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John Norris Teunisson

Paintings Works On Paper Photographs Sculpture

 

American, 1869-1959

Teunisson was born in Summit, Mississippi. He worked for the Underwriters Inspection Bureau in New Orleans as an insurance inspector from 1892 until at least 1900. Teunisson first advertized his photographic services in 1901. Six years later, he billed himself an "Expert Photographer" Teunisson's studios were on St. Charles Street until 1923, when he moved to 8th Street.

Like George François Mugnier (1855 - 1936), Teunisson photographed a wide range of public events, such as parades and centennial celebrations, as well as private dinners and the Rex balls. A number of images, such as City Hall at Night, were reproduced widely during the mid-twentieth century, on postcards and in magazines. Teunisson donated a large collection of photographs to the Louisiana State Museum in the mid-1920s. He moved to Washington, D.C., near the end of his life

 

Mexican Party aboard Ship - John Norris Teunisson
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Mexican Party aboard Ship
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 06558.06

 

Grain Elevator, Course of Erection - John Norris Teunisson
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Grain Elevator, Course of Erection
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 06558.14

 

Fitchenberg's Penny Arcade - John Norris Teunisson
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Fitchenberg's Penny Arcade
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.001

The arcade was located at Old Spanish Fort Amusement Park, a popular attraction between the 1880s and early 1920s, when nearby Pontchartrain Beach eclipsed the park.

 

President Taft Starts Historic Trip through New Orleans - John Norris Teunisson
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President Taft Starts Historic Trip through New Orleans
John Norris Teunisson
October 31, 1909
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.005

Taft arrived in New Orleans on October 30, 1909. With him were twenty-four governors and 117 Congressmen. On October 31, he traveled by automobile to Jackson Barracks during what was described as a "historic tour of New Orleans," led by Professor Alcee Fortier of Tulane University, an inaugural member of the Louisiana State Museum Board of Curators.

 

President Taft Returns from a Ride on the Lake - John Norris Teunisson
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President Taft Returns from a Ride on the Lake
John Norris Teunisson
1909
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.008

The listing ship no doubt prompted comments about Tafts's substantial weight - over 300 pounds. The president was known to make such jokes at his own expense.

 

Speech by a Candidate for Governor - John Norris Teunisson
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Speech by a Candidate for Governor
John Norris Teunisson
1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.027

Jared Y. Sanders, a Democrat, was governor form 1908 until 1912. Luther E. Hall, also a Democrat, served from 1912 until 1916.

 

Woodland Scene with Woman and Dog in a Boat - John Norris Teunisson
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Woodland Scene with Woman and Dog in a Boat
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.033

This composition has a different character than most of Teunisson's other photographs, suggesting the influence of Pictorialists in the circle of Alfred Steiglitz (1864 -1946) or Baron Adolph de Meyer (1868 - 1947).

 

1900 Census Map with New Orleans as a Central Point - John Norris Teunisson
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1900 Census Map with New Orleans as a Central Point
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.045

New Orleans was the 12th largest city in the U.S. in 1900, with a population of 287,104. It was the largest city in the south.

 

Interior of Le Petit Theatre - John Norris Teunisson
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Interior of Le Petit Theatre
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1920
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.047

Le Petit Theatre opened in 1916, located at 503 St. Anne Street. In 1922, the theatre moved to a new building designed by Richard Koch at the corner of St. Peter and Chartres Streets. The theatre closed in December of 2010.

 

Red Cross Clothes Display - John Norris Teunisson
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Red Cross Clothes Display
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1918
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.054

This display may have been related to the U.S. entry into World War I.

 

Godchaux's Hat Display Window - John Norris Teunisson
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Godchaux's Hat Display Window
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper, 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.064

Leon Godchaux founded a clothing store in New Orleans in 1845. By the end of the century, it had become a fixture on Canal Street. Godchaux also owned a number of sugar plantations. The department store, located at 826 - 828 Canal Street, went bankrupt in 1986.

Teunisson's composition and selection of subject recalls the series of shop windows photographed by Eugène Atget (1857 - 1927) in Paris at the turn-of-of the century.

 

Cabildo Alley Facing St. Peter Street - John Norris Teunisson
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Cabildo Alley Facing St. Peter Street
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.074

 

Launching of the Steamer Mexoil, Violet, Louisiana - John Norris Teunisson
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Launching of the Steamer Mexoil, Violet, Louisiana
John Norris Teunisson
1918
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.141

The tanker Mexoil was built by the Alabama-New Orleans Transportation Company for the Pan American Petroleum Corporation. Side launches were not common in Louisiana at the time. In this instance, a river width of only 100 feet necessitated the unusual launch. Much was made in the press of the stout Columbian Rope used to secure the vessel. Mexoil was 246 ½ feet long with a beam of 36 ½ feet, and could carry 16,000 barrels of crude oil.

 

Fair Grounds Race Track - John Norris Teunisson
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Fair Grounds Race Track
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1905 - 1908
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.177.32

In 1852, the Union Race Course opened in Gentilly. The name was changed to the Creole Race Grounds in 1859, and to the Fair Grounds Racetrack in 1863. The Louisiana Legislature banned horse racing in 1908. Racing resumed in 1915; however, the grandstand burned a few years later.

 

Hoehn & Dieth Millinery - John Norris Teunisson
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Hoehn & Dieth Millinery
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1903
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, 08482.177.65

The Millinery was located on Chartres Street. On August 30, 1908, a fire ravaged the French Quarter near Bienville and Chartres Streets. It destroyed three blocks and dozens of buildings, including Hoehn & Dieth's wholesale millinery. The New York Times reported that barrels of whisky and brandy from two adjacent liquor stores exploded, "endangering the lives of firemen engaged in fighting the flames." Others in the press criticized the slow response of firefighters. Returning from a picnic, firemen discovered a shortage of water.

 

Governor William Wright Heard - John Norris Teunisson
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Governor William Wright Heard
John Norris Teunisson
1903
Albumen on paper 5 3/8 x 3 7/8 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0133.1983.1

Heard was governor of Louisiana from 1900 to1904. A Democrat with Populist sentiments, he concentrated on reforming the system of contracting convict labor and worked to eradicate the boll weevil.

There were few automobiles in the state in 1904. In 1915, Louisiana became the last state to require owners to register their vehicles.

 

Newcomb College, Pottery Building - John Norris Teunisson
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Newcomb College, Pottery Building
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0400.1990.3.20

The H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College opened at Tulane University in 1886. The school hired Jules Garby to teach pottery in 1895. Better known today are George E. Ohr (1857 - 1918), the "Mad Potter from Biloxi," and Joseph Fortune Meyer (1848 - 1931), who both began teaching the following year.

 

Newcomb College, A Clerical Class Room - John Norris Teunisson
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Newcomb College, A Clerical Class Room
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0400.1990.03.26

In addition to art classes, the course of study offered at Newcomb included physical education and business.

 

New Orleans Public Schools, McDonogh School #6 - John Norris Teunisson
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New Orleans Public Schools, McDonogh School #6
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1904
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0400.1990.07.3

John McDonogh (1779 - 1850), a Baltimore commission and shipping merchant, willed about $700,000 to establish free public schools in New Orleans to educate impoverished children, black and white. No. 6 was the last school established during Reconstruction. In total, thirty schools were built.

 

Charity Hospital, New Orleans - John Norris Teunisson
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Charity Hospital, New Orleans
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0400.1990.15.10

 

X-Ray and Stethoscope Room, Polyclinic, New Orleans - John Norris Teunisson
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X-Ray and Stethoscope Room, Polyclinic, New Orleans
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0400.1990.15.17

 

Madame John's Legacy - John Norris Teunisson
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Madame John's Legacy
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T0454.1992.1

 

Alex Hutchinson - John Norris Teunisson
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Alex Hutchinson
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T1501.1986.01

The individual depicted may be James Alexander Hutchinson, born in Mississippi in 1850 and died in Rayville, Louisiana in 1941.

 

Beverly Warner Dinner - John Norris Teunisson
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Beverly Warner Dinner
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1905 - 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T1501.1986.16

The Reverend Beverly E. Warner (1855 - 1910) was pastor of Trinity Episcopal Church. He came to New Orleans in 1893 after having served as rector of St. Stephen's Church in Philadelphia. Three years later, Warner founded Kingsley House, an educational institution for children. He was praised for his heroism during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1897. Warner wrote several books, including English History in Shakespeare (1894) and The Young Woman in Modern Life (1903).

 

Ed Soulé Home, Richmond Place - John Norris Teunisson
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Ed Soulé Home, Richmond Place
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1911
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T1501.1986.28

Richmond Place was the third residential park in New Orleans, following Rosa Park (1891) and Audubon Place (1893). Completed in 1907, it is located between Freret and Loyola Streets. The name "Ed Soulé" in Teunisson's title refers to the architect, Robert Spencer Soulé, who designed houses for Richard Eustis, Martin Manion, and Sidney J. White in 1911. Soulé also designed homes on Denleith Court (1911), Everett Place (1908), and Exposition Boulevard (1908).

 

News Orleans City Railroad, Walking Beam Car, Bayou Bridge and City Park Streetcar Line - John Norris Teunisson
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News Orleans City Railroad, Walking Beam Car, Bayou Bridge and City Park Streetcar Line
John Norris Teunisson
c. 1910
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T1501.1986.39

 

City Hall at Night - John Norris Teunisson
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City Hall at Night
John Norris Teunisson
1914
Albumen on paper 8 x 10 inches
Louisiana State Museum, T1501.1986.59

Electrical power came to New Orleans on January 8, 1882 - the 67th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans - provided by Southwest Brush Electric Light Company They used steam-powered generators to provide street lighting, if only for a brief period. The Cotton Centennial Exposition was illuminated by the Edison Electric Illuminating Company in 1886. However, gas lighting remained popular into the early twentieth century.