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Mr. Brand’s Temple of Art
Life Span: 1869-1871
Location: 28 Washington Street
West of Wabash on Washington Street, next to Carbutt’s Studio and Mosher’s Gallery
Chicago Tribune, November 7, 1869
Progress in Art.
We notice that the proprietor of Brand’s Temple of Art, No. 28 Washington street, announces a reception for Thursday evening of this week, to which the ladies and gentlemen of Chicago are generally invited. He is constantly introducing the latest styles of photographs. Several new portraits of prominent citizens are among his collection, and many new landscapes, and a large number of new photographic gems.
From the Chicago Medical Times, Vol. 1, 1869
Mr. E. L. Brand’s New Temple of Art, 28 Washington Street, is all that is beautiful, chaste, and grand, and ranks as the finest in the West if not the Americas. Brand was known for his “anatomical photography of the human body and its elements”, including photography of “carefully dissected cadaver specimens for the purpose of anatomical research at Bennett College.”
Mr. Edwin Brand’s New Gallery of Art
Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1876
BRAND’S ART RECEPTION.
His Great Picture of the Chicago Fire Department.
The great social circles of this city are looking forward to the reception of next Thursday evening, and are eager to witness Mr. Brand’s successful representation of the whole Chicago Fire Department in action. The completion of the large picture is a triumph of photographic art, the action of busy men being portrayed with vigor, yet each individual face of over 400 men is easily recognized as if working at a great fire, although the whole work was done in Mr. Brand’s new studios, Nos. 210 and 212 Wabash avenue. It is the most successful work of this class, alike, both in its composition, perspective, and accuracy of details, and is another evidence of Mr. Brand’s efforts to elevate the photographic art, ranking well with the fine portraits of ladies and children which will be exhibited at the reception of Thursday evening.
Chicago Tribune, October 7, 1876
BRAND’S ART RECEPTION.
Comely gentlemen, beautiful ladies, fine pictures, good music, and handsome flowers, combined to make Brand’s art gallery unusually attractive last evening, and those in attendance appreciated so highly the rare attraction that many requested the reception might be repeated to-night. In order to allow their friends the privilege of attending. This evening, Mr. Brand will gladly welcome his friends, and all who are interested in the great photographic group of the Fire Department, and other local pictures, or elegant copies of old masters, at his gallery, Nos. 210 and 213 Wabash avenue.
The Inter Ocean, July 4, 1881
THE ASSASSIN’S PHOTOGRAPH.
The photograph of the assassin Gauteau, (of President James A. Garfield), printed above is submitted to the readers of The Inter Ocean though the courtesy of Mr. Edwin L. Brand, of No. 212 Wabash avenue, and the originals from which this is made were taken early in the present year. After seeing the picture taken just four years ago by the police department, it occurred to the reporter, from what he had gleaned regarding Guiteau’s habits, that it was possible he had had some photographs taken in the city. A hurried run around to the principal galleries soon settled the point. Early in the search a picture was found in Mr. Brand’s studio, on Wabash avenue.
“Do you remember the man, Mr. Brand?”
“I do, for more than one reason.”
“May I inquire what those reasons are?”
“Well. yes. I will state one of them anyway. He came here and ordered a dozen photographs and paid for them. Then he ordered another dozen, which were made, and those he failed to call for. Here they are.”
And here Mr. Brand produced the dozen photographs enveloped, ready for delivery, endorsed, “Uncalled for.”
“Did you know Guiteau simplybfrom his coming here on those two or three occasions, Mr. Brand?”
“No; I was introduced to him one day prior to his ever coming to the gallery.”
“How did he impress you?”
“Candidly, not favorably. Our introduction was simply a matter of courtesy. We did not meet socially at all. He was a lawyer and fond of making himself conspicuous, and met one day in the company of a mutual friend, a respected citizen.”
“Was he a man of good address and appearance?”
Well, his address was fair, and his appearance varied. He was well dressed at times, and then again he was down at heel.”
“He hardly impressed you favorably, then?”
“Not at all. I thought he had a very strange way of doing business, and had by no means a high opinion of him, from my very slight acquaintance.
This was all Mr. Brand could say of his customer, so he was briefly thanked for his kindness in at once furnishing The Inter Ocean with a photograph, and then left.
Chicago Tribune, October 26, 1883
E. L. Brand, four-story store-building, 50×70, Nos. 73 and 75 Jackson street, to cost $15,000.
Chicago Tribune, November 11, 1883
Architects Adler & Sullivan are erecting a store and flats at Nos. 73 and 75 East Jackson street for E. L. Brand. The building will be four stories high, and will have a front of Anderson pressed brick.
Chicago Tribune, January 28, 1894
Col. E. L. Brand has sold his studio on Wabash avenue to Charles F. Hartley and will retire from the business. The deal was closed yesterday and Mr. Hartley takes possesion at once. Thirty-six years ago Mr. Brand came to Chicago and began taking pictures. He was then located over Potter Paimer’s dry goods store, No. 208 Lake street. As an evidence of the success he made, his secures 400,000 fine negatives, so labeled and boxed that the original photograph of a man, woman, or child taken thirty years ago can be produced in five minutes. The exact purchase price is not known, except to the buyer, seller, and Edvard H. Peters, who negotiated the trade, but it is said to be $150,000. Mr. Brand said the price was twice as much as the largest sum ever before paid for an establishment of the kind. Among the negatives is one of Abraham Lincoln, taken when he was a candidate for the United States Senate; several of Stephen A. Douglas; the finest collection of negatives of Gen. Grant in the world: one of James A. Garfield, taken within an hour after he was nominated for the Presidency; of Gen. Sheridan. Chester A. Arthur, Edwin Booth, Christine Nilsson, Adelina Patti, Parepa Rosa, Gen. George Crook, and many other distinguished people, as well as of most of the prominent families of Chicago. Besides the pictures he gets sixty cameras of every style and make from the old-fashioned up-side-down popgun to the latest instantaneous dash light invention. Having amassed a fortune in the shape of real estate and houses Mr. Brand will hereafter give his attention to the collection of rents and matters in connection therewith. He is at the head of the Chicago and belongs to several other organizations.
Inter Ocean, December 2, 1900
“Brand” has long been synonymous with all that in the best in photography. Tomorrow and Tuesday those fortunate enough to have received invitations will be given an opportunity to inspect the most perfectly equipped gallery in Chicago, if not in the country.
Edwin L. Brand will open his new studios and art galleries at Nos. 73 and 75 Jackson Boulevard East on those days. The Brand studio has long been famous, but realizing that Jackson Boulevard East, which is the only business boulevard in the city where carriages may be used with safety in Chicago, is rapidly becoming the lower Fifth avenue of Chicago. Mr. Brand decided to open another gallery in a more desirable location.
Money has not been spared in fitting up the new quarters. Everything is of the best, both from an artistic and utilitarian standpoint. There are four reception rooms, and four more beautifully or substantially furnished rooms could be found in America. Two of them are furnished in Louis Quatorze style, and are considered the most elegant in the city. The other two reception rooms are furnished in the old colonial style, which serves as a contrast to the more luxuriantly equipped rooms representing the days of France’s more lavish period. Simplicity in one and wealth in another prove a combination which cannot help the eye of the artist to discover that elegance and simplicity are the foundations of art.
The furniture is all of hard mahogany of excellent workmanship, and the carpets were especially manufactured for Brand more than six months ago. Not only has money been expended in decorating and making attractive the reception rooms, but the operating rooms have been equally taken care of. There is not an old piece of furniture in the new working apartments of the studio.
It is the highest wish of the proprietor to make it the gallery to be pointed to as an example of what can be considered a model one. Mr. Brand has been known as one of the best, if not the very best, man in his line in the West, and that reputation he desires to surpass. With this object before him he has engaged as the chief of his operating room Mr. Louis A. Steffans, who is known as one of the best operators in the country, while R. J. Steffons will take charge of the printing department of the work, and Mr. R. E. Brown, the well-known miniaturist, will have charge of the water coloring and pastel department. That Mr. Brand has secured the best man to be had is evident from the selections here named, and there is no doubt that the best that money can procure will characterize the new gallery.
There are about a dozen private rooms in which those who desire to prepare themselves for the ordeal of having their “picture took” can get in readiness, and none of the many inconveniences experienced by those who in former years looked upon the taking of a photograph with about as much horror as a surgical operation will be in evidence when the new gallery opens.
Inter Ocean, January 27, 1901
The conflagration to Brand’s Art Studios building, Nos. 73-75 Jackson boulevard, east, last Monday night gave rise to an erroneous statement in each of Chicago’s daily papers regarding the connection of that building with the estate of the late Edwin L. Brand.
In the newspaper articles referred to there appeared the statement that the building was leased by Edwin L. Brand some two months ago, whereas in reality the property had been numbered among the Brand real estate for nearly if not quite forty years.
The acquisition of this and the rest of the Brand holdings, as well as the story of Mr. Brand’s life from his father’s farm to his own fame, is of rare interest and reads like a romance.
A Gentlemany Man.
Edwin L. Brand, whose recent demise caused such widespread sorrow and profound regret among his myriads of personal friends and business associates, was no average man. He was a perfect specimen of that quiet, soft-spoken, gentlemanly type so seldomly encountered in the rush and crush of “business.” There never was a time, no matter how busy he may have been. nor of what great importance that business was, but what he had time and natural inclination to courteously extend a polite audience to the most casual caller—nio matter of what, perchance unpleasant, mission the call. His newspapermen friends were many, and not one is there of them but has expressed the sentiment that they would rather receive a “turn-down” from Major Brand than a “signed contract” from many another less affable customer.
It was this admirable characteristic that helped the fortunes of Mr. Brand at every turn, and that he should be called away forever, just after having attained the aim of his life, in the establishing of his new and magnificent studios in Jackson boulevard, east, seems to all who knew him to have been literally the irony of fate.
Edwin L. Brand was born in Edmeston, Ostego county, N. Y., in 1835. His childhood days were passed on his father’s farm in that quaint Eastern town, and so far he could then be seen his future life seemed to be leading toward the hardy occupation of his father—that of the village blacksmith. And naught occurred to change that current until one summer’s day in 1850, when the town of Edmeston was thrown iunto what might be termed a “panic” by the unheralded appearance of a traveling photographer of the daguerreotype school. His workshop—his gallery—was likewise his home, both being in one and in the form of a house of wheels. The outfit was drawn by a team of donkeys at a snail-like pace from town to town, at each of which was a stop of sufficient time was made to allow a canvass of the representative communities and the acquisition of enough business to necessitate at times a visit from two weeks to a month in town.
His Future is Cast.
The day that donkey outfit hove into sight of Edmeston town the future life of Edwin L. Brand was cast. Always of a naturally mechanical turn of mind, the paraphernalia and the operation of taking, developing, and finishing perfect daguerreotypes interested at first, then charmed, and finally fascinated into abject captivity the person of Chicago’s late photographic leader.
Ten dollars even represented his entire cash fortune at that time, and a deal was quickly consummated between the artist and the farmer’s lad whereby the former’s stock of “professional knowledge” was to be exchanged for the entire $10 fortune of the latter. The boy learned rapidly, and long before the wandering photographer had left Edmeston the country boy had packed his personal belongings into a spick and span carpetsack, and, ‘mid the hearty handclasps of his father and the tearful blessing of his mother, with parting injunctions to “take cafe of yourself, Eddie,” he was off to the nearest “big” city—Utica, N.Y.—to perfect himself in the photographer’s art.
A stay of less than two years in Utica sufficed to given all that was possible there in the line of photographic knowledge, and another move into a larger locality landed young Brand in Kingston, Ontario. Soon came a jump into a “real metropolis” in the shape of Rochester, N.Y., and there the name of Brand commanded its first widespread attention in the world of photography. He perfected a process for photographing on patent leather which, had he patented the discovery, would have made him a rich man at that youthful age, but instead he revoted his time in Rochester to teaching the process to competitive photographers, in which manner he was enabled in a short period to amass a sum of something more than $1,000.
Chicago Attracts Him in ’58.
The motto, “Forward, aye Forward,” used in the Brand crest of today, seems then to have become a breathing part of the great portrait maker, for at just about that time tales of a wondrous future were discussed in the East, of Chicago, a little town on the shores of Lake Michigan, with big prospects and plenty of room for men of the Brand type. A train brought him from Buffalo to Chicago in something less than a week’s time, and a few days of reconnoitering satisfied his ambitious spirit that Chicago was to be the scene of his life’s successes and attainment of his principal business aim—”absolute superiority.” Returning East, he settled his affairs there and in due time was back again in Chicago, prepared to tie to this city’s fortunes, for better or for worse. That was in 1858, and Mr. Brand at that time was 23 years of age. The location he selected by him for his first Chicago gallery was at No. 109 Lake street, in what was then the heart of the city. There he remained until 1870, when increased business and fame to his name caused a removal to larger and more pretentious quarters at No. 34 Washington street, where Brand’s Temple of Art became one of Chicago’s points of interest. It was while at that location that the Chicago fire wiped out every trace of what had stood there, and the blow to Mr. Brand was a disastrous one. Dazed in the loss of all he had accumulated in the line of photographic and mechanical equipment, but never unnerved or weakened in his indomitable will power, he quickly re-established his business in a private residence at what was then No. 504 Wabash avenue (now 1223), and in November, 1871, scarce two months after Chicago’s monster disaster, he was ready for business and open to the public in his new location.
The Photographic World Surpassed.
In `1875, when the burned district had been partly rebuilt, the Brand’s studios were installed at Nos. 210 and 212 Wabash avenue, near Adams street, and from then until Jan. `12, 1901, (two weeks ago), the location remained unchanged, Meantime Mr. Brand and his son, E. L. Brand, Jr., who had been taken into full partnership in in the business, had completed a study and research of over two years’ duration tending toward the establishing in Chicago of such studios, in point of magnificence and thoroughness of appointments as could not be surpassed in America. This resulted in the opening, early in December, 1900, of the Brand’s studios at Nos. 73-75 Jackson boulevard, east, to witness and to participate in the exultant satisfaction of which Edwin L. Brand, Sr., lived just long enough and that was all, for on Christmas day, after a happy, loving morning with his family, he died suddenly, but peacefully, with the knowledge that the aim of his life tom outdo all others in his line of business, in the entire world, had been realized, and that his work on earth was ended.
Prominent in Club Life and Masonry.
He was a member of the Calumet club, the Chicago Athletic association, the Hamilton club, and the Washington Park club, in each of which he was highly respected and universally beloved for his sterling qualities of manliners, and his gentle manners.
He was prominent in Knight of Pythian affairs, and on the occasion of his death a general order was officially issued by command of Major General Carnahan from the headquarters of the Uniform Rank, K. of P., which teemed with loving eulogy and respect. He first became a member of Cosmopolitan lodge, No. 6, K. of P. of Illinois, in 1880, but in 1889 withdrew to join Badger lodge No. 219, of Chicago. He was captain of the first company of Uniform Rank organized in Illinois, and was always a lover of military maneuvers, at which his born executive ability made him an adept. He was the first Brigadier General of the K. of P., Illinois brigade, and was re-elected for a second term, which expired in 1889, when he resigned. Later in the same year he was commissioned as Brigadier General and chief of staff of the Major General, which commission he retained until the time of his death. No Pythian ever appealed for aid to him in vain. Mr. Brand organized and became first captain of the Chicago Hussars, the most celebrated cavalry troop of this city, and was later chosen major of the squadron when it had grown to those proportions. It was this magnificent body of troopers that was selected by the World’s Fair directory in 1893 as the official escort for all the great occasions of that year.
In the Field of Militia.
Mr. Brand was a private in the famous Ellsworth Zouaves, organized in Chicago in 1861. He succeeded Colonel Ellsworth as captain of the original company, when the colonel abandoned the Chicago organization to go to New York, and organize the regiment which he took into the field of action.
His Word Was His Bond.
As a man among men his word was as solemnly fulfilled as his bond, and no man in business cared for any stringer assurance of his intention to perform any act than his mere promise to do so.
During all the years of continuous success following Mr. Brand’s coming to Chicago in 1858 he had invested liberally in real estate, until the study of probable future values in Chicago property became to him a hobby. His natural shrewdness, too, stood him well in his investment operations, for when his will was recently probated the list included over $642,000 in real estate alone, to which may easily be added enough in other lines to represent at least $1,000,000, realized from the lone $1,000 which represented the whole of his earthly possessions upon his arrival in Chicago less than forty-three years before.
Early in the ’60s Mr. Brand purchased the east half of the site where now stands the Brand studios in Jackson boulevard, east, and subsequently the west half (No. 75) was acquired, that a double building might be erected, as was done. The entire property was not leased by Mr. Brand, but instead represents but one of several prosperous investments made by him years and years ago.
Succeeded by His Son.
With the demise of Edwin L. Brand, Sr., the son and partner, Edwin L. Jr., becomes sole proprietor and managing director of this beautiful and sumptuous gallery. He has identically the views of his father as to how best to conduct such aristocratic studios as these, and no detail will be changed from the plans originally laid down for their future. Mr. Brand, Jr., has retained the services of Mr. Lee Steffins, who is in charge of the operating room, and of Mr. “Dick” Steffins as manager of the printing department. These gentlemen were selected by Mr. Brand, Sr., as being, without exception, the most thorough workmen and best natural students in the photographic world. Both are young men, bright, apt, and scientific in photography. The balance of the working forces at these studios will be maintained as nearly as possible exactly as would have been the desire of General Brand had he lived to longer enjoy the crowning achievement of his business life—the realization of his aim tom outdo and surpass the world in his chosen calling.
Mr. Brand’s Chicago Studio Locations:
108 & 110 Lake Street
28 Washington Street
1223 Wabash Avenue
210 & 212 Wabash Avenue
1900-1900 73-75 Jackson Boulevard
12, 16, 18 East Jackson after 1911.
This building was torn down in 1913 and was replaced by the Lytton Building.