Header - Huntington Photographers


Click on above image to view exhibit of cabinet cards

  DARWIN EUGENE ABBOTT, the son of Mason D. Abbott and Angeline Maria Darwin E. Abbott Tenney, was born on April 29, 1856, at Abbott’s Corner, near St. Armond, Quebec, which was about a mile from the Vermont Border. He was the only son of six girl siblings. His father was Canadian and his mother was from Vermont. He grew up in Franklin and St. Albans, Vermont, where his parents moved shortly after his birth.
   In April 1873, when just seventeen year of age, he arrive in Huntington with his family; he drove a wagon loaded with the belongings of the H. Chester Parson family, with whom his family was acquainted in Vermont. He decided to cast his fortune with new city. He attended Marshall Academy (now University). Becoming interested in photography, he toured West Virginia making pictures for Harper’s Magazine.
    He married Elizabeth “Lizzie” Beal Driggs, on November 11, 1884, in Huntington, West Virginia. The couple had no children, but they adopted a daughter, Lucy Abbott.
   In the 1880 he opened a photographic studio on the nine-hundred block of Fourth Avenue. A successful photographer, by 1891 he had slowly expanded his business by selling photographic supplies, as well as adding a photoengraving or copying service. In 1898 he purchased the Addison, Thompson and Associates plant, which manufactured glass, between Fourteenth and Fifteenth Streets West and Washington and Virginia Avenues. He incorporated the D. E. Abbott & Company, in which he added the manufacture of picture frames and moldings to his business. His firm proved to be one of Huntington’s most important manufacturing enterprises, eventually occupying five buildings. He also maintained a photographic studio in downtown Huntington for a time, but later moved it to a building on the same lot as his manufacturing plant.
     His salesmen traveled throughout twenty states, and his frames, known for their high quality, were sold throughout the United States and Europe. He kept his shops running even during hard times. Aside from the expansive American Car and Foundry manufacturing firm, his company was the largest employer in Huntington for a number of years. In 1919 he sold the manufacturing plant and its equipment to Cravens Green Company, in which he became a vice-president. He also continued his photographic business in his studio on Fourteenth Street and Washington Avenue, the building still stands today.
    His wife died on October 24, 1924 and was buried in Spring Hill, Cemetery. He continued to run his photographic business until his death on July 10, 1942. He died from the rapid onset of pneumonia, a complication of a fall from his porch at his home on Ninth Street West, which he had suffered a few days earlier. He is buried by his wife at Spring Hill Cemetery.

Sources: Lola Roush Miller, Images of America: Central City (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia Publishing Company, 2006), p. 22; "Huntington," The H. F. V. Headlight (October, 1897): 19; Robert Permer, et al, eds. West Virginians (West Virginia Biographical Association, 1928), pp. 267; 346; "Veteran Frame-Maker And Photographer Dies," Charleston Gazette, July 11, 1942, p. 2. Graphic: D. E. Abbott, cropped cabinet card, 1975.0099.02.01.02, in Cabell Wayne Historical Society Collection, Special Collections, Marshall University; D. E. Abbott advertisement from Parthenon, June 1899, inside rear cover.