Browning, Flora H. & George W. (Portland, Newberg)

Browning, Flora H., Mrs.
Browning, George W. (Portland)
Browning Photo Gallery Judging by the quantity of surviving prints, the Browning studio was very popular, and was particularly successful in baby photography.
George Browning established a stationary store in the late 1870s. It quickly expanded into dry goods and also became a confectionery. In 1887, his wife Flora became a retoucher for B. C. Towne (q.v.) In 1891, the store went out of business and George drifted through a number of jobs. Meanwhile, Flora continued at the B. C. Towne Gallery.
This gallery had been founded in 1881 by W. H. Towne, who was a veteran photographer from San Francisco. After his death in 1884, his son B.C. Towne, along with brother Ralph H. and his mother Lucy (widow of W. H.) continued to operate the studio using employee photographers, darkroom workers, and staff. Probably they were wiped out by the 1894 depression, and the Towne family left Portland. In late 1894, Flora Browning advertised “Finest Photos in the City. Crayon and Water Colors a Specialty. All Work First Class. San Francisco Gallery, Mrs. F. H. Browning, successor to the B. C. Towne Photo Co.” George became a photographer there. By late 1895, they were advertising it as “The Browning Photo Gallery” and their portraits and views were imprinted simply “Browning,” sometimes with the Washington St. address. They were in business through 1907 in the same location, at 167 1/2 1st (SW between Morrison & Yamhill.) They continued to use staff photographers and workers. Some of the individuals known to have been employed there were Lucius J. Hicks, photographer from 1896-1898; Edward C. Blackwood, printer in 1904; Caddie G. Hooker, retoucher from 1904-1906; and Andrew Jensen, retoucher and printer in 1906-1907. A letter written by Jensen discusses his employment situation: “I carry mail in the daytime and work at Mrs. Browning’s after I am through. She got another man last Monday but he was no good so she fired him. She will try to get along with what I can help.” It is probable they went out of business around 1908.
By 1911, the Brownings had moved to Newberg and opened a photogrphy studio there, likely as a retirement business.