Filed Under Settlers

George Edward Anderson Photographs

George Edward Anderson is known for pioneering early 20th century photography in Utah. His collection shows what was important to Utahns, particularly to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

George Edward Anderson was born on October 28, 1860 to parents George Anderson and Mary Ann Anderson in Salt Lake City. He was raised a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As a boy he was apprenticed to Charles R. Savage, a pioneer in photography in Utah, and set up his own studio at the age of 17. In 1886, he established the Temple Bazar studio in Manti, and in 1888 moved it to Springville to the southwest corner of Main and 3rd South Streets. He also operated traveling tent studios.

Early in his career he took many studio photographs of prominent and everyday Utahns. Later he began to travel and take photographs of significant historical LDS sites. However, his travels took a toll on his relationship with his wife, Olive Lowry Anderson, so he remained home for a period. However his church commissioned him to document new temple dedications in photography. Before going to what would be his last photo shoot, his wife urged him to stay home. He ignored her warning, traveling to the Mesa Arizona Temple dedication. Shortly after the ceremony, he suffered heart failure and died on May 9, 1928 after being transported home. In his obituary the Salt Lake Telegram recounted his accomplishments in photography: “he established a studio at Springville and also had studios at Spanish Fork and Manti... He devoted considerable time to a collection of L.D.S. church historical pictures.”

After Anderson’s death, his collection of photographs changed hands many times. The significance of his images were apparent to many different groups, particularly the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. A group of LDS seminary teachers in Provo bought Anderson’s collection from his wife in 1928, the year he died. Later Church Historians became aware of the collection and bought it from the seminary teachers. Representatives of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints worked to gather all of the negatives from Anderson’s collection and brought all of his photographs into one collection. After digitizing these negatives, the Church destroyed all but 444 of the glass negatives from the collection. Finally, the collection found a home in the L. Tom Perry Special Collections at Brigham Young University.

Images

George Edward Anderson
George Edward Anderson Source: Public Domain
Courtesy L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University
Hill Cumorah
Hill Cumorah Source: Utah State Historical Society Classified Collection Creator: George Edward Anderson
Untitled
George Edward Anderson and wife and Eva and Edda
George Edward Anderson and wife and Eva and Edda Source: L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University
Photographer Dies at Springville Home
Photographer Dies at Springville Home Source: Salt Lake Telegram. Digitized by J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah
1907 Newspaper Advertisement Showing Anderson's Springville Studio
1907 Newspaper Advertisement Showing Anderson's Springville Studio Source: Truth (Salt Lake City, Utah), 21 December 1907, p. 3.

https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn85058310/1907-12-21/ed-1/seq-6/

Location

Metadata

Starrla Kay Pearson, Brigham Young University, “George Edward Anderson Photographs,” Intermountain Histories, accessed July 24, 2024, https://www.intermountainhistories.org/items/show/776.