Monday’s Photography Inspiration – Josiah Johnson Hawes


Josiah Johnson Hawes was a photographer in Boston, Massachusetts.

He was born in Wayland, Massachusetts in 1808. At seventeen he was apprenticed to a carpenter and practiced the trade for six years, which he gave up to be an artist.

He began his career as a portrait painter. “I purchased books, colours and brushes and commenced the study of art . . . I practiced miniature painting on ivory, likewise portraits in oil, landscapes, etc. with no teacher but my books.”

In 1841, after seeing a daguerreotype for the first time, he reported that it “ . . . changed my course entirely . . . I gave up painting and commenced daguerreotyping. He then studied photography where he studied the process with Daguerre’s student and agent Francis Fauvel Gouraud in Boston.

In 1843, Hawes and Southworth formed the partnership of Southworth & Hawes, with studios on Tremont Row, in Boston’s Scollay Square. The studio produced daguerreotype portraits of many notables, including Lemuel Shaw, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Daniel Webster, and others. The studio rooms overlooked “a fine orchard, belonging to the Gardiner Greene estate. From these windows, facing Scollay Sq., we looked on the church and gardens of Brattle Street”.

In 1849 Hawes married Nancy Stiles Southworth (Albert’s sister). They had three children: Alice, Marion and Edward.

After the partnership with Southworth dissolved in 1863, Hawes continued as a photographer on Tremont Row for several decades, through the 1890s. In his later years he was known as the “oldest working photographer in this country.”

Demonstration of the Surgical Use of Ether, 1847
Young girl with portrait of George Washington, c. 1850


Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., c. 1850-1856
Lajos Kossuth, 1851
Unidentified woman, by Southworth & Hawes, c. 1852
Portrait of J.J. Hawes and his daughter Marion, by Southworth & Hawes, c. 1852
View of Brattle St., 1855
Boston Common, c. 1875
Self-portrait, c. 1890
Self-portrait, c. 1895

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