Universal York

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Photographers prospered in York during the Civil War


I have written about early York County photographers, such as Glenalvin Goodridge, J. Thomas Williams and William Wagner, who was probably the pioneer of native York photographers. Another well-known 19th century York studio was run by Evans and Prince.

The advertisement below, from the June 2, 1863 issue of the York Gazette shows the variety of services offered by Evans and Prince. They still did Ambrotypes, cased photographs on glass, but photography had advanced so quickly that they now offered prints, which could be done in multiples from a negative. They even offered to photograph images already captured on Daguerreotypes (which could tarnish and fade) and Ambrotypes (whose glass could break), offering a form of preservation of the likeness as well as capability of enlargement.

This was the height of the Civil War; Local men were marching off to service, and there was a large resident population of soldiers at the Penn Common U.S. Army Hospital. Many of these young men wanted their loved ones to have “likenesses, so I suspect business was pretty good.

The ad reads:

Entrance next door to the Post Office
EVANS & PRINCE, Artists.
The Ambrotypes made at this establishment have never been equaled in correctness of likeness of in beauty and durability, every one being made with double glasses and warranted never to fade. They are furnished in cases of the best quality, and at the lowest prices.

Photographs, plain, in India Ink, and in Water or Oil colors, from the smallest card up to life size, at reasonable rates.
All persons having Daguerreotypes or Ambrotypes of deceased friends or relatives can have them copied and enlarged by the Photographic process, more perfect than the originals and warranted permanent.

Square and Oval Frames of various patterns always on hand.
Lockets and Breastpins, suitable for likenesses, always on hand.
The reputation of the pictures made at this Gallery is well known and we challenge comparison with those made at other galleries.
Jan. 29, 1861–tf.

The notation at the end shows that they had been running the ad for two and a half years, and the tf means “till forbidden.” In other words, the ad was to run until the advertiser ordered it to be stopped.