Archive 11 - July-September 2002

  Historical Gallery   

Progress Report:

Since 1994, the Women in Photography International Archive has been collecting biographical information which targets the contributions of female photographers who were active before 1866. This search has been done on a global basis and has yielded approximately 2,000 women who have been involved in some aspect of photography, either as photographers, gallery assistants, colorists and overpainters—even early female critics and writers about photography have been included.

The process of preparing biographical entries began last year and thus far nearly 500 entries have been completed. It is hoped that the remainder of the entries will be finished within eighteen months. Each entry is as comprehensive as possible and all sources are fully given. Wherever possible, regional experts have already been consulted and their contributions acknowledged. We hope to enlist the support of many more around the world.

Because this project is so encompassing, I would like to take this opportunity to ask the assistance of anyone who can provide pertinent information on the subject. A knowledgeable critique of completed biographical entries is also needed. We will be pleased to provide sample entries for interested individuals and organizations as needed.

It is expected that the finished compendium—consisting of biographical entries plus a comprehensive introduction and appendices—will be published by Stanford University Press.

It should be noted that this is an author-funded project; grant money has not been made available, etc. Consequently, the dictionary in not intended as a commercial project with a profit motive in mind.


Peter E. Palmquist, founder and curator, Women in Photography International Archive, and independent historian of photography, and Thomas R. Kailbourn, independent historian of photography, with Suzanna A. Urminska, associate curator, Women in Photography International Archive.

Contact: WIPI Archive, 1183 Union Street, Arcata, California, USA 95521
(707) 822-3857; email:

The Women in Photography International Archive began in 1971 but was not formalized until 1994. Current assets include: files on more than 28,000 women photographers globally; more than 3,500 books and 5,000 articles "by and about" women photographers; and over 18,000 original photographs taken by women, most of them dating from the 19th century.

All entries ©2002

Balch, (Mrs.) Eliza Daguerreotypist, ambrotypist, photographer; active New York, New York, USA, 1854-1866?; New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA, 1864.

Mrs. Eliza Balch was the widow of Leland Balch and the mother of two sons, Eugene and Leland, Jr. Both sons were listed as artists in New York City in 1860. Mrs. Balch may have established herself as a photographer in Massachusetts and Vermont before moving to New York City, though no examples of her photographic work outside of New York City are known. Her first listing was in a New York City mercantile directory from 1854 to 1856; her address was given as 113 Bowery. The following two years she was listed without occupation; between 1857 and 1860 she was listed as a daguerreian and photographer who worked and resided at "123 Bowery." In 1860 she was among those listed as a contributor to the Charles Fredericks defense fund against the Cutting's Patent for sealing ambrotypes with balsam. In May of 1864, "Eliza Balch, photographer," of "144 George, New Brunswick, New Jersey" paid for a $15 tax license. A surviving carte de visite made at 123 Bowery, New York, in the Women of Photography International Archive, carries a hand-cancelled tax stamp, suggesting that Balch continued at this location until at least the mid-1860s.[1]

Collections: The study collection includes one ambrotype and two carte de visite studio portraits by Balch. The ambrotype is that of a young girl, while both carte de visite portraits depict men. The ambrotype, with a sixth-plate ruby-glass unsealed plate, is set in a full leather case with the Tangent Circle motif (Rinhart #195); a blindstamp on the mat reads "123 Bowery /E. Balch's." The ambrotype was hand tinted. The carte de visite portraits both bear the name "E. Balch" with the address "123 Bowery, N.Y." The Mystic Seaport Museum in Mystic, Connecticut, also lists the work of “Balch, E.” among their holdings. Additional examples of her work are found in the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York, as well as at the Staten Island Institute of Arts and Sciences in Staten Island, New York.

Grundseth, (Mrs.) Josephine (b. 1842) Photographer and photo instructor; active Ladvik, Norway, 1865; Christiana, Norway, unknown date; Lillehammer, Norway, 1868–80; Gjovik, Norway, 1880-1882.

Josephine Grundseth, whose maiden name is not known, was born in Trondheim, Norway, in 1842. During the first five years of her career as a photographer, Josephine was not married and thus worked under her maiden name. In 1865, she was registered in that year's census as a photographer in the Ladvik district of Fjordane. It is not known where she learned photography, nor do we have information on her parents or childhood. Josephine was also active in Christiana, the capital of her home country. A undated carte de visite made in Christiana is attributed to Josephine.

In 1868, Josephine established a photographic studio in Lillehammer, thus becoming the first female photographer in the municipality to do so. The studio was promoted on "good pictures delivered," according to advertisements placed in a local publication. In 1870, she married watchmaker Theodor Grundseth. Early on in their relationship, the couple had one son, Christian.

By 1875, census records for Lillehammer curiously listed Josephine’s husband as photographer and watchmaker, while she was recorded simply as a "housemother." In 1880, Josephine was made a widow, whereupon her activities in photography commenced. From 1880 until 1882, she was a photographer in Gjovik. Because of her trade's reliance on available light, Josephine was not able to work as a photographer during the winter. She supplemented her income by teaching photography to young women. Among her many students were the ladies Barth, who were active as photographers in Lillehammer by 1882 after receiving lessons from Josephine.

In 1882, Josephine sold her photography business, and wrote that "all my plates have gone to the ladies Barth, from whom you may obtain copies." Later that same year, she emigrated to the United States with her son.[2]

Collections: Two examples of her portraiture, both cartes de visite likely made in the 1870's, can be found in the Women in Photography International Archive. One carte carries a backmark with the following text: "JOSEPHINE GRUNDSETH,/ FOTOGR. ATELIER/ LILLEHAMMER." Additional collections with images by Josephine include: National Library in Oslo; Oslo City Museum; Hamar Public Library; Royal Norwegian Sciences Library in Trondheim; and the main church in Maihaugen. According to at least one account, the negatives which Josephine had left with the ladies Barth were destroyed by a Barth descendent in 1950.


Collier(e?), Gwyn Photographer; active London, England, 1861-77; and possibly 1878-98.
(updated March 15, 2011) "I have just had a visitor here at the National Portrait Gallery from a descendant of the photographer Gwyn Collier who has provided various items of evidence (including a birth certificate, census records, etc.) proving that Collier was actually male. The full name of the photographer was Charles William Gwyn Collier."
Constantia Nicolaides
Photographs Cataloguer
National Portrait Gallery St Martin's Place London WC2H OHE

Gwyn Colliere worked from at least four different studio locations in London from 1861 through 1877; 148 Sloane Street (1861-67), 97 Fulham Road ("Nearly Opposite Consumption Hospital") (1863-64), 223 Fulham Road (1865-77) and 83 Gracechurch Street (1868). All of them were located in London, SW, and at least three of the studios appear to have operated concurrently. From 1878 through 1898, a "Gwyn Collier," likely the same person as Colliere, conducted photographic enterprises in five quite different locations throughout greater London area: 57 Clapham Road (1878), 195 Brixton Road (1878-84), 28 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick (1892), 27 Lillie Road, Fulham (1896); and 70 Lillie Road, Fulham (1898). In 1898 the business listing was for "Gwyn Collier & Co." Assuming that Colliere and Collier are one and the same, she was in business for almost 40 years, a remarkable tenure by any measure. It is likely that she operated primarily as the owner of a business with multiple locations and employed managers to supervise local branches. Researcher Michael Pritchard, who has examined a large number of English carte de visites, reports undated cartes for Gwyn Collier at the following locations: Albert Gate, Belgravia; 195 Brixton Road, Brixton; and 57 Clapham Road, Oval.[3]

Collections: The study collection includes one carte de visite by Gwyn Collier. The card, produced in the late 1870's or early 1880's, carries the photographer's name on its front and alongside the word "BELGRAVIA." The backmark reads: "INSTANTANEOUS/ PHOTOS/ BY/ GWYN COLLIER./ 195 BRIXTON ROAD./ S.W./ 14, STOCKBRIDGE TERRACE,/ OPPOSITE VICTORIA DISTRICT STATION/ PIMLICO/ COPIES CAN BE OBTAINED AT ANY TIME AND/ ENLARGED UP TO SIZE OF LIFE."


[1.] Humphrey Daguerreian Journal 12, no.2 (May 15, 1860): 18; Ross J. Kelbaugh, Directory of Civil War Photographers, vol. 2: Pennsylvania/ New Jersey (Baltimore, Historic Graphics, 1991), p. 72; John S. Craig, B is for Befuddled,î Daguerreian Registry Newsletter 1, no. 2 (June 1994): 13; John S. Craig, "Female Daguerreians," Daguerreian Registry Newsletter 1, no. 3 (Sept. 1994): 36. [BACK]

[2.] Hanne Holm-Johnsen to Peter E. Palmquist, February 25, 2000 and February 7, 2002. [BACK]

[3.] Sandy Barrie, comp., Directory of English, Scottish & Welsh Photographers 1840 to 1940, typescript, Feb. 16, 1999: 83, (copy located in the Women in Photography International Archive); cartes de visite by Collier in private collections. It is possible that Gwyn Colliere dropped the final "e" in order to simplify her surname. See also, Michael Pritchard, A Directory of London Photographers 1841-1908, revised and expanded edition, (Watford, England: PhotoResearch, 1994), p. 125. [BACK]

All entries ©2002

See WIPI Book Review by Carole Glauber

Pioneer Photographers of the Far West
A Biographical Dictionary, 1840-1865

by Peter E. Palmquist and Thomas R. Kailbourn
Foreword by Martha A. Sandweiss

Stanford University Press, 2000
679 pages