Click on above images to view exhibit of cabinet cards
LEONIDAS WALTER HUMPREYS
was born on April 11, 1868, at Gap Mills, Monroe
County, West Virginia. He was the son of
Andrew Jackson Humphreys and Eliza Ann Eads. He
was one of four children; his siblings were
William J. Humphreys , Rose I. Humphreys, and Mary E.
At some point he must have relocated at
Pomeroy, Ohio, because that was listed as his
residence when he attended Washington and Lee
University with his brother William in 1887 and
graduated with a bachelors degree in 1891.
Upon leaving college, he went into
photography in Huntington, West Virginia,
probably as a partner with Samuel V. Matthews.
Their studio and gallery were located at 948 and
944 ˝ Third Avenue. He resided at a boarding
house on Sixth Avenue, between Seventh and
Eighth Streets. In 1892 he bought out Matthews
and later dropped his partner’s name,
continuing his business as L. W. Humphreys
Photography at the 948 address until 1896.
However, photography was not to be his chosen
career. In 1898 he entered the medical school at
the University of Virginia. His skills as a
photographer may have assisted with the cost of
his medical studies. In 1904 Paul B. Barringer
published a history of the university, which
included many fine photographs of the campus and
its buildings. In his introduction, he
that the photographs “were taken by L. W.
Humphreys....His labor was begun only for the
purpose of making private collection, but his
artistic selection of view-points and mechanical
excellence of his work created a demand that has
sent them to every part of the world”
(Barrington, p. 5). Some of the photographs that
he took on the campus even appeared in national
publications. The February 1900 issue of
McClure Magazine featured one of his
phonographs of a mounted mammoth taken at the
university’s Museum of Natural History.
He graduated with his M.D. in 1901. He served
an internship at John Hopkins Hospital for a
year. He then worked briefly in Frankfurt,
Kentucky, but soon secured as a position at the
Huntington State Hospital in 1903. He opened his
private practice in 1904 at Huntington.
On February 18, 1912, he married Musa F.
Kiger of Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
He eventually specialized in urology,
becoming the city’s first physician with that
specialty. He later purchased a 48-acre farm
just outside the city on the James River
Turnpike. After a long and successful medical
career he died at his home of a heart attack on
April 12, 1942, at the age of 79. He was buried
in the Humphreys’ family plot at Gap Mills, West
Sources: Huntington City Director
1891-1892 (Huntington, 1892), pp. 56, 84;
McClure Magazine 14 (Feb 1900): 349; Paul
Brandon Barrington, University of Virginia,
2 vols. (New York: Lewis Publishing Co., 1904),
1:5. Washing and Lee University Catalog,
1886-1887, 1890-1891; “Dr. Humphreys Dies of
Heart Seizure at 74,” Herald-Dispatch
(Huntington, W.Va.), April 13, 1942; and
“Dr. Humphreys’ Rites Tomorrow,” Huntington
(W.Va.) Advertiser, April 13, 1942.
Graphics: Portrait from his obituary,
Herald-Dispatch, April 23, 1942;
advertisement from Ceredo Advance, Jan, 18, 1893.