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Manitoba Photographers Index: Frederick V. Bingham (c1855-1929)

Link to:
Work locations | Catalogue | Samples | Sources

Born in Minnesota, USA around 1855 to John and Laura Bingham of New Hampshire, Frederick V. Bingham married Mary E. Armington in April 1878. He worked as a photographer in Northfield, Minnesota, either alone or in partnership with Ira E. Sumner, taking stereoview images from the town in the series “Stereographs of Minnesota Scenery”. He also took stereoviews in nearby Cannon Falls, Minnesota and in neighboring states, such as the series “Beauties of Clermont” featuring scenes and buildings in Clermont, Iowa. A 1879-80 city directory of St. Paul, Minnesota shows Bingham as operating a music store there.

By May 1881, Bingham was in Winnipeg, probably attracted - along with thousands of others - by entrepreneurial opportunities provided by the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in the city that year. In the Canadian census conducted in June, he reported himself as “married” but there is no evidence that Mary Armington Bingham moved to Winnipeg with him, as he was living in a boarding house with several other men. Establishing himself as a portrait and landscape photographer, Bingham was well positioned to photograph the rapid expansion of the railway line across the prairies, as well as the growing towns and cities in Manitoba. He took numerous shots of Winnipeg durings its boom years in 1881 and 1882, including the series “Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba.”

His 1882 series “Stereoscopie Views of West Lynne and Vicinity” featuring streets and natural scenes around West Lynne, Manitoba, now a ghost town near the Canada-US border, extolled its virtues:

In 1879, it consisted of merely of the Hudson’s Bay Co’s trading post and a population of only four persons. In August 1881, with a population of 700 ... it showed what two years cultivation of the wonderfully fertile country tributary to it and the enterprise of its business men have accomplished ... The position that West Lynne occupies, as the depot of supplies for a vast agricultural country, together with the energy and harmony with which its business men work for its advance, will make it at no distant day one of the leading cities of the Province. [1]

Bingham’s relationship with the Canadian Pacific Railway remains unclear. Although many of his photographs state that he was an “Official Photographer to the CPR”, there are no records in the company’s archives that they employed Bingham formally, nor was there a formal endorsement of his work implied by his “official” status. [2] However, the railway did purchase copies of his photos on several occasions, often with many duplicates of the same image, for use in promoting its facilities in general, and western travel in particular. In late 1882, Bingham was sent west by W. R. Baker, Assistant General Manager of the CPR at Winnipeg, to take photographs of the line and scenic views but he returned without much success, claiming to have been hindered by “smoke and other obstacles.” [3] A second attempt later in the year was likewise unsuccessful, according to Baker. However, Bingham was apparently more satisfied with his results, and in May 1883, he asked William Van Horne to provide him with free transportation into the western mountains for himself and two assistants, letters that he could provide to CPR employees along the way to solicit their help where needed, and supplies from railway stations in the mountains. [4] Van Horne granted the request but refused access to supplies that he said belonged to railway contractors. But he agreed to intercede on Bingham’s behalf to obtain supplies from the contractors at cost.

Bingham formed a brief partnership with another itinerant photographer, A. B. Thom, around May 1883 and they travelled along the CPR line, advertising a catalogue of images taken from “Port Arthur to the Rockies.” In April 1884, the partners were taking photos of the docks, grain elevators, and buildings at the town of Port Arthur [now Thunder Bay], as well as along the scenic north shore of Lake Superior using a steam yacht. [5] But the partnership had dissolved by 1886, and the two partners went their separate ways. Bingham continued to travel, often taking photos for sale to the railway. He clearly felt that his services, whether compensated directly or not, were beneficial to the company, as he argued in an 1886 letter to Van Horne, requesting a railway pass and help in promoting an exhibition of his images:

In the course of the time I have been on this line I have published over 10,000 views which have been and are now wherever they may be an advertisement for the country and the C.P.R. Your Co. has been very kind to me in the matter of passes and I do not wish to get any for nothing, still I really consider that this exhibition will be of great benefit to the road and feel that it is only fair that the Co. would give me a little “boost” in starting it. [6]

Through early 1886, Bingham appeared to have made north-western Ontario his home base, travelling from Port Arthur to take photographs along the CPR line at such stops as Chapleau, Schreiber, and White River. He proposed a trip to Vancouver in mid-1886 but his request to Van Horne for a railway pass was refused:

As regards your response to take a series of pictures along the line to Vancouver and request a pass for yourself and assistant. I should be glad to oblige you but we have been so overrun with similar applications that we have found it necessary to decline without discrimination every one of them; I could not therefore consistently make an exception in your particular case. [7]

The railway was likewise unsympathetic to Bingham’s request in September 1886 for the use of a caboose as a portable photographic studio. [8] Undaunted, Bingham later surfaced in Calgary [9] where he entertained the locals with a selection of his photographs taken around the city, and at nearby Banff:

Mr. F. V. Bingham’s entertainment at the Boynton Hall to-night promises to be a considerable treat. The excellence of his photographic views is well known, and when these are projected on a canvas 20 feet square they will give a wonderful idea of the scenery along the great national highways. Mr. Bingham has secured some excellent views of Calgary, which will be shown at to-night’s entertainment. We recommend all hands to take the show in. [10]

The next day, Bingham left on a west-bound train, expecting to take around 150 photographs along the line between Calgary and the west coast over a three-week period. By this time, he was working with the Vancouver photographic studio of C. S. Bailey [11]. By 1890, however, Bingham was back in the USA, being a landscape photographer in Superior, Wisconsin [12] then, three years later, at a studio in Omaha, Nebraska [13].

By 1895, the 40-year-old Bingham was in San Francisco, California, where he married 31-year-old Alice M. Garcelon [14]. In 1898, he was the general manager of the West Coast Photo Manufacturing Company, based at 271 South Main Street in Los Angeles, supplying photographic paper to photographers. [15] He spent the remainder of his life in California, living at Pomona City in 1910, and Los Angeles in 1920. He died there on 9 September 1929 at the age of 74 years.

Work locations

Bingham was itinerant for the majority of his time in Manitoba, apparently having a storefront studio only in 1881. One of his photographs taken circa 1886 gave his address as “Room 3, Catherine Block, corner King and Alexander Streets” - a boarding house in Winnipeg.

Year(s)

Address

1881

360½ Main Street, Winnipeg

c1886

Room 3, Catherine Block, corner King and Alexander Streets, Winnipeg

Catalogue

The following catalogue of photographs taken by F. V. Bingham, while in Manitoba between 1881 and 1886, is incomplete but gives some indication of the scope of his work:

Photo No.

Format

Photo Caption

1

Stereoview

City from Hudson’s Bay Co.’s Mill [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

2

Stereoview

City from Stauffer’s Mill [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

3

Stereoview

City from Residence of W. N. Fairbanks [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

4

Stereoview

City from Residence of W. N. Fairbanks [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

5

Stereoview

City from Residence of W. N. Fairbanks [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

6

Stereoview

Dominion St. - Reception of Marquis of Lorne [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

7

Stereoview

North Side of Dominion St. [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

8

Stereoview

Dominion St., from West Side of the River [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

9

Stereoview

South Side of Dominion St. [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

10

Stereoview

East Side Main St. [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

11

Stereoview

West Side Main St. [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

12

Stereoview

Free Traffic Bridge, Reception Marquis of Lorne [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

13

Stereoview

Free Traffic Bridge, from up River [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

14

Stereoview

Free Traffic Bridge, Str. Cheyenne, making the Draw [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

15

Stereoview

Baptist Church [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

16

Stereoview

Church of England [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

17

Stereoview

Canada Methodist Tabernacle [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

18

Stereoview

Presbyterian Church [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

19

Stereoview

Roman Catholic Church [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

20

Stereoview

Methodist Episcopal Church [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

21

Stereoview

Emerson Fire Apparatus [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

22

Stereoview

McKay Block [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

23

Stereoview

Str. Cheyenne at Levee [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

24

Stereoview

Rafting Crew on Red River [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

25

Stereoview

Picnic Grounds on Rev. John Scott’s Place [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

26

Stereoview

School House [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

27

Stereoview

Dominion Street in 1876 [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

28

Stereoview

Main Street in 1876 [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

29

Stereoview

49th Parallel - Boundary between U.S. and Canada [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

30

Stereoview

Lake Louise [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

31

Stereoview

River and Bridge from Residence of Capt. Nash [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

32

Stereoview

Emerson Depot and C.P.R. Train [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

33

Stereoview

Interior of Rinskopf & Carney’s Opera House [Views of Emerson and Vicinity]

34

Stereoview

City from East Side of River [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

35

Stereoview

City from the North [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

36

Stereoview

Brydges Avenue, Looking East [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

37

Stereoview

North Side Brydges Avenue [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

38

Stereoview

South Side Brydges Avenue [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

39

Stereoview

Hudson’s Bay Co’s Mill [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

40

Stereoview

School House [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

41

Stereoview

Looking East From Mill [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

42

Stereoview

Coulee Bridge [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

43

Stereoview

Picnic Grounds on Rev. John Scott’s Place [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

44

Stereoview

Lake Louise [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

45

Stereoview

City in 1879 [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

46

Stereoview

49th Parallel - Boundary Between U.S. and Canada [Stereoscopic Views of West Lynne and Vicinity]

89

Stereoview

St. Boniface College [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

90

Stereoview

Cathedrale de St. Boniface [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

93

Stereoview

St. Mary’s Church [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

94

Stereoview

St. Mary’s Academy [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

96

Stereoview

Wesley Hall [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

97

Stereoview

Hudson’s Bay Co., Main Street [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

98

Stereoview

Bank of Montreal [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

100

Stereoview

Potter, House. Carter Smith & Co. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

104

Stereoview

Regina, N.W.T. from east

105?

Stereoview

Donaldson Block [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

108

Stereoview

Louise Bridge [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

110

Stereoview

Manitoba College [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

111

Stereoview

Bank of Ontario [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

112

Stereoview

Bishop’s Court [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

118

Stereoview

Part of Main St. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

119

Stereoview

Part of Main St. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

120

Stereoview

Part of Main St. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

121

Stereoview

Part of Main St. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

123

Stereoview

Part of Main St. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

130

Stereoview

Part of Main St. [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

132

Stereoview

Assiniboine Bridge [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

137

Stereoview

Part of City from Ogilvie Mill [Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg]

185

Stereoview

On Echo Lake, Qu’Appelle Lake

197

Stereoview

Glen at St. John’s College - Winter

198

Stereoview

St. John’s College - Winter

204

Cabinet

Main St. Winnipeg From City Hall, North

Other Bingham stereoview series were as follows:

Stereographs of Minnesota Scenery [Northfield, MN]

No.

Caption

146

Mouth of Heath Creek

147

Bridge and Mills looking up river

148

Looking north from College

149

Bridge and Mills looking down river

150

Town from the residence of Jas. Kennedy

151

Public School House

152

Bridge and Mills from up river

153

City from College

154

R. R. Bridge, Heath Creek

155

City from residence of J. T. Ames

156

City from College

157

City from College

158

Carleton College

159

Bridge and Square

160

East side, Division Street

161

West side, Division Street

162

Castle Rock

163

West side City from College

163

Dundas from Bluff east of Town

164

Mills and Dam - Dundas

165

Dundas from Bluff, east of Town

166

Dundas Mills

167

Episcopal Church, Dundas

168

Archibald Monument, Dundas

169

Episcopal Church, interior, Dundas

170

Bridge and Mills, Dundas

171

Grotto below Falls. Big Falls on the river cannon, Dundas

172

Bluffs, east side of the river cannon, Dundas

173

Path to the Falls on the river cannon, Dundas

174

Bluff at Falls, east side

175

Path to Falls

176

Path to Falls

177

West end of Falls

178

Falls from West

179

Bluff below Falls, east side

180

At the Falls

Beauties of Clermont, Iowa

No.

Caption

100

Clermont from residence of Wm. Larrabee

102

Milldam and bridge from ford

103

Calvins Garden

104

Gorge near Clermont

105

Gorge near Clermont

107

Gorge near Clermont

108

Gorge near Clermont

109

Residence of Wm. Larrabee

110

Mouth of Creek below town

111

On the creek near R. R. bridge and cut

112

On the creek above R. R. bridge

113

M. E. Church, Clermont

Stereographs of Waseca & Vicinity [Waseca, MN]

No.

Caption

248

W. & St. P. Round House

Samples

Stereoview:
“Beauties of Clermont. [Iowa, late 1870s]
100. Clermont from residence of Wm. Larrabee” (front)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2006-0008

Stereoview:
“Beauties of Clermont. [Iowa, late 1870s]
100. Clermont from residence of Wm. Larrabee” (back)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2006-0008


Stereoview:
Tellers at the Merchants Bank of Emerson, 8 June 1882 (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Emerson - Buildings - Merchants Bank - 2.

Stereoview:
Tellers at the Merchants Bank of Emerson, 8 June 1882 (back)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Emerson - Buildings - Merchants Bank - 2.


Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
90. Cathedrale de St. Boniface” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, St. Boniface - Cathedral (1863) - 13.

Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
90. Cathedrale de St. Boniface” (back)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, St. Boniface - Cathedral (1863) - 13.


Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
120. Part of Main St.” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 6-1.

Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
120. Part of Main St.” (back)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 6-1.


Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
119. Part of Main St.” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 4.

Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
119. Part of Main St.” (back)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 4.


Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
130. Part of Main St.” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 3.

Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
130. Part of Main St.” (back)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 3.


Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
118. Part of Main St.” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 2.

Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
118. Part of Main St.” (back)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Winnipeg - Streets - Main 1882 - 2.


Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
110. Manitoba College” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Manitoba College 5-1.

Stereoview:
“Stereoscopic Views of the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba. [1882]
110. Manitoba College” (front)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Manitoba College 5-1.


Stereoview
“Stereoscopic Views along the Canadian Pacific Railway
449. Source of Kicking Horse River” (front) by Bingham & Thom
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2005-0086.

Stereoview
“Stereoscopic Views along the Canadian Pacific Railway
449. Source of Kicking Horse River” (back) by Bingham & Thom
Source: Gordon Goldsborough, 2005-0086.

Sources:

1. Archives of Manitoba, Bingham stereoview of Merchants Bank, Emerson - Buildings - Merchants Bank - 2.

2. Only a few letters were exchanged between F. V. Bingham and William C. Van Horne and other officials of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Bingham’s letters mostly dealt with sale of photographs to the railway or requests for free passes on their line. None suggested that any formal relationship existed between Bingham and the railway, contrary to the impression given by the phrase “Official Photographer to the CPR” that appears on many of Bingham’s photographs from this period. I thank Bob Kennell and Jo-Anne Colby of the Canadian Pacific Railway Archives in Montreal for providing access to their files, and their interest in the project.

3. Canadian Pacific Railway Archives, RG1A, File 97, letter dated 13 February 1883 from W. R. Baker to W. C. Van Horne.

4. Canadian Pacific Railway Archives, RG1A, File 97, letter dated 25 May 1883 from F. V. Bingham at Winnipeg to W. C. Van Horne.

5. Manitoba Daily Free Press, 16 April 1884, page 4.

6. Canadian Pacific Railway Archives, RG1A, File 11827, letter dated 9 February 1886 from F. V. Bingham at Port Arthur to W. C. Van Horne.

7. Canadian Pacific Railway Archives, RG1A, File 12833, letter dated 30 April 1886 from W. C. Van Horne to F. V. Bingham at Schreiber, Ontario.

8. Canadian Pacific Railway Archives, RG1A, Van Horne letters, volume 17, letter dated 6 September 1886 from W. C. Van Horne to F. V. Bingham at Rat Portage [now Kenora], Ontario.

9. Calgary Weekly Herald, 30 October 1886.

10. Calgary Weekly Herald, 1 November 1886.

11. David Mattison, Camera Workers: The British Columbia, Alaska & Yukon Photographic Directory, 1858-1950. http://members.shaw.ca/bchistorian/cw1858-1950.html.

12. Superior, Douglas County, Wisconsin Photographers 1890-1892. http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~amerikin/wi/suph1890.html.

13. Carl Mautz, Biographies of Western Photographers: A Reference Guide to Photographers Working in the 19th Century American West, Carl Mautz Publishing.

14. San Francisco Call Vital Records for 1869-1895, http://feefhs.org/fdb2/6995/6995-48.html.

15. Advertisement for West Coast Photo Manufacturing Company, The Land of Sunshine: The Magazine of California and the West, December 1898. [Internet Archive, www.archive.org/download/outwestland10archrich/outwestland10archrich.pdf]

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 25 October 2012

Manitoba Photographers: 1858 to Present

A list of photographers who have worked in Manitoba, from 1858 to the present, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

© 2006-2014
Gordon Goldsborough & Manitoba Historical Society. All rights reserved.

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