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George Edward Anderson
(Salt Lake City, UT, 1860 - 1928, Springville, UT)
George Edward Anderson1 (Ed, as he was called) was born 28 October 1860 in Salt Lake City and apprenticed as a teenager under renowned photographer, Charles R. Savage. It was at Savage’s Temple Bazaar that he became friends with fellow apprentices John Hafen and John F. Bennett. Hafen was later to become an accomplished artist and Bennett was to be instrumental in preserving Anderson’s collection of glass plate negatives.
At the age of seventeen Anderson established his own photography studio in Salt Lake City with his brothers. He subsequently established a studio in Manti, Utah in 1886 and in the fall of 1888 he moved his studio to Springville, Utah with his bride, Olive Lowry. He is perhaps best known for his traveling tent studio, set up in small towns throughout central, eastern, and southern Utah to capture the lives of the residents. These studios thrived throughout the years 1884–1907.
He served an LDS Church mission in England from 1909–1911. Upon completion of his mission Anderson went to South Royalton, Vermont and set up a photography studio near the birthplace of the prophet Joseph Smith. He added a number of Church history site photographs, as well as portraits of Church members and local residents to his growing collection. Finally, in November 1913 he returned to his family and home in Springville, Utah.
After a seven year absence his photographic business was unhealthy and his family life was strained. But business and money were never the motivating forces of Ed Anderson’s life —art and religion were his driving forces.3 Continuing to experience financial and marital strains, Anderson tried to revive his traveling tent studio but met with little success. He was, however, able to earn some money from the sale of The Birth of Mormonism booklet.
The later years of Ed Anderson’s life were spent in documenting families and life in Utah Valley and traveling to newly constructed temples. In 1923 he traveled to Cardston, Alberta, Canada with Church authorities for the dedication of that city’s temple. He was to spend two years in Canada, returning to Springville in 1925.
Though ill in the fall of 1927, and despite his wife’s urging not to go, Anderson went once again with Church officials to document the dedication of another temple, this time in Mesa, Arizona. It was to be his last trip. He died of heart failure on 9 May 1928 after being brought home to Springville.