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Librarium Home > People > J. D. Edwards

J. D. Edwards ( Photographer )

Born on July 14, 1831 in Andover, Massachusetts Jay Dearborn Moody was the first of four sons born to Edwin and Mahala Sanborn Moody. After the death of Edwin Moody in 1842, young Jay was sent to live with an aunt, at which time his surname was changed to Edwards. By age 17, he was a lecturer on the pseudoscience phrenology, and apparently began his photographic career in St. Louis, where he briefly operated a daguerreian studio at 92-1/2 Fourth Street. A few years later, the couple moved to New Orleans, and Mr. Edwards quickly established himself as a master of stereoscopic urban views. He preferred working outdoors in his "queer-looking wagon," despite the difficulties presented by the intricate wet collodion plate techniques. However, this process enabled Mr. Edwards to promote his business by widely distributing his images throughout New Orleans. Commissioned by the U.S. Treasury Department in 1859 to photograph the United States Customs House, he also photographed the Marine Hospital the following year. Because his stereo cards had a post office box number imprinted on the backs, historians have concluded he did not operate his own gallery in New Orleans. However, that changed when he and E. H. Newton Jr. formed a partnership and opened the Gallery of Photographic Art, located at 19 Royal Street. The gallery specialized in "stereoscopic views of any part of the world," with the assistance of professional associations with the New York publisher Edward Anthony and the London Stereoscopic Company. Their diverse inventory included photographs; ambrotypes; melainotypes; portrait enlargements; pastel, oil, and watercolor prints; photographic equipment; and the knowledgeable staff offered artistic instruction.

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