Edward in 1920 and FRED HARTSOOK

These images came from my friend Bert’s collection. I don’t know where he found them, but I think they’re quite a nice find.

This is Edward in 1920. That's all I know about this young man. This lock of hair was tucked in with the two photos. I have not found anything online about the Nelson Studio in Santa Rosa, California.

Click on image to see it larger.

This second photo was taken at a Hartsook studio.

Click on either image to see it larger.

The following information about the photographer Fred Hartsook is from Wikipedia.
Fred Hartsook (26 October 1876 – 30 September 1930) was an American photographer and owner of a California studio chain described as "the largest photographic business in the world" at the time,[1] who counted Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, Mary Pickford, and sitting President Woodrow Wilson among his celebrity clients. He later became the owner of the Hartsook Inn, a resort in Humboldt County, and two ranches in Southern California on which he reared prized Holstein cattle. Hartsook was married to Bess Hesby, queen of the San Francisco Pan-Pacific Exposition of 1915.
Fred Hartsook was born on 26 October 1876 in Marion, Indiana to John Hartsook and Abbie, née Gorham. He was born into a family of photographers and studio owners, his father and two uncles were all successful in the business and his grandfather had been the first photographer to open a studio in Virginia. According to a 1921 profile by John S. McGroarty, "the first Hartsooks [took] up the profession when it was in the infancy of development with the old daguerrotype and the first wet plate processes."
After graduating from high school at age sixteen Hartsook was apprenticed by his uncle as a civil engineer, but spent most of his time in his father's studio. He moved to Salt Lake City, Utah and married Florence Newcomb, 12 September 1901. Flossie came from a family of photographers. She operated her own studio in Vernal, Utah in 1906. Flossie served as Fred's assistant for their traveling photographic studio throughout the Utah territory. They had one daughter; Frances born 25 June 1902. Fred and family then set out to establish themselves in California, arriving sometime after 1906. Initially, Hartsook operated as an "itinerant shutterbug, [wandering] all over the state, his team of mules pulling a homemade darkroom." Later he opened two studios, in Santa Ana and Santa Barbara, but eventually closed them in order to open a studio on 636 South Broadway in Los Angeles.
Hartsook's success as a photographer and studio owner allowed him to expand into other cities along the Pacific Coast, including San Francisco and Oakland. In 1921, McGroarty gives the number of studios as 20 and describes it as the "largest photographic business in the world". Bill Robertson, director of the Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services, cited by KPCC in 2009, mentions 30 studios.
Even if the bulk of the business came from everyday studio portraiture, Hartsook gained prominence through his celebrity clients, which included silent era Hollywood actors such as Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, and Carlyle Blackwell, other celebrities such as pilot Charles Lindbergh, entrepreneur Henry Ford, and opera singer Geraldine Farrar, and politicians like House leaders Champ Clark and Joseph Gurney Cannon. McGroarty describes a 40-minute sitting with President Woodrow Wilson in September 1919 as "the first formal sitting since Mr. Wilson became president." Also in 1919, Fred Hartsook married Bess Hesby, who in 1915 was "Miss Liberty" at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. They honeymooned in a cabin six miles (10 km) south of Garberville in the redwood forest of Humboldt County, California. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
The last incarnation of the Hartsook Inn is still standing and I stayed there a few times. It was a lovely place with nice little cabins. It’s been vacant for a long time and whenever I drive by I feel a little sad. It’s along a busy two lane section of Hwy 101. I imagine someday the road will be moved, changed into a 6 lane freeway, and bypass the Hartsook. It will be forgotten, just as Edward may be forgotten.

To see images of the Hartsook Inn click here to visit CardCow.

Click here to read a newspaper article about the Hartsook Inn in 1949.

Click here to read a nice blog post at Ernie's Place about the Inn.


  1. Stumbled across your blog while entering a family portrait into my genealogy research. This photo was taken probably around 1915-17, in San Francisco, and has the early Hartsook, Cal, mark in lower left corner. Your blog enlightened and pleased me. History bloomed for a few moments; thanks for this.

    1. I'm thrilled you found this dusty old corner of the net. Equally thrilled you enjoyed yourself. Come back and browse to see even more.

  2. Too Funny!
    I found your site purely by accident just as the above poster did. I was researching an old photo of a family, that I have no idea who they are. I thought I would somehow figure it out during my years of genealogy research, but have not. It too is a nice photo taken by Hartsook of California.

  3. Anonymous4/12/2020

    I'm glad to find your site and hope that you know some history regarding Fred Hartsook and approximately when he took some photographs of my grandfather. On each picture there is the Hartsook logo and underneath it, as part of the logo, is printed "Seattle" but nowhere in the main "Hartsook" website does it list Seattle as one of his 30 locations. I'm hoping you might know of such a studio and when it was in operation.