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James L. Ozment collection of George Edward Anderson photographs

James L. Ozment collection of George Edward Anderson photographs

Dates: 1860-1928

Collection includes eighty-three glass plate negatives taken by George Edward Anderson of the construction and reconstruction of some railroad lines in Utah and Colorado in the late 1800s. Also contains internegatives and prints of the photographs. Materials date from 1860 to 1928.

  • Extent: 5 boxes (2.5 linear ft.)
  • Creator: Anderson, George Edward, 1860-1928. -- Ozment, James L.
  • Call Number: MSS P 3289
  • Repository: L. Tom Perry Special Collections; Photograph Archives; 1130 Harold B. Lee Library; Brigham Young University; Provo, Utah 84602; http://sc.lib.byu.edu/
  • Access Restrictions: Open for public research. Kept in cold storage; access requires 24 hours advance notice.
Languages and Scripts
Arranged in five series. 1. George Edward Anderson glass plate negatives, 1860-1928. 2. George Edward Anderson negatives, 1860-1928. 3. George Edward Anderson internegatives, 1860-1928. 4. George Edward Anderson prints, 1860-1928. 5. George Edward Anderson duplicate prints and manuscripts, 1860-1928.
Conditions of Use
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances. Permission to publish material from the James L. Ozment collection of George Edward Anderson photographs must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
This collection was digitally scanned in 2006 and is part of the George Edward Anderson digital collection.
Preferred Citation
Initial citation: MSS P 3289; James L. Ozment collection of George Edward Anderon photographs; Photograph Archives; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University. Following citations: MSS P 3289, LTPSC.
Custodial History
James L. Ozment received these images from Jakson Thode, August 2003. Jackson Thode received them from Bud Deascon who received them from Drusilla Powell, an employee of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, about 1969. The prints and negatives were loaned to Special Collections to make digital copies and the originals were returned to James L. Ozment. James L. Ozment passed away in 2010 and his son Doug Ozment sold the glass plate negatives to the L. Tom Perry Special Collections in 2011.
Acquisition Information
Purchased; Doug Ozment; 2011.
Subject Terms
Bridges--Colorado--Photographs; Bridges--Utah--Photographs; Business, Industry, Labor, and Commerce; Railroads; Railroads--Colorado--Photographs; Railroads--Utah--Photographs
Genre / Form
Copy prints; Gelatin dry plate negatives; Glass negatives; Negatives; Photographs
Processing Information
Processed; Lionel Thomas, student photograph processor; 2011.
Appraisal Information
Photographs (Photograph Archives).
Finding Aid ID Number
Finding Aid Title
Ozment (James L.) collection of George Edward Anderson photographs
Finding Aid Author
Finding aid prepared by Lionel Thomas
Finding Aid Creator
This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit 2014-03-30T04:20-0600
Finding Aid Language
Biographical Info:

Biographical History

James L. Ozment (1935-2009) was a historian and amature photographer for the Rio Grande Rail company in Golden, Co.

Biographical History

George Edward Anderson (1860-1928) was a Mormon photographer.

George Edward Anderson (Ed, as he was called) was born October 28, 1860 in Salt Lake City to George A. Anderson and Mary Ann Thorn, and was the oldest of nine children. He was apprenticed as a teenager under the renowned photographer, Charles R. Savage. It was at Savage's Temple Bazaar that he became friends with fellow apprentices John Hafen and John F. Bennett. Hafen was later to become an accomplished artist and Bennett was to become instrumental in preserving Anderson's collection of glass plate negatives.

At the age of seventeen, Anderson established his own photography studio in Salt Lake City with his brothers, Stanley and Adam. He subsequently established a studio in Manti, Utah in 1886. In the fall of 1888 he moved his studio to Springville, Utah, with his bride, Olive Lowry. He is perhaps best known for his traveling tent studio, set up in small towns throughout central, eastern, and southern Utah, where he captured the lives of the residents. These studios thrived throughout the years 1884-1907.

Although today we might think of Ed Anderson as a portrait photographer, his clear and artistic studio portraits are complemented by thousands of documentary portraits taken near homes, barns, and businesses. They document not only families but also small town Utah history. He documented, among other things, railroad history, mining history including the Scofield mine disaster, and the building of temples by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Pure landscape photographs were never his interest, but to many Church members, his 1907-1908 photographs of Church history sites are their only acquaintance with Anderson's photography. He photographed these sites while traveling across the country to begin his LDS Church mission in England from 1909-1911. The Deseret Sunday School Union of the Church published some of the views, as Anderson called them, in a booklet entitled The Birth of Mormonism in Picture.

Upon the completion of his mission, Anderson returned to South Royalton, Vermont, and set up a photography studio near the birthplace of the prophet Joseph Smith. He added a number of Church history site photographs, as well as portraits of Church members and local residents to his growing collection. Finally, in November 1913 he returned to his family and home in Springville, Utah.

After a seven year absence his photographic business was unhealthy and his family life was strained. But business and money were never the motivating forces of Ed Anderson's lifeā€”art and religion were his driving forces. Continuing to experience financial and marital strains, Anderson tried to revive his traveling tent studio but was met with little success. He was, however, able to earn some money from the sale of The Birth of Mormonism booklet.

The later years of Ed Anderson's life were spent in documenting families and life in Utah Valley and traveling to newly constructed temples. In 1923, he traveled to Cardston, Alberta, Canada with Church authorities for the dedication of that city's temple. He was to spend two years in Canada, thus returning to Springville in 1925. Though ill in the fall of 1927 and despite his wife's urging not to go, Anderson went once again with Church officials to document the dedication of another temple, this time in Mesa, Arizona. It was to be his last trip. He died of heart failure on May 9, 1928 after being brought home to Springville.

Essentially unsung as a photographer during his lifetime, only in the last thirty years has Anderson been recognized for the consummate photographic artist that he was. Primarily, the work of Rell G. Francis along with the work of Nelson Wadsworth and Richard Holzapfel, has brought Anderson's exquisite work to the attention of this generation.

Charles Reynolds, picture editor of the magazine Popular Photography, commented at a Brigham Young University photo seminar on December 11, 1973 about his introduction to Anderson's photographs. After attending an exhibition at the Springville Museum of Art, arranged by Rell Francis, he had this to say: "I go to shows several times a week in New York City ... and I have rarely seen anything as impressive as those photographs. ... it is awfully hard to astonish me. ... the George Anderson pictures that I saw today weren't sensationalized pictures in any way. They were very sweet, beautiful, lovely pictures ... "

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Tom Wells
Curator - Photograph Archives