Jun 23, 2013 / 2,685 notes

Sunday Shout-Out: Washington, DC

The Scurlock Studio


Addison Scurlock (1883-1964) was the photographer of black Washington. His portraits – in particular those of the black elite – frame our understanding and memories of their lives in the first half of the 20th century. 

The Scurlock Studio photographed most local and national leaders of the day, as well as weddings, school groups, social clubs, and businesses. It made portraits for Washingtonians of all social classes. It also served as the official photographer for Howard University and the local junior high and high schools. Scurlock’s sons also took photographs for newspapers and produced newsreels in the 1940s.

The Scurlock Studio was a family business. Scurlock’s wife Mamie served as the business manager. Sons Robert and George joined the business as photographers in the 1930s. In 1948 the sons opened the Capital School of Photography, where dozens of professional photographers and photojournalists received training. In 1952 Robert Scurlock branched out by opening Custom Craft Studios, specializing in color photography, at 1813 18th Street, NW.

After Robert Scurlock’s death in 1994, the Archives Center of the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, purchased the collection spanning nearly a century of Washington history.

Watch video here.

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