William Foss Shorey was born in Hollis, Maine on April 20, 1833. The son of fur merchant Nehemiah Breed Shorey and Ann Chase Shorey, it is believed he moved with his family to Baltimore when he was in his teens. Within a few years after graduating from the Maryland Institute of Art and Design, Mr. Shorey joined the faculty as a drawing and design instructor. Perhaps initially introduced to photography by his relative, a Baltimore publisher of stereoviews named William Moody Chase, he studied photographic processes under photographer and sometime inventor H.E. Woodward, owner of the Monumental Art Studio located on Lexington Street. He married Lida Summers Sauks, and the couple later had a son, G. Leyburn Shorey.
Like many of his contemporaries, Mr. Shorey honed his photographic skills during the Civil War, serving as official photographer for the Maryland Department of the Grand Army of the Republic. Most of his income was generated by cartes de visite (CDVs), which became popular family keepsakes during the War. Mr. Shorey always approached his vocation with an artist's sensitivity, and treated his one-stock cards as if they were precious works of art. He opened his first studio at 131 E. Baltimore Street, and later opened "Shorey's Gallery" at 157 W. Baltimore Street. He also reportedly served as photographer for Western performer William "Buffalo Bill" Cody during the first decade of his "Wild West" traveling show. He also provided photographic services for local businesses, and made portraits of the prominent men featured in John Thomas Scharf's History of Baltimore City and County, which was first published in 1881. Mr. Storey's tintype sepia portraits typically present rather stiffly posed, fancy dressed and coiffed subjects with some artistic props such as ornate furnishings or military regalia in either the foreground or background. They offer interesting insights into the early years of photography, when portraiture straddled the delicate balance between art and commercialism.
After operating his studio for nearly three decades, Mr. Shorey retired in 1893. He remained in his beloved hometown of Baltimore until his death on June 1, 1911. He was buried two days later in a family plot at Baltimore's historic Green Mount Cemetery.
1995 Schwarztrauber, Stewart and Related Families by Sayre Archie Schwarztrauber (Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press), p. 737.
2016 A Shorey Thing (URL: https://cardtography.wordpress.com/category/baltimore-maryland).
2016 Vintage Shorey Carte de Visite CDV Civil War Unidentified Union Soldier (URL: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/62276407324049383).
2016 Young Lady with Braided Hair + Beautiful Dress by Shorey, Baltimore, MD, CDV (URL: http://www.ebay.com/itm/YOUNG-LADY-WITH-BRAIDED-HAIR-BEAUTIFUL-DRESS-BY-SHOREY-BALTIMORE-MD-CDV-/251293444011?hash=item3a8241a7ab).
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