views, viz: Dining saloon, forward saloon, ladies’ cabin, engines, and head of the boiler.
Mr. Abell does his own operating, assisted by Mr. H.D. Kay. Mr. M.S. McClaire is his retouching artist. His work of the Venus di Milo taken from the statue in San Francisco school of design and now gracing the wall of Mr. Abell’s reception room is a fine study and evidences an artist’s hand and eye. Mr. Geo. W. Davis, printer, is stationed on the roof and the uniform good work of Abell’s gallery attest the care and skill in this department. That Mr. Abell may have perfectness in enameling that part of the work of his establishment is sent to San Francisco, where are the best facilities and the finest work. The presence of Mrs. Abell, with her exquisite taste, to assist ladies in the arrangement of toilet and drapery is no small contribution to the popularity of this gallery. The remarkable cleanliness of the rooms and their general tidy appearance is undoubtedly due to her presence and watchful care. The elegant piano in the spacious reception room for the free use of patrons adds largely to the attractions of the place. Mr. Abell came here but a year and a half since a perfect stranger, began business at a gallery that had been continually changing proprietors and has built up a business that any man may feel a just pride in. During that time he has taken over 100,000 cabinet photographs, to say nothing of small pictures and a good proportion of larger work. One thing more wherein Mr. Abell has the decided advantage. He has the easiest flight of stairs in Portland, an item of vital consequence to many invalids and ladies, and of no small interest to all patrons. We have only to add that Mr. Abell does not believe in old and effete ‘inventions’ that are now cast aside by the best operators in the country. He also intends to keep up his well earned reputation, not by resting satisfied with past achievements, but intends to do better all the time, and will always keep up with all the improvements of the day that are of real value.” The Daily Bee (Portland); 14 July 1879; pg.3 col.5
1879: “FRANK G. ABELL’S DISPLAY. Frank G. Abell, the well-known photographer, has a magnificent display of works of art from his gallery. The collection embraces everything from card photos to oil paintings, and is much admired, both for the excellence and variety of the display and for the tastefulness of arrangement. The exhibit occupies the entire northeast corner of the pavilion, and was arranged by Mr. C. P. Yates, of the firm of Robbins & Yates, who deserve much praise for the fine taste shown. The binographs (sic), the last novelty in the art, attract much attention, as do also two life size portraits, one a fine photograph, the other in India ink and crayon. Another pleasing novelty is the large display of panel photographs, longer and narrower than cabinets and quite as popular. Mr. Abell’s space has already received, and deserves the appellation of ‘the handsome corner” Oregonian, 4 October 1879, pg. 1, col. 4.
1879: “OREGON STATE FAIR…Frank G. Abell, Portland- Boudoir portraits, binographs, porcelain photographs, photo views, glass cabinets, photographs colored in oil, 1st ” Oregonian, 17 October 1879, pg. 1, col. 4.
1879: “A Grand Display. The Salem Statesman publishes the following: ‘Mr. F> G. Abell, the popular photographer of Portland, has given instructions to Mr. Waite, Secretary of the society, to have one of the towers in the new pavilion sealed with dressed lumber and painted a special color for his exhibition of pictures at the coming State Fair. When we consider that Mr. Abell makes this improvement at his own expense, to increase the beauty and effect of his grand display, we may be assured that he means business, and will use every effort for success.'” The Portland Bee, 11 September 1879, pg. 3, col. 3.
1879: “Frank G. Abell, the famous photograph artist, is a passenger of the incoming steamer, and upon his arrival look out for new and elegant features which he procured of Taber, the leading artist of the coast. Abell does not intend to be behind any artist on the coast.” The Daily Bee (Portland); 20 Sept. 1879 pg.3 col.7.
1879: “Mr. Frank G. Abell is at the northeast corner of the art gallery with as fine a collection of photographic portraits as can be found anywhere. In the centre of the group is an excellent sample of both the photographer’s and painter’s art in a most excellent likeness of Mr. Abell, life size, and life-like in the perfect delineation of every feature and every expression of the man. A portrait, life size, of ex-Mayor Newbery, bears the premium ribbon of the State Fair. Premium large pictures, porcelain work, and retouched cabinets adorn the walls. The large photographs of Mr. Shanahan’s children illustrate how nicely that most difficult work in this line of art, the taking of children, can be executed in Frank Abell’s gallery. In the show case is a row of boudoirs mounted on raised gold frames, and another row of Abell’s famous panel photographs. Mr. Abell was the first to introduce this popular style of picture to the people of this State. Five splendidly executed pictures giving interior views of the Steamer S. G. Reed adorn the corner of the gallery. The attention of the admiring crowds is attracted to the superior style of the artist’s work as shown by a close inspection of all of Mr. Abell’s pictures. The crayon work is unexcelled and is executed in Mr. Abell’s own gallery. To-day a very interesting addition has been made to Mr. Abell’s collection, and that is a very fine portrait of Mayor Thompson of this city, executed in Mr. Abell’s very best style, and mounted in a very handsome frame. And this is a feature that adds very much to the effect of Mr. Abell’s display, the richness and variety as well as good taste shown in his mounting and framing of his pictures.” The Daily Bee (Portland); 22 Oct. 1879 pg. 3 col. 5
1879: “The rush to Abell’s photographic parlors still continues, and he is turning out dozens of his superior photographs daily. The furnishings to his operating room is simply elegant, the patrons selecting a scene to suit.” The Daily Bee (Portland); 25 Oct. 1879, pg. 3, col.8.
1879: “Frank Abell’s New Attractions. Crowds last night gathered in the Art Gallery to look at the splendid views taken in the Pavilion by Mr. Frank Abell. They are fine specimens of this beautiful art, being very accurate pictures and well finished. One is a view of the main floor of the Pavilion as seen from the east gallery; another is the gallery containing the ladies’ exhibit as seen from the opposite gallery, and the third is a section of the main floor. They are very pretty souvenirs of this great Mechanics’ Fair, and all visitors will want a copy, and others will like them to send away to distant friends. Copies will be for sale at Mr. Abell’s popular gallery on First street. Another great attraction is the case of bino-graphs just put on exhibition by Mr. Abell. This is a new process and makes a very interesting amusing picture. They are taken cabinet size, and are make to represent the subject in duplicate. For instance, a man is seen standing in two attitudes, one as if making an argument, and the other his counterpart as if listening; or a lady is taken front view, and sitting near her, as if holding a confidential chat, is herself represented in side view, talking to her other self. This is produced, of course, by two sittings of the same person, and then joining the negatives so as to form one picture. But the great skill required to so join these negatives and blend them into one, making the whole complete and perfect, and not show where they unite, deters most artists from attempting it. We saw many of these pictures recently in San Francisco, but in no case have we seen such perfect blending as in those on exhibition here by Frank Abell. In fact, he makes in his cross blending what we have never seen attempted before, and the union is so perfect as to be really surprising.” The Daily Bee (Portland); 28 Oct. 1879 pg.3 col.6.
1879: “THE MECHANICS FAIR… FRANK G. ABELL’S DISPLAY Most wonderful has been the progress made during the past few years in the photographic art. This extraordinary advancement is illustrated by the splendid display of portraits and photographic views from the gallery of Mr. Frank G. Abell, which form a prominent feature in the art exhibit at the pavilion, occupying the entire northern end of the large art department. For scarcely a moment since the fair opened has the standing space in front of this rarely attractive display been occupied by groups of admiring people. Maidens with jealous eyes search fearing to find copies of beauty more charming than their pretty selves, while their grandmamas sigh with almost forgotten vanity, that the charms of their youth live only in memory, Mr. Abell’s exhibit contains every variety of photograph, from the tiniest locket picture of the smallest child to the grand full life-size bust picture-the handsomest of the latter class being a portrait of himself, the center piece of his wall display. Cards, cabinets, crayon portraits, panel pictures, full length portraits and the novel bino-graphs, many of them finely set in frames and arranged in length detail, form strikingly beautiful effects, at the same time displaying in the most critical light their artistic qualities. The of thousands who have seen them know how well they have stood the test.
These pictures were all taken by Mr. Abell and his assistants at his splendid gallery in Monastes’ building on First street, between Yamhill and Morrison. This is the gallery which was established a few years ago by Messrs. Bosco & Megler, and which under their that firm earned a wide and enviable reputation. This reputation has been extended by the merit of Mr. Abell’s work. He claims and offers samples to prove the assertion that his picture’s are not second to those produced by any other gallery in the United States.
At the State Fair, held early this month, Mr. Abell took thirteen first premiums on his display of photographs, a just recognition of their merit.” Oregonian, 31 October 1879, pg. 3, col. 1. (paid advertisement)
1879: “Why is it that everybody goes to Abell’s to get their pictures taken? because he is the best artist in the city.” Daily Standard, (Portland) 26 December 1879 pg. 3 col. 3 (regular insertion, tracked through 30 Dec 1879)
1879: “For the very best in photographs go to Frank G. Abell, 167 and 169 First st Portland” Oregonian, 13 Dec 1879 – 30 Aug 1880, further and prior issues not checked)
1880: “Mr. F. Abell, the artist from Portland, came up Wednesday, and has been engaged taking cabinet photographs of the graduating class of the University.” Eugene City Guard, 15 May 1880 pg. 3 col. 1
1880: “The following letter will require no explanation: Chicago, April 26, 1880. F. G. Abell Esq: Dear Sir- At a meeting of the photographers of the Northwest, held Saturday, 24th inst, you were elected to serve as Vice President from your State at a National Convention of Photographers to be held in Chicago in August next. An early reply as to your acceptance will oblige yours, A. J. W. Copelin, Sec’y. Oregonian, 24 May 1880, pg. 3, col. 1.
1880: advertisement in Evening Telegram, 20 July 1880
1880: installed as Grand Master of AOOW Hope Lodge No. 1, Oregonian,8 July 1880 pg. 3 col. 1.
1880: “Shooting Scores. The regular monthly glass ball shoot of the Multnomah Rod and Gun club for the club badge too place yesterday afternoon on Moxey’s bottom. The following is the score of the members present: F. G. Abell- 14. ” Oregonian, 17 August 1880, pg. 3, col. 2.
1880: Incoming Passengers per steamship Columbia for Portland from San Francisco Aug. 24th, at 10 o’clock AM…Miss E Abell. Oregonian, 25 Aug 1880 pg. 3 col. 3.
1880: “Frank G. Abell, the well known photographer, has a splendid exhibit from his gallery. His work is favorably recognized and much complimented by all lovers of good photography” (Oregonian review of art exhibit at Mechanics Fair) Oregonian, 22 October 1880, pg. 3, col. 2.
1880: “For the very best photographs, go to Frank G. Abell, 167 and 169 First street, Portland” (ad not tracked yet) Oregonian, 22 October 1880
1880: “During The Fair — A constant throng of people congregated around the tastily arranged and excellent exhibit of Frank Abell’s photograph gallery. The gems of photography consisted of likenesses from the little card to life size. It is only necessary to say that it was the finest collection there and would hold its own alongside any similar display on this coast. Mr. Abell’s gallery is situated at No. 167, first street, Portland, Oregon. Strangers are invited to call and see the collection, and they will be treated hospitably by the proprietor.” Willamette Farmer, (Salem) 29 October, 1880 pg. 8 col. 2.
1880: “The opening address of welcome was made by Frank G. Abell…” at Firemen’s reception, with members of Portland city council present. Oregonian, 6 December 1880 pg. 3 col.4.
1881: “The contemplation of the human face, made as it is in the Creator’s own image, is the most interesting of any study that can engage the mind. It is impossible to look through even a stranger’s photograph album with indifference, though we may not be acquainted with the persons there represented, there is something so fascinating in personal photographs. Though the faces of our loved ones may be carried in the mind and heart long after they have passed from our gaze, it is a blessed privilege to be able to see their ‘counterfeit presentments,’ in the photograph.
These thoughts are awakened by a visit to the splendid Photograph Parlors of Mr. Frank G. Abell, at Nos. 167 and 169 First street, between Morrison and Yamhill. The visitor is first attracted by the beautiful show cases at the doorway. in which are displayed choice specimens of the art. The next point if interest is the remarkably easy flight of stairs leading up to the rooms. This is a matter of no small moment for the crowds of ladies who thong the gallery. Even the aged or enfeebled need not be deterred by the difficulties of ascent on the easiest stairs in the city. This brings us to the elegant Reception Parlors, presided over by Miss Fannie Lauder . She keeps everything in the nicest order, and appears to take pleasure in exhibiting the different styles of work, rendering valuable assistance to patrons in the selection of style of picture. The reception room is elegantly carpeted and furnished, and, of course, embellished with the finest specimens of the photographic art.
Adjoining this are the nicely fitted Dressing Rooms. Then we are ushered into the Operating Room. Here is the place that has engaged the attention of Mr. Abell for years, until he has attained the perfection of art in the arrangement of his lights and shades, so as to produce those wonderfully accurate counterparts of ‘the human face divine,’ that grace so many of the homes of Oregon.
Then we cannot omit that mysterious Retouching Room, where Mr. Mort McClaire gives the finish to the negatives. In no department of the practical work of Photograph making is there required so much real art, taste, and experience, or nice discrimination, even to the slightest touch and shade, as here. This is where the study of the face and all its varying expressions, mark the perfect artist, and gives the photograph its clearness as well as softness and life-like expression.
Then we have the Dark Room, and the Finishing Room, and lastly the house on the roof, in charge of Mr. G. W. Davis, where the printing is done, not by a power press as this book is printed, but by the action of the sun’s rays through the negatives, a wonderful, simple and interesting process.
All the rooms of this extensive establishment are large, and arranged so as to be the best adapted to the purposes for which they are used.
Every kind of Photograph work known to the art is made here, including Cards, Cabinets, Panels, Boudoirs, Stereoscopic and Out Door Views, and Living Statues. The last named deserves more than passing mention. They are Photographs of the living subjects so arranged as to present the perfect appearance of a marble bust on a pedestal. It is a mode of picture making introduced by Mr. Abell, which is very popular and surpassingly beautiful. We can’t help expressing a little surprise that Mr. Abell, who never goes on the the bust himself, should be the author of an invention for placing his fair patrons in that position.
Mr. Abell is the presiding genius of all this wok. A thorough artist himself, he personally superintends the whole. He started this business at the place he now occupies, on the 10th January, 1878. From a small beginning he has in less than three years built up a splendid trade. The best families of Portland are his patrons, and in no part of Oregon or Washington are his productions unknown. He is an affable gentleman, a public spirited citizen, and personally popular everywhere.” Bynon, A. A., compiler, Oregon State Directory 1881, Portland; J. K. Gill & Co. 1881 pg. 20.
1881: “Abell’s photographic work has become famous throughout the State and territories and even beyond in the east. A glance at his display tells the tale. And still the good work gone on nobly” Oregonian, 9 February 1881 – 18 February 1881
1881: “The A. W. U. W. Carnival … Following is a list of the ladies and gentlemen present … Frank Abell – Hamlet ” Oregonian, 10 February 1881 pg. 3, col. 2.
1881: “The other day he said to his wife ‘we must have the baby’s picture taken,’ and his better half suggested Abell’s, this was certainly correct, as all mothers go to Abell’s with their little ones.” Oregonian, 19 February – 24 February 1881.
1881: “How Beautiful’ was the remark we overheard a lady make as she stood before the display of photographs made by Abell, she took the earliest opportunity to call at the gallery.” Oregonian, 1 March – 9 March 1881.
February – July 1881 is full of ads
1881: “Grandmas photograph was all we could wish for, and we will get an extra dozen in consequence. Abell, who took them, we are fully satisfied with.’ Remarks made by a patron of Abell’s Gallery.” Oregonian, 28 June – 30 June 1881.
1881: “Abell has at the fair a large assortment of photographs taken at his gallery. What has been said of them can be verified in the display.” Oregonian, 2 July – 8 July 1881.
1881: “Abell won first prize at the fair. He generally goes in to win. All who viewed the exhibit at the fair expressed unbounded praise. For the best you can be sure to find the article at Abell’s Gallery.” Oregonian, 9 July – 19 July, 1881.
1881: “Abell is a home, as usual, at his gallery and having renovated the establishment, added many new photographs, all fine, he is better than ever prepared to receive visitors.” Oregonian, 20 July 1881 – 16 August 1881.
1881: “The fame of Abell’s gallery is world wide, his work better distributed to all parts of the globe. This speaks volumes for the excellence of photography as executed by Abell. Don’t fail to call on him when you desire photographic work.” Oregonian, 17 August – 30 August 1881.
1881: “Thousands can attest the quality of work executed by that prince of photographers – Abell. He has taken from the infant, in arms to the decrepid, almost ready to cross over, and keeps steadily on.” Oregonian, 31 August – 15 September 1881.
1881: “Will not take a back seat against any photographer for first-class work. The large and steadily run of business transacted by Abell, is sufficient endorsement for any artist in his line.” Oregonian, 22 September – 7 October 1881. PREVIOUS ISSUES NEED CHECKING. ROLL 38
1881: account of the Mechanics Fair “FRANK G. ABELL. The photographer, has again taken a prominent position in the art gallery, and we may safely say shares the greatest attention from visitors to the art gallery. Passing by his place of business one can form but a light estimate of the value of his photographic work, but as seen in the display at the pavilion it assumes a wondrously different aspect. At the state fair and the previous exhibits in the Mechanics’ pavilion, Mr. Abell has won golden opinions. His exhibit is up to the standard and will receive, as it justly deserves, a full amount of attention” Oregonian, 17 October 1881, pg. 3, col. 2.
1881: account of the Mechanics Fair “ABELL’S Exhibit in the art gallery, continues to attract much attention. It would be difficult to say which particular class of work is the most admired, as all classes have different opinions on the subject. At all events the general work is first class, and no matter what style is desired, Mr. Abell can do justice to the occasion. His gallery of little ones attracts the eye of fond parents, and judging by the excellence of this difficult class of work with, it is astonishing how well Abell ‘gets them.’ But we must not confine ourselves to any particular line – all is good and that covers the case.” Oregonian, 21 October 1881, pg. 3, col. 2.
1881: “Premiums awarded at Portland Mechanics Fair, which closed Saturday evening. … Silver Medals …F. G. Abell, general display photos …” Oregonian, 31 October 1881, pg. 3, col. 3.
1881: “Another medal is added to the many won by that enterprising photographer Abell. It is a silver one and is given for the best general display at the fair. Abell’s photos will win anywhere.” Oregonian, 31 October – 2 December 1881
1881: “The photographic work of Abell continues to be favorably spoken of by all who see the display. orders are duplicated in almost every instance. Call and See him.” Oregonian, 3 December 1881 – 11 January 1882.
1881: “W. T. Worthington and wife arrived from Ashland this week.” and “Photography. W. T. Worthington of California, a first-class photographer, has rented Abell’s former gallery on the corner of Third and C streets and is prepared to take pictures in the highest style of the art. Satisfaction guaranteed. He will remain only a few weeks and charges city prices.” Oregon sentinel. (Jacksonville), December 24, 1881, pg. 3, col. 2., and col. 1 respectively.
1882: “By all means take the darling to Abell’s, where a first-class photograph of the pet one can be secured. For example of this and other, refer to any one, or examine display.” Oregonian, 12 January – 11 February 1882.
1882: “Abell is doing all he possibly can in photographic work, all evidence of his popularity. His latest prints are much admired by those who have seen them. Take a sitting today.” Oregonian, 24 March – 14 June 1882.
1882: “Mr. Frank G. Abell left the State yesterday morning and will attend the grand lodge of Chosen Friends which meets in San Francisco next Monday. He will then proceed to Detroit as grand representative of the A. O. U. W.” Oregonian, 27 May 1882, pg. 3, col. 2.
1882: “Speaking of photographs, when you want the genuine article, consult Abell, the peoples’ photographer. For samples, see his display, which cannot be excelled anywhere.” Oregonian, 5 August 1882 – October
1882: report on Mechanics Fair “F. G. Abell makes a very creditable display, which is attracting a great deal of attention. A detailed description of his exhibit will appear in The Oregonian next Sunday morning.” Oregonian, 28 September 1882, pg. 3, col. 3.
1882: report on Mechanics Fair “F. G. Abell. Who makes the finest display in the art gallery, has long been known as the leading photographer of Portland. His exhibit at the north end of the art gallery, around which hundreds of admirers constantly linger. His photographic gallery is located at 167 First street where he is doing a thriving business. His work is considered the best of any artist this side the Rocky mountains. Visitors from the interior who desire a picture of themselves done in the most approved style should call at his elegantly fitted gallery. Mrs. Abell has charge of the reception parlor and readily gives all information as regards prices, etc.” Sunday Oregonian, 1 October 1882, pg. 5, col. 6.
1882: “F. G. Abell, the photographer, excells in every branch of the business. If one really desires the best they have only to call at his estblishment to obtain what they want. Examine his beautiful display at the foot of the stairs” Oregonian, 1 Nov 1882 pg. 3 col. 2.
1883: “Abell, Photographer, 167 and 169 First Street” The Northwest News (Portland) 1 February 1883 – 5 March 1883 (first insertion, further issues not checked)
1883: “Frank G. Abell, the well known artist of Portland, was in town during the latter part of the week. He came up to take the pictures of the Seniors. Mr. Abell has taken the pictures of every class that has graduated from the University.” (Oregon State University in Eugene – ed) The State Journal, (Eugene) 21 April 1883 pg. 5 col. 5.
1884: “The only first-class gallery in the city, Abell & Son’s Temple of Photography, 29 Washington. Take the elevator.” Oregonian, 3 October – 17 October 1884
1884: “Lightning Process- Children photographed in an instant at Abell & Son’s, 29 Washington St.” Oregonian, 18 October – 18 November 1884
1885: “Lightning Process- for children and nervous people, at Abell & Son’s, our leading photographer, 29 Washington St.” Oregonian, 16 February – 15 April 1885
1885: “A CREDIT TO THE CITY.- Abell & Son’s photographic establishment is the largest west of Chicago, and executes work unexcelled in the United States. 29 Washington St.” Oregonian, 16 April 1885 (first insertion)
1885: “Beautiful Portraits, Having by far the largest and handsomest Photograph Gallery west of Chicago, together with the best corps of artists obtainable, we are now better prepared than ever to do anything and everything in the line of photography. Our extensive copying and enlarging department is unexcelled. Copying from locket size to life. Enlarging from the smallest tin-type or photograph to any size required, in oil, water colors, pastile (sic), free-hand crayon, India ink, and plain photography. All our work guaranteed. Send for price list. Abell & Son, Leading Photographers, 29 Washington St., Portland.” Oregonian, 26 June 1885 pg. 8 col. 5 (regular insertion)
1886: “THE MECHANICS FAIR…following is a list of exhibitors and their exhibits… F. G. Abell & Son, photographs…” Oregonian, 8 October 1886, pg. 3, col. 4.
1886: “THE MECHANICS FAIR…Abell has filled his old space with a new and choice selection of specimens. Especial attention is called to the collection of bromides. This process is something new, and is very effective, causing much and favorable comment. It is as soft as crayon work, and yet has more distinctness. Mr. Abell himself stands behind his show case, and has a smile and a pretty card for each and all of his numerous friends..” Oregonian, 12 October 1886, pg. 8, col. 2.
1887: “PHOTOGRAPHS! A Branch Studio of the Well-Known Portland Artists, Abell & Son, is again opened in Colfax, under the management of J. W. Markel at the old Buchtel Gallery.” The Commonor, (Colfax WA) 12 August 1887 – 17 February 1888 (courtesy Robert King)
1887: “Industry Lodge No. 8, A. O. U. W., presented F. H. Abell with a gold-headed cane, J. H. Misner making the presentation speech in behalf of the lodge. Mr. Abell intends to go to Buenos Ayres (sic)” Oregonian, 29 December 1887, ph. 8, col. 1
1888: “E. W. Moore, the well-known crayon artist, has purchased Abell & Son’s photograph gallery, stock, furniture, old negatives and all. Mr. Moore is a photographer of several years’ experience, and give the best of satisfaction while connected with that business a year or so ago. In taking possession of this gallery he does not have to build up a trade- Mr. Moore is already acknowledged as the leading artist and photographer of the Northwest. The gallery is the largest and most completely furnished of any on the coast. It was built for the convenience of its patrons. Among other improvements which might be mentioned is a fine elevator which will take you to the reception-room door. The writer of this article was surprised to see the amount of negatives that had been taken during the past few years; nearly 21,000 were carefully numbered and filed away for future orders. It would be very hard to name a person that had not been in this part of the Northwest for some time that Mr. Moore couldn’t immediately show you a negative or furnish you a photo of. A great many orders are printed at this gallery from old negatives, which, by the way, are furnished at greatly reduced price. Some negatives date back nearly ten years.
Mr. Moore has one large room fitted up for his private studio, where he does his large portrait work. Over 200 life-size crayon portraits have been furnished by this artist during the few years he has been here, from orders received from leading citizens of this part of the country, besides several oil portraits that are considered as fine as any on the coast. Among them we might mention one of J. W. Whalley and Dr. A. S. Nichols, which secured him the grand gold medal at the last Mechanics’ fair. One can scarcely go into a house here but some of his artistic work can be seen. The decoration of a home is not complete without some of his work We are glad to see the young man as the proprietor of this beautiful gallery, for we know that the photographic work is all its branches from this house will be finished in the most artistic manner and that his patrons will receive the kindest attention, while no one will be turned away dis-satisfied. Mr. Moore employs the best of help that can be obtained, and pays better wages, than any other photographer on the coast, and yet any kind of work in his line can be had as reasonable as at any other gallery. But his patron’s never ‘kick’ about the price when they can have their work done in the highest style of art.” Oregonian, 2 January 1888, pg. 9, col. l
1899: “Abell-Herrin Co., photographers, 122 Sixth St.” The Cardinal, (Portland High School Vol. 2 No. 10 June 1899 back cover)
1909: photograph of Frank G. Abell at the Photographer’s Convention. Seattle Post Intelligencer, 15 September 1909, pg. 10 (courtesy Michael Cirelli)
1909: report of the Pacific Northwest Photographers’ Association of America convention. F. G. Abell was a member of various committees and transacted various routine business. Abell was elected President of the Association for the next term. Camera Craft, Vol. XVI, No. 11, November 1909, pg. 443-449.
1910: (classified ad) “FOR SALE An up-to-date Studio, on account of failing health, one of the best equipped and centrally located in the city of Tacoma, Wash. Money talks if you want to buy. Address F. G. Abell, Provident Building, Tacoma Wash.” Camera Craft, August 1910, pg. 343.
1910: “Frank G. Abell, aged 66 years, died yesterday morning at his room in the Stewart hotel, 757 1/2 C street, of dilation of the heart. He had been ill for a year or more with asthma and had been confined to his bed for about a week. He is survived by his widow and a son and daughter by a former marriage. His daughter, Mrs. Partridge, lives in Boston. Mr. Abell had a photographic studio in the Provident building. He came here about a year and a half ago and bought the business of Mr. Cutberth, for whom he had done some work for a year or two, afterward going to California.
A. L. Jackson, a photographer of this city, says he knew Mr. Abell in Eugene, Ore., 35 years ago, and learned the photographic business of him. Later Mr. Abell was in Portland and ranked among the best artist of the Pacific Coast. A year ago in Seattle he was made president of the Photographers’ Association of the Pacific Northwest. His death will make the duties of president fall upon Vice President Wadds of Vancouver, B. C., in which city the association meets in August.
The remains of Mr. Abell were removed to the Hoska-Buckley-King company’s parlors to be prepared for burial. They will be sent to Portland, where the funeral will be held under the auspices of the Ancient Order of United Workmen. (Interment Riverview Cemetery, Portland, OR.)” The Tacoma Daily Ledger, 22 July 1910, pg. 14, col. 4. (courtesy Michael Cirelli)
1910: “CHIEF PHOTOGRAPHER DIES – Head of Association in Pacific Northwest Passes Away – Tacoma, July 21 – Frank D. Abell, aged 66, died today of dilation of the heart, after a long illness with asthma. He was a prominent local photographer.
He lived in Eugene, Or., 35 years ago, and had followed his profession in Oregon, California and Washington. He was president of the Photographers’ Association of the Pacific Northwest, having been elected at Seattle last year. The duties will now devolve upon Vice-President Wadds, of Vancouver, B. C., where the association meets in August.
The body will be taken to Portland, where the funeral will be held under the auspices of the A. O. U. W.” Oregonian, 22 July, 1910, pg. 14, col. 2.
1910: report of the Annual Convention of the Photographers Association. Vice President of the Association officially notified the convention of the death of Association president F. G. Abell. The convention adopted a resolution of mouring, adjourned for 30 minutes in Abell’s honor, and extended a communication of regret to his family (who were not named in this report). Camera Craft, October, 1910, pg. 347.
1910: (classified ad) “FOR SALE An up-to-date Studio, on account of failing health, one of the best equipped and centrally located in the city of Tacoma, Wash. Money talks if you want to buy. Address F. G. Abell, Provident Building, Tacoma Wash.” Camera Craft, August 1910, pg. 343.
1927: Biography of O. C. Yocum “…Joe Buchtel and a man named Stolte also had a photograph gallery in Portland then. They sold their gallery to Mr. Towne, who later sold it to Mr. Trask, who sold it to Mr. Able.” Oregon Journal 3 July 1927, sec. 1, pg. 6, col. 6-7. quoted fully under O. C. Yocum in this book.
Bibliography
Abell, Frank G., “PRACTICAL INSTRUCTION FOR THE NOVICE”, article in Photographic Mosaics, ed Wilson, Edward L., (annual of Philadelphia Photographer) Philadelphia; Wilson, 1881, pg. 19-20 “Brother workers, in relation to practical working and theoretical there is a vast difference. The former is the every-day experience of those who daily manipulate plates, and study the best effects of light and shade for the customer who pays them for the work, and rightly expects to have the best the operator can produce. The latter is one who is constantly giving to the fraternity his theory upon certain points, but in reality is not able to produce what he thinks he might or should by pursuing a given course. I shall not theorize, but give to the readers of Mosaics what, in my hands, has proven a very uniform way of working.
The first thing that presents itself to the novice is the preparation of plates for negatives. To clean, place in a solution of nitric acid and water, as follows: Two parts acid and one part water. Leave your plates in over night, or longer, as the case may require. Remove from the acid, and wash thoroughly under the tap with stiff brush, and place in clean water ready for albumenizing.
To prepare the foregoing, take the white of one egg and beat it to a stiff froth; place this in a half-gallon bottle and shake well, then filter through a fine sponge; to the sponge tie a piece of candlewick that will reach the bottom of the vessels you are to filter into, so as to prevent the formation of bubbles; having done this much, rinse the plates off under the tap a second time, and pour the albumen on at the upper right-hand corner, flow it over the plate and run it off at the lower right-hand corner into the sink; drain for a moment, and then allow the water from the tap to run on the lower corner and back of the plate, to remove the albumen that naturally crawls up the back of the plate; set away to dry. Be careful and cover your plates with paper after you have finished albumenizing, to prevent the dust from settling on them while drying. To make your negative, flow your plate with collodion made in the following way, commencing at the upper right-hand corner and flow smoothly around the plate, allowing it to run from the lower right-hand corner back into the collodion vial; rock the plate gently till well set, then immerse in a bath of nitrate of silver, prepared as given below.

Collodion
Alcohol and Ether, ……………………………………………………………………..equal parts
Iodine of Ammonium, French (as your light requires),……………..4 1/2 to 5 grains.
Anthony’s Negative Cotton, …………………………………………………………5 1/2 grains.
Bromide of Potassium (dissolve in water the least possible quantity) 2 1/2 grains.

Bath
Nitrate of Silver (Rosengarten’s)……………………………………………………40 grains.
Water, ………………………………………………………………………………………..1 ounce.
Iodine of Potassium……………………………………………………………………..1/2 grain.

You will find in the writings of many operators, that distilled water should always be used. I never use any water but such as I can get from the tap.
The purifying of the bath, after it has refused to produce satisfactory work, comes next. My plan is this: First evaporate sufficient to drive off the alcohol and ether that the bath has gained from the dipping of many plates; place in a bottle, and reduce by adding water to about twenty gains, hydrometer test, and set in the sun or light until perfectly clear; then filter, and lastly, add new silver to make it the required strength of forty grains. The bath treated in this way has seldom refused to work O. K. from the start. The developer used with the foregoing is
Saturated Solution of Iron,………………………….10 ounces
Acetic Acid, No. 8,…………………………………….10 ounces
Alcohol,…………………………………………………….3 ounces
Water enough to fill up remaining space in half-gallon bottle; fix in hyposulphite of soda or cyanide of potassium. I prefer for good printing color, negatives fixed with cyanide. After fixing and washing, coat with gum Arabic, for retouching. Lastly, and by no means the least important feature necessary to making nice work, is to keep yourself and rooms clean.
I have not said one half as much as I would like. But my dear friend Wilson, and the best friend the photographer has, is patiently waiting for this little mite from far off-Oregon, and I will close. I hope this will serve to assist some new ‘chip’ to get out of trouble.” (this publication also contains an article by Partridge)
Hodgkin, F. E. & Galvin, J. J., Pen Pictures of Representative Men Of Oregon, Portland; Farmer & Dairyman Publishing House, 1882 pg. 104-105 “Frank G. Abell, The popular and artistic photographer of Portland, was born in Roscoe, Winnebago county, Illinois, September 20, 1844. He went with his parents to California in 1857, and finished his education in the Methodist College at Santa Clara. After leaving this institution he remained with his parents at their home in Petaluma, Sonoma county, for a few weeks, and then joined the Lloyd Magruder mining expedition to Powder river. He was then but sixteen years of age, and not taking kindly to mining, returned home in the following fall, 1862. Having taken a fancy to the photographic business, and being possessed of talent in that line, he proceeded to San Francisco, and entered the well-known establishment of William Shew, on Montgomery street, where he remained four years, becoming master of the art in all its branches. In 1863, at the age of nineteen, Mr. Abell was married to Miss Kate Lauder, daughter, of George Lauder, Esq., a prominent hay and grain dealer of San Francisco, and has now two children, the oldest of whom, Emma May, aged eighteen, is at present perfecting her musical education in the Bay City, under the direction of Mrs. Marriner-Campbell, and the youngest, George L., aged sixteen, is attending the State University at Eugene, from which institution he will soon graduate. In 1866 Mr. Abell paid a visit to his old home in the East, where he remained one year, and upon his return was again engaged by Mr. Shew, where he held forth until 1874. In that year he started out on his own account and took a business trip through California, taking in San Diego, Grass Valley, and all the towns of importance throughout the State, Mrs. Abell accompanying him on the entire journey. His venture proving so successful, Frank concluded to pay a visit to Oregon, believing that his work would commend itself to the residents here, and he arrived at Ashland in November, 1876; he spent the winter there and in Jacksonville, and them moved on to Portland, stopping in Roseburg two months and in Eugene three months, reaching here in November 1877. On his arrival Mr. Abell saw at once that this city afforded a superior opportunity for a photographer of ability and, after paying a very short visit to his home in San Francisco, returned and bought out the establishment of D. H. Hendee commencing business January 10, 1878. Since his arrival here Mr. Abell has brought his business to a high degree of perfection, and obtained an extensive and well-merited patronage. During the last session of the Legislative Assembly he visited the capital and obtained single photographs of each member, and also a grouping of all together; likewise the State officers. The enterprise was the first one of the kind ever attempted, and gave general satisfaction.”
Peter Palmquist, unpublished research notes, in Oregon Historical Society files.”Carte de visite portraits, (with tax stamp) labeled “Abell’s Star Gallery, Mills & Doll’s Building, Main St., Stockton” indicate that he worked for a period in Stockton before the end of 1866.”, “During the winter of 1869-1870 the San Diego newspapers list ‘Frank Abell, Jr’, in the partnership of Abell & Bain (beginning November 1869), this partnership was dissolved on March 5, 1870, with Bain continuing the business. Abell, meanwhile was appointed city librarian of San Diego. This was apparently short-lived employment for he soon returned to San Francisco where he again worked for William Shew’s establishment (1871); r 662 Bryant Street. In May 1872 he was employed at Luther’s Photographic Gallery, Unionville, Nevada. The 1872 Great Register of Nevada County listed Abell in Grass Valley. By 1874 Abell had become a traveling photographer visiting towns throughout the northern part of the state. It may be at this time that Abell’s Art Gallery was established (Mill Street, near Main, Grass Valley). In 1876 he worked in the partnership Abell & Welsh. By November they reached Ashland, Oregon, where they wintered; (also Jacksonville). Following stops in Roseburg and Eugene, they reached Portland, Oregon in November 1877. There the partnership seems to have ended with Abell’s purchase of the business of D. H. Hendee (January 10, 1878) where he worked until 1887. (On July 2, 1881, Abell won a gold medal for photography at the Oregon State Agricultural Society Fair). He returned from Portland To San Francisco where he was active from 1888-1897; r. 2136 Howard Street, San Francisco (1890). In 1897 he moved back to Portland and remained active in photography until he retired to open a restaurant in 1901.”
Park, Harriet Word, Marriage Records of Multnomah County, Oregon 1885-1888, Portland; Genealogical Forum 1985 pg. 24. W. H. Partridge of Suffolk Co., Mass., and Emma M. Abell, of Multnomah county. Married 1 September 1886 at the house of Abell by T. Eaton Clapp, Minister of the Gospel; witnesses: Edith Neilson, E. J. Partridge. Page 101 in Marriage Records Book December 1885 to December 1888 at Multnomah County Courthouse.
Brown, Robert O., Nineteenth Century Portland, Oregon Photographers: A Collector’s Handbook (author; Portland, 1991) pg. 23-24, 33-34, 46-47, 50-51.
Steele, Chris and Polito, Ron, Directory of Massachusetts Photographers, 1839-1900 (from pre-publication version kindly supplied to me by the authors) Abell, George L. listed in Needham, MA 1898.

Historic photos and images