Black and White Portrait Of Baby Boy, By G. W. Davis, 1900s.

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Black and White Portrait Of Baby Boy, By G. W. Davis, 1900s. The Name 'Dan R Williams' Hand Printed at The Bottom Of Photograph.


Added Tidbits

G. W. Davis is mentioned often for the hiring of James Conway Farley, a prominent black photographer, at a time when that was unusual. He is also said to have fired other employees who objected. 


A 1907 photo of the Brown studio at 603 N. Second St. (Photo courtesy Library of Congress American Memory collection)


Studios Formed

Brown was born into slavery in 1852 in Orange County, the son of Willis and Winnie Brown.

“The whole family was enslaved near Barboursville,” says Michael Brown, George O. Brown’s great-grandson. “This lineage comes down to me from my father’s side.” The family moved to Richmond after the Civil War.


Davis owned and operated a photo studio and gallery at 827 Broad St.; the Richmond city directory lists Davis’ business in two locations over the span of a quarter-century, from 1875 to 1900. Though not much is known about Davis, he is “often noted for hiring African-American photographers James Conway Farley (in 1875) and George O. Brown (in 1879),” reads a notation on one of Davis’ photos dated 1893, archived in Virginia Commonwealth University’s James Cabell Branch Library. Michael Brown says the relationship between his great-grandfather and Farley evolved from time spent as co-workers at Davis’ studio into a partnership as co-operators at a new studio, Jefferson Art Gallery.



Michael Brown provided this family pendant that holds a photograph of his great-grandfather George O. Brown for the BHMVA exhibition. (Photo by Julianne Tripp)                                    


“Through [George O. Brown’s] award-winning portraits, and that of his descendants, we are privy to the vast contributions of the black experience in Richmond and the commonwealth,” says historian and educator Elvatrice Belsches. A researcher for the Steven Spielberg film “Lincoln,” Belsches served as curator of the BHMVA’s “Yesterday’s Stories” exhibition. She notes that Brown’s work was recognized nationally.


Item Code - VIS12E57A3REA

Width: 3 3/8"  Height: 7 3/8"  Depth: 1/16"  Weight: 19 g

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