Boyle, J. F. (Prineville, Burns)

J. F. Boyle (Prineville, Burns)
From about 1894 until early 1900, J. F. Boyle operated a photo tent in Eastern Oregon. Many museums and collections in the area have numerous cabinet cards imprinted “J. F. Boyle, Photo.” The portraits usually have no painted backdrop, rather they have plain white backgrounds and the portraits are vignetted. He appears to have operated exclusively in Oregon, there are no reports that he worked in California, Washington or Idaho.
The July 11, 1894 Burns newspaper noted: “J. F. Boyle, photographer, now located here for three of four weeks, is doing work of a superior quality. His price is $3 per dozen cabinets. He makes a specialty of family groups and baby photos, and guarantees his work.” After two months, the September 5th newspaper noted “J. F. Boyle, photographer, requests us to state that he will remain at Burns until Sept. 9th, positively no longer.” Another two and a half weeks later, the September 19th paper noted “J. F. Boyle, photographer, is still here.”
It is not clear whether he did go away that winter, but by summer 1895, on June 26th the paper notes “J. F. Boyle, our photographer, talks of leaving our town the first of next month, probably the 8th. He has given excellent satisfaction here and we are sorry he is going away.” It took two months for Boyle to leave, but the paper of August 14th noted “Photographer Boyle left here last Thursday for Prineville. Mr. Boyle is a good artist and while here took many pictures.” Boyle probably did not own his own wagon, and the newspaper reported “L. R. Mehaffy, who a short time since moved artist Boyle to Prineville has returned. He reports Prineville as slow and dull as our own town.”
In 1896, the July 15th paper mentions “J. F. Boyle, photographer, wishes us to state that he will visit Burns again in the near future. His numerous patrons, knowing the superiority of his work, will do well to retain their orders until he comes.”.
Microfilms of the 1898 Burns newspapers are incomplete, but one old copy in a local museum, dated August 31, 1898, advertises “J. F. Boyle, Photographer, is still turning out first class work at $3.00 a dozen for Cabinets.” The last news item found about him appeared on February 1, 1899 “The wind storm of the first of the week ‘raised Cain’ in a way with John Boyle’s photo tent, tearing it in several places. Mr. Boyle took it down and will not raise it again for a few weeks.” The newspaper is lost for 1900.
It is possible that he was, at times, located in the Burns Hotel. An old photo of the building, presently in the Harney County Museum, shows a photographers display case attached to the exterior wall with photos that are stylisticaly identical to Boyle’s work.

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