Edward John Wall was born in Gravesend, England to Edward John and Eliza (Matthews) Wall on December 24, 1860. After studying chemistry at London's Euston College, he became an employee of the B. J. Edwards & Co., an isochromatic plate manufacturer. In 1886, he married Frances Emilie Walker, with whom he would have a son, Edward George (who died in infancy), and a daughter, Phyllis. Two years' later, he founded Photographic Answers, a monthly magazine devoted to discussing current industry literature, techniques, and equipment. His knowledge and expertise were applied to the publication of the ambitious Dictionary of Photography (1889), which quickly became an international must-have reference volume. This led to other similar works in rapid succession, which include Beginner's Guide to Photography (1890), Carbon Printing (1894), and Everyone's Guide to Photography (1898).
Mr. Wall's professional and literary reputation secured him a position as contributing writer for Amateur Photographer, and he also edited the journal from 1892 until 1895. For a three-year period beginning in 1897, he served as editor of Photographic News. With a new century, there was a change in professions as Mr. Wall returned to his scientific roots, becoming a chemist at the European Blair Camera Company. However, within a year, he sustained a serious foot injury, which required an arduous two-year recovery. He spent this time reading the latest publications, writing for the British Journal of Photography, and published another book, A Practical ABC of Photography, in 1901. Mr. Wall is credited with providing the literary impetus that resulted in the bromoil printing process.
By 1910, Mr. Wall was ready for another career, and moved his family to the United States, settling in Rochester, New York, where he worked for the Fireproof Film Company. After its closure, he became a professor of photography at Syracuse University, and served as the department head until it was discontinued in 1917. By this time, his focus had shifted from print to celluloid, and he became an employee at the Technicolor Motion Picture Company, while also serving as associate editor for American Photography. Several more books followed, including Practical Color Photography (1922), History of Three-Color Photography (1925), and Intensification and Reduction (1927). His final text, Photographic Darkroom, was posthumously published in 1933. Near the end of his life, Mr. Wall received an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in recognition of his numerous contributions to the advancement of photography. Sixty-seven-year-old E. J. Wall died in Wollaston, Massachusetts on October 13, 1928. The E. J. Wall Collection at Syracuse University includes three of his books as well as lecture notes compiled during his tenure.
1904 The British Journal of Photography, Vol. LI (London: Henry Greenwood & Co., Ltd.), pp. 494-495.
2016 A Dictionary of Photography for the Amateur and Professional Photographer (URL: https://archive.org/details/adictionaryphot00wallgoog).
2016 EJ Wall: The Royal Photographic Society (URL: http://www.nationalmediamuseum.org.uk/collection/photography/royalphotographicsociety/collectionitem?id=2003-5001/2/22841).
2016 E.J. Wall Collection (URL: http://archives.syr.edu/collections/fac_staff/sua_wall_ej.htm).
2007 Encyclopedia of Nineteenth-Century Photography, Vol. I (New York: Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group LLC), p. 1466.
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