Desmond, Robert Ansley Brittain (Portland)

Desmond, Robert Ansley Brittain

Chronology

New York

1863 San Francisco CA

1864-1866 Portland

1867 San Francisco CA

1868 Virginia City

1871-1872 San Francisco CA

1872-1873 Downieville, Sierra County CA

1874 San Francisco CA

1874 Victoria BC

1878 Colusa CA

1879 Oroville CA

1880 Etna, Siskiyou County CA

1882 Silveyville, Solano County CA

1886 The Dalles

From advertisements, it is possible to conclude he began photography in 1858, worked for Brady in New York for two years, also for Humphrey’s Gallery in New York, William Shew’s Gallery in San Francisco, and spent several years on the Pacific coast before arriving in Portland in early 1864.

It is interesting to note he became a volunteer fireman in the same company as Buchtel.

Directory Listings

1865 PD not listed

1866 PD pg. 45 “Desmond, R. A., photographer, 89 First, res S E cor Washington and Third”

1867 PD pg. 47 “Desmond, operator at Ellsworth & Cardwell, 89 First, bds cor B and First”

1878 Marysville Appeal Directory of Northern California pg. 133: Desmond, R A, Colusa; Valleau Gallery, Fifth St., over Hanson’s Drug Store.

Official Records

1867 San Francisco census, “Desmond, Robert Auxley, <age> 40, <born> LO, <address on> Hampton Place. July 1867

1872 Great Register, San Francisco, Desmond, Robert Auxley, born Louisiana, residence Hampton place, aged 40 when registered on 28 June, 1867.

1872 Great Register of Sierra County Ca, Downieville, no. 705, Desmond, Robert Ansley, artist, born Louisiana, aged 50 on date of registration 30 September 1872.

1873 Great Register of Sierra County CA, Downieville, no. 583.

1879 Great Register of Butte County, CA, Oroville, no. 1041, Desmond, Robert Ansley Brittain, Oroville, photographer, born Louisiana, aged 57 on date of registration 22 March 1879.

1880 Great Register of Siskiyou County Ca, Etna, no. 542, Desmond, Robert Ainsley B, born Louisiana, aged 59 on date of registration 25 September 1880.

1882 Great Register of Solano County, Silveyville, no. 1257, Desmond, Robert Ainsley Brittain, born Louisiana, aged 61 on date of registration 9 September 1882 (all official records courtesy Peter Palmquist)

News Items and Advertisements

1864: “Pictures – Buchtel & Cardwell advertise that they have secured the services of a first class Artist, direct from New York city. The present is a favorable time – fine weather and all that – to secure a good picture, and we recommend our readers to give them a call.” Oregonian, 14 March 1864, pg. 3, col. 1. (This appears to be R. A. Desmond)

1864: “BUCHTEL & CARDWELL. WE HAVE SECURED THE Services of a FIRST CLASS ARTIST direct from New York city, with six years experience in taking the Fashionable Card Pictures. With our present facilities we can supply our patrons with a Superior Style of Picture without delay. Rooms – No. 89 First street, Portland, Oregon.” Oregonian, 14 March – 24 April 1864. (This appears to be R. A. Desmond)

1864: “A Fine Frame – among the many fine things at Buchtel & Cardwell’s Gallery is an exquisite picture frame, wrought in shell by Mrs. L. S. McLauren, of Brooklyn. It is a credit to the lady’s good taste, and we think is deserving of notice.” Oregonian, 15 April 1864, pg. 3, col. 1. (it is possible that this woman arrived with R. A. Desmond)

1865: “…The undersigned having refitted and refurbished the old Gallery of BUCHTEL & CARDWELL, No. 89 First street, Portland, and engaged the services of MR. DESMOND, of Wm. Shew’s Gallery, San Francisco, of whom Mr. Shew says in his letter of recommendation, ‘I think he possesses all the requisite qualifications of a FIRST CLASS OPERATOR, and has the best practical knowledge of Photographic Chemistry of any man in California,’… F. DALTON…” Oregonian, 2 March – 3 April 1865 (The text changed over the course of the month. The recommendation of Shew was an addition.)

1865: “DALTON’S GALLERY – The old-time gallery on First street, known for years as Buchtel & Cardwell’s, as a pleasant resort for procuring photo.’s (sic), cards de visit (sic), etc., has passed into the proprietorship of F. Dalton, Esq., and has been fitted up in excellent order for business. … The facilities for operating are much increased, by additional rooms, and every attention will be given for the accommodation of patrons. Mr. Desmond, late of Shew’s gallery in San Francisco, who is known for his ability as an artist, has arrived here and will assume control as the leading operator. See Mr. D’s card, in another column.”

1865: “FOUND – I have engaged the services of R. A. DESMOND – formerly of Humphrey’s Gallery, New York City, and lately of W. Shew’s Gallery, San Francisco, – and am now prepared to take as good CARD DE VISITES and LARGE PHOTOGRAPHS as can be taken in San Francisco. Gentlmen and ladies are invited to call and satisfy themselves. Negatives preserved if requested. F. DALTON, No. 89 First street, Portland.” Oregonian, 4 April , 1865

1865: “At Lewiston. — The Lewiston Radiator notifies the arrival there in a very courteous manner, of Mr. F. Dalton, from this city. Mr. Desmond is attending to the business of Mr. Dalton during his absence.” Oregonian, July 25, 1865, pg. 3, col. 1.

1865: “Portland Fire Department…(list of members of engine co. no. 2)…R. A. Desmond, artist…” (Buchtel’s squad) Oregonian, 17 August 1865, pg. 4

1865: “Dalton’s Gallery and Museum. Buchtel & Cardwell’s Old Stand, No. 89 First Street, Portland, Oregon. Having purchased F. Dalton’s interest in the above Establishment, it will hereafter be known as ‘Cardwell’s Gallery And Museum.’. Mr. Desmond – several years Brady’s Operator at New York City – will continue to take First-Class Card Pictures, and conduct the business as heretofore. J. R. Cardwell.” Oregonian, 22 November 1865 (last insertion)

1865: “Cardwell’s Gallery – It will be seen that the popular establishment, formerly known as Buchtel & Cardwell’s Gallery, on First street, and more recently as Dalton’s Gallery and Museum, has passed into the possession of Dr. Cardwell. Mr. Desmond, the somewhat famous artist, will remain in the establishment. Mr. Desmond is from the school of artists so popular in the East, and was once connected with the establishment of Brady, in New York. He has won considerable fame on the Pacific coast of late years, not a small part of which has been acquitted in Portland the past year.” Oregonian, 23 November 1865, pg. 3, col. 1.

1865: “Cardwell’s Gallery & Museum. No. 89 First Street, Portland, Oregon. Mr. Desmond – several years Brady’s Operator at New York City – will continue to take First-Class Card Pictures, and conduct the business as heretofore. J. R. Cardwell.” Oregonian, 23 November 1865 (first insertion)

1866: “Cardwell’s Photographic Gallery & Museum. No. 89 First Street, Portland, Oregon. Mr. Desmond – several years Brady’s Operator at New York City – will continue to take First-Class Card Pictures, as heretofore. J. R. Cardwell.” Oregonian, 11 January 1866 (last insertion)

1866: “PHOTOGRAPHICAL- ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL, Proprietors of the CARDWELL GALLERY, 89 First Street, announce that they are fully prepared to meet the increasing demand for their First Class Pictures. Their CARTES DE VISITE are inimitable and beyond competition” Oregonian 9 April 1866 (first)

1866: “New Firm – Dr. Cardwell has associated with him in the business of Photographing, Mr. F. Ellsworth, who has lately arrived from the East. Mr. Desmond, who has earned a first-class reputation as an operator, will continue with the new firm. Read their card in another column.” The Daily Herald, (Portland) 12 April 1866 pg. 3, col. 2

1866: “CARDWELL PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY, 89 First. Street, between Washington and Alder, Portland, Oregon.This old and well-known GALLERY & MUSEUM, having passed into the hands of the present proprietors, … The services of the distinguished operator and artist Mr. R. A. Desmond, have been secured, which announcement is sufficient for the customers of this establishment. … ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL, proprietors Cardwell Photographic Gallery, 89 First Street.” The Daily Herald, (Portland) 12 April 1866 pg. 3 (first insertion)

1866: “FINE PICTURES- Ellsworth & Cardwell continue to take the lead in PHOTOGRAPHS, ALBUM and VISITING CARDS, AMBROTYPES, etc., at the Cardwell Gallery, 89 First Street, above Washington. The celebrated artist, Mr. Desmond, superintends the operating room. Persons may sit at any time from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.” Oregonian 13 – 18 April 1866

1866: “A TRUE PICTURE- By calling on ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL at the CARDWELL PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY, 89 First Street, persons may get the MOST BEAUTIFUL as well as the MOST LIFE-LIKE PICTURE of themselves in this country. A single trial of the skill of MR. DESMOND, the distinguished Operator, will completely convince the most skeptical.” Oregonian 24 April 1866

1866: “FACIAL EXPRESSION.- ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL at their gallery, 89 First Street, can show, and are now taking the most superb CARD PICTURES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AMBROTYPES, MELAINOTYPES, etc. Mr. Desmond is the Operator at this Establishment and stands without a rival here or elsewhere.” Oregonian 25 April 1866

1866: “TIS WELL – Ellsworth & Cardwell, 89 Front street (Post office block) would again call attention to the fact, that unless those persons wanting PICTURES call at their GALLERY before January 1st, they will be sure to regret it. The distinguished operator of this establishment leaves this city after New Year’s Day…” Oregonian, 20-22 December 1866

1886: “For the best photographs in Wasco county or in Eastern Oregon, and so pronounced by all competent judges, go to the tent gallery, adjoining Snipes & inersly’s. Desmond is the only first-class photographer in The Dalles.” The Dalles Times-Mountaineer 30 January and 6 February 1886.

Bibliography

Mattison, David, Camera Workers – The British Columbia Photographer’s Directory 1858-1900, author 1985, pg. D-3. Lists R. A. Desmond as working in Victoria BC from June to October 1874, as a retoucher for the firms of Victoria Theater Photographic Gallery, and for Noah Shakespeare. His immediate prior employment was with Bradley & Rulofson in San Francisco. References of the Standard 20 June 1874 pg. 3, Colonist 16 October 1874 pg. 3, and Colonist 7 November 1874 pg. 3 are given.

Palmquist, Peter, unpublished research notes: Desmond & Sutterley was a photography partnership in Virginia City ca. 1868. Address was Union Block, corner B and Taylor streets.

 

Desmond, Robert Ansley Brittain

Chronology

New York

1863 San Francisco CA

1864-1866 Portland

1867 San Francisco CA

1868 Virginia City

1871-1872 San Francisco CA

1872-1873 Downieville, Sierra County CA

1874 San Francisco CA

1874 Victoria BC

1878 Colusa CA

1879 Oroville CA

1880 Etna, Siskiyou County CA

1882 Silveyville, Solano County CA

1886 The Dalles

From advertisements, it is possible to conclude he began photography in 1858, worked for Brady in New York for two years, also for Humphrey’s Gallery in New York, William Shew’s Gallery in San Francisco, and spent several years on the Pacific coast before arriving in Portland in early 1864.

It is interesting to note he became a volunteer fireman in the same company as Buchtel.

Directory Listings

1865 PD not listed

1866 PD pg. 45 “Desmond, R. A., photographer, 89 First, res S E cor Washington and Third”

1867 PD pg. 47 “Desmond, operator at Ellsworth & Cardwell, 89 First, bds cor B and First”

1878 Marysville Appeal Directory of Northern California pg. 133: Desmond, R A, Colusa; Valleau Gallery, Fifth St., over Hanson’s Drug Store.

Official Records

1867 San Francisco census, “Desmond, Robert Auxley, <age> 40, <born> LO, <address on> Hampton Place. July 1867

1872 Great Register, San Francisco, Desmond, Robert Auxley, born Louisiana, residence Hampton place, aged 40 when registered on 28 June, 1867.

1872 Great Register of Sierra County Ca, Downieville, no. 705, Desmond, Robert Ansley, artist, born Louisiana, aged 50 on date of registration 30 September 1872.

1873 Great Register of Sierra County CA, Downieville, no. 583.

1879 Great Register of Butte County, CA, Oroville, no. 1041, Desmond, Robert Ansley Brittain, Oroville, photographer, born Louisiana, aged 57 on date of registration 22 March 1879.

1880 Great Register of Siskiyou County Ca, Etna, no. 542, Desmond, Robert Ainsley B, born Louisiana, aged 59 on date of registration 25 September 1880.

1882 Great Register of Solano County, Silveyville, no. 1257, Desmond, Robert Ainsley Brittain, born Louisiana, aged 61 on date of registration 9 September 1882 (all official records courtesy Peter Palmquist)

News Items and Advertisements

1864: “Pictures – Buchtel & Cardwell advertise that they have secured the services of a first class Artist, direct from New York city. The present is a favorable time – fine weather and all that – to secure a good picture, and we recommend our readers to give them a call.” Oregonian, 14 March 1864, pg. 3, col. 1. (This appears to be R. A. Desmond)

1864: “BUCHTEL & CARDWELL. WE HAVE SECURED THE Services of a FIRST CLASS ARTIST direct from New York city, with six years experience in taking the Fashionable Card Pictures. With our present facilities we can supply our patrons with a Superior Style of Picture without delay. Rooms – No. 89 First street, Portland, Oregon.” Oregonian, 14 March – 24 April 1864. (This appears to be R. A. Desmond)

1864: “A Fine Frame – among the many fine things at Buchtel & Cardwell’s Gallery is an exquisite picture frame, wrought in shell by Mrs. L. S. McLauren, of Brooklyn. It is a credit to the lady’s good taste, and we think is deserving of notice.” Oregonian, 15 April 1864, pg. 3, col. 1. (it is possible that this woman arrived with R. A. Desmond)

1865: “…The undersigned having refitted and refurbished the old Gallery of BUCHTEL & CARDWELL, No. 89 First street, Portland, and engaged the services of MR. DESMOND, of Wm. Shew’s Gallery, San Francisco, of whom Mr. Shew says in his letter of recommendation, ‘I think he possesses all the requisite qualifications of a FIRST CLASS OPERATOR, and has the best practical knowledge of Photographic Chemistry of any man in California,’… F. DALTON…” Oregonian, 2 March – 3 April 1865 (The text changed over the course of the month. The recommendation of Shew was an addition.)

1865: “DALTON’S GALLERY – The old-time gallery on First street, known for years as Buchtel & Cardwell’s, as a pleasant resort for procuring photo.’s (sic), cards de visit (sic), etc., has passed into the proprietorship of F. Dalton, Esq., and has been fitted up in excellent order for business. … The facilities for operating are much increased, by additional rooms, and every attention will be given for the accommodation of patrons. Mr. Desmond, late of Shew’s gallery in San Francisco, who is known for his ability as an artist, has arrived here and will assume control as the leading operator. See Mr. D’s card, in another column.”

1865: “FOUND – I have engaged the services of R. A. DESMOND – formerly of Humphrey’s Gallery, New York City, and lately of W. Shew’s Gallery, San Francisco, – and am now prepared to take as good CARD DE VISITES and LARGE PHOTOGRAPHS as can be taken in San Francisco. Gentlmen and ladies are invited to call and satisfy themselves. Negatives preserved if requested.                   F. DALTON, No. 89 First street, Portland.” Oregonian, 4 April – 1865

1865: “Portland Fire Department…(list of members of engine co. no. 2)…R. A. Desmond, artist…” (Buchtel’s squad) Oregonian, 17 August 1865, pg. 4

1865: “Dalton’s Gallery and Museum. Buchtel & Cardwell’s Old Stand, No. 89 First Street, Portland, Oregon. Having purchased F. Dalton’s interest in the above Establishment, it will hereafter be known as ‘Cardwell’s Gallery And Museum.’. Mr. Desmond – several years Brady’s Operator at New York City – will continue to take First-Class Card Pictures, and conduct the business as heretofore. J. R. Cardwell.” Oregonian, 22 November 1865 (last insertion)

1865: “Cardwell’s Gallery – It will be seen that the popular establishment, formerly known as Buchtel & Cardwell’s Gallery, on First street, and more recently as Dalton’s Gallery and Museum, has passed into the possession of Dr. Cardwell. Mr. Desmond, the somewhat famous artist, will remain in the establishment. Mr. Desmond is from the school of artists so popular in the East, and was once connected with the establishment of Brady, in New York. He has won considerable fame on the Pacific coast of late years, not a small part of which has been acquitted in Portland the past year.” Oregonian, 23 November 1865, pg. 3, col. 1.

1865: “Cardwell’s Gallery & Museum. No. 89 First Street, Portland, Oregon. Mr. Desmond – several years Brady’s Operator at New York City – will continue to take First-Class Card Pictures, and conduct the business as heretofore. J. R. Cardwell.” Oregonian, 23 November 1865 (first insertion)

1866: “Cardwell’s Photographic Gallery & Museum. No. 89 First Street, Portland, Oregon. Mr. Desmond – several years Brady’s Operator at New York City – will continue to take First-Class Card Pictures, as heretofore. J. R. Cardwell.” Oregonian, 11 January 1866 (last insertion)

1866: “PHOTOGRAPHICAL- ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL, Proprietors of the CARDWELL GALLERY, 89 First Street, announce that they are fully prepared to meet the increasing demand for their First Class Pictures. Their CARTES DE VISITE are inimitable and beyond competition” Oregonian 9 April 1866 (first)

1866: “New Firm – Dr. Cardwell has associated with him in the business of Photographing, Mr. F. Ellsworth, who has lately arrived from the East. Mr. Desmond, who has earned a first-class reputation as an operator, will continue with the new firm. Read their card in another column.” The Daily Herald, (Portland) 12 April 1866 pg. 3, col. 2

1866: “CARDWELL PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY, 89 First. Street, between Washington and Alder, Portland, Oregon.This old and well-known GALLERY & MUSEUM, having passed into the hands of the present proprietors, … The services of the distinguished operator and artist Mr. R. A. Desmond, have been secured, which announcement is sufficient for the customers of this establishment. … ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL, proprietors Cardwell Photographic Gallery, 89 First Street.” The Daily Herald, (Portland) 12 April 1866 pg. 3 (first insertion)

1866: “FINE PICTURES- Ellsworth & Cardwell continue to take the lead in PHOTOGRAPHS, ALBUM and VISITING CARDS, AMBROTYPES, etc., at the Cardwell Gallery, 89 First Street, above Washington. The celebrated artist, Mr. Desmond, superintends the operating room. Persons may sit at any time from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.” Oregonian 13 – 18 April 1866

1866: “A TRUE PICTURE- By calling on ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL at the CARDWELL PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY, 89 First Street, persons may get the MOST BEAUTIFUL as well as the MOST LIFE-LIKE PICTURE of themselves in this country. A single trial of the skill of MR. DESMOND, the distinguished Operator, will completely convince the most skeptical.” Oregonian 24 April 1866

1866: “FACIAL EXPRESSION.- ELLSWORTH & CARDWELL at their gallery, 89 First Street, can show, and are now taking the most superb CARD PICTURES, PHOTOGRAPHS, AMBROTYPES, MELAINOTYPES, etc. Mr. Desmond is the Operator at this Establishment and stands without a rival here or elsewhere.” Oregonian 25 April 1866

1866: “TIS WELL – Ellsworth & Cardwell, 89 Front street (Post office block) would again call attention to the fact, that unless those persons wanting PICTURES call at their GALLERY before January 1st, they will be sure to regret it. The distinguished operator of this establishment leaves this city after New Year’s Day…” Oregonian, 20-22 December 1866

1886: “For the best photographs in Wasco county or in Eastern Oregon, and so pronounced by all competent judges, go to the tent gallery, adjoining Snipes & inersly’s. Desmond is the only first-class photographer in The Dalles.” The Dalles Times-Mountaineer 30 January and 6 February 1886.

Bibliography

Mattison, David, Camera Workers – The British Columbia Photographer’s Directory 1858-1900, author 1985, pg. D-3. Lists R. A. Desmond as working in Victoria BC from June to October 1874, as a retoucher for the firms of Victoria Theater Photographic Gallery, and for Noah Shakespeare. His immediate prior employment was with Bradley & Rulofson in San Francisco. References of the Standard 20 June 1874 pg. 3, Colonist 16 October 1874 pg. 3, and Colonist 7 November 1874 pg. 3 are given.

Palmquist, Peter, unpublished research notes: Desmond & Sutterley was a photography partnership in Virginia City ca. 1868. Address was Union Block, corner B and Taylor streets.

 

 

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