When the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association opened the property to the public in 1860, they also undertook a series of extensive—and costly—repairs and renovations. It was not long before they saw the opportunity to harness the emerging technology of photography to help showcase the glory of this landmark property. By selling views of Mount Vernon in photographs and stereoviews, the Association could continue to raise funds for the ongoing work of preserving the site.
While many people took pictures of Mount Vernon, only these photographers were authorized by the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association.
Gardner was born on October 17, 1821 in Paisley, Scotland. In 1856, he and his family, immigrated to the United States and stayed in New York City. Mathew Brady hired him as an operator, along with his brother James, in his New York studio. During this time he introduced the imperial size print, a large print roughly 21 x 17 inches. When the Civil War broke out in 1861, Brady set out to photographically cover the conflict. In 1862 after the battle at Antietam, Gardner along with James Gibson, were the first to photograph the dead on the battlefield. When the photographs of the dead were exhibited at Mathew Brady’s studio in New York City, they caused a sensation. Until that time only paintings and lithograph prints depicted battles and the aftermath, here was the stark reality of war.
Sometime in 1863 Gardner broke from Brady and opened his own studio in Washington D.C. and brought along several photographers that were in Brady’s employ. The first person he photographed in his new studio was President Lincoln. Gardner photographed the president more times than any other photographer.
In 1866 he published a large two volume set of his war photographs. Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book Of The War contained one hundred large prints, each pasted on a page, along with his descriptive text. He documented the west ward expansion of the railroad in 1867 and produced more than 150 stereo views and full plate prints of Kansas and the surrounding area. From 1867 to 1878 he was the official photographer of the Ladies’ Mount Vernon Association.
Luke C. Dillon
Luke Dillon, who operated out of Washington D.C t Pullman's Gallery, 935 Pennsylvania Ave. was a member of the Photographers Association of the District of Columbia. Authorized photographer of the Ladies' Mount Vernon Association from 1884 to 1894.
Dillon was born in New York to Irish parents and served in the Civil War as a photographer to the Army of the Potomac. As “Photographer to Mount Vernon” from 1874 through 1897, his duties were to photograph not only rooms at Mount Vernon and the members of the MVLA at their annual meetings but also hundreds of tourists each year. During this time he lived in Washington, D.C., where he maintained a photographic gallery at 935 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
According to The Evolution of Washington, DC: Historical Selections from the Albert H…. By James M. Goode
Newton G. Johnson
Johnson operated out of Erie and Corry, Pa. Later in Washington D.C. Known Washington D.C. locations at 317 Pennsylvania Ave., 309 9th St., and 426 7th St. Authorized photographer of the Ladies’ Mount Vernon Association from 1879 to 1883 with some published by James F. Jarvis.
From October 21, 1857, until at least August 18, 1858, N.G. Johnson advertised a daguerreotype, mclainotype, and ambrotype gallery and daguerreian stock depot in Iowa City, Iowa. He was located on Washington Street, three door east of the post office. It is unclear is he was identical to Newton G. Johnson, a daguerreian at 177 South Clark Street, corner of Monroe, Chicago, in 1859-60; Washington, D.C., from 1864-1866; Meadville and Erie, Pennsylvania (dates unknown); and 48 Main Street, Corry, Pennsylvania, in 1873-1874.
According to Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide, A Biographical Dictionary, 1839-1865, by Peter E. Palmquist, Thomas R. Kailbourn
“Johnson, H.G. Daguerreotypist; ambrotypist;