While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »

STANLEY, JOHN H. STEPHEN

Kendall Curlee, rev. by Randolph B. Campbell and Brett J. Derbes
Newspaper Article
An Article in The Galveston Daily News about John H. Stephen Stanley's photography, 1865. Courtesy of The Galveston Daily News. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Sam Houston (1863)
Sam Houston (1863). Possibly by John H. Stephen Stanley. Daguerreotype Certified by Christie's Auction House. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.
Grave of John H. Stephen Stanley
Grave of John H. Stephen Stanley. Courtesy of Robert Hague. Image available on the Internet and included in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107.

STANLEY, JOHN H. STEPHEN (1800–1872). John H. Stephen Stanley (also known as John Holt Stanway and John H. Smythe Stanley), photographer, was born in Manchester, England, on May 31,1800.  Aboard the Great Western, Stanley met Ashbel Smith, who convinced him in December 1845 to immigrate to Houston, Texas, where he made daguerreotype portraits. Though he was reported to be an amateur at the time he moved to Houston, he opened a portrait studio sometime after his arrival. A few years later his photographic work won praise in The Photographic Art-Journal and Humphrey's Journal. In December 1851 Stanley announced the completion of the Daguerreian Sky-Light Gallery and his partnership with FitzGibbon and Bourges of Galveston, an association that apparently had dissolved by April 1852. In November 1851 Stanley publicized his ability to take portraits and views on glass, ivory, or paper, "with duplicates to any required extent," indicating that he was experimenting with a negative-positive process at an early date. In an advertisement dated May 27, 1852, he announced that he had "succeeded in taking pictures on glass," probably using the collodion process. However, he made no mention of the glass-plate process in later advertisements. Stanley's experiments with advanced techniques are plausible in light of his contacts with an international network of photographers. He was a correspondent of the Daguerrean Journal in 1851 and was acquainted with London photographers Robert Hunt, author of A Popular Treatise on the Art of Photography (1841), and Antoine François Claudet, a successful portraitist who experimented with a number of photographic techniques. Stanley pursued other scientific endeavors, especially astronomy, which he taught in Houston. In 1857 he was a correspondent of the United States Commission of Patents on agricultural topics, and from December 1869 to October 1870 he made meteorological observations for the Smithsonian Institution. In the 1870 census, Stanley reported his occupation as “photographist.” Stanley and his wife Eliza had at least three children. He died in Houston on February 25, 1872, and was buried at Glenwood Cemetery.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Lawrence T. Jones III, Lens on the Texas Frontier (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2014). Photographic Art-Journal, March 1852. Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Texas Collection, October 1941. Telegraph and Texas Register, October 24, December 19, 1851, June 25, 1852.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, Kendall Curlee, rev. by Randolph B. Campbell and Brett J. Derbes, "STANLEY, JOHN H. STEPHEN," accessed July 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fst13.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Modified on January 31, 2020. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...