A family of four poses for their portrait at the Elite Studio in Great Falls, Montana. Everyone is dressed in their nicest clothes for their day at the photographic studio. Note how the older daughter is posed. Her love for her dad is quite evident. Father’s pride in his family is also evident in this photograph. This family has the appearance of a Scandinavian family and in fact, the photograph is from the estate of a Norwegian immigrant family that settled in North Dakota and Montana. It is not clear who operated the Elite Studio at the time of this photograph. The Bulletin of Photography (1916) reported that “Louis Heyn of the Elite Studio sold an interest in his business” to employee Harry J. Keeley. It is likely that the studio belonged to Heyn at the time of this photograph.


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  1. Louis [Ludwig] Heyn was born in Germany in 1862, and arrived at Castle Garden, New York, with his father when he was 10 years old. The Heyn family settled in Detroit, where Louis was working as a photographer at the age of 17. He also lived for a while with Henry C. Schaefer, who would be a prominent photographer in Annapolis, Md.

    He was the middle of three Heyn brothers who became photographers. Older brother George was a prominent photographer in Omaha. Both Louis and his younger brother, Herman, worked for George for a short time. Herman stayed in Omaha most of his active life, and produced a significant body of work that included photos of the Sioux tribe and of presidential candidates. Louis took off in 1884 and operated a photograph car on the Union Pacific Railroad line for about a year before settling (eventually) in Laramie, Wyoming.

    Louis sold his Laramie studio in 1899 and moved to Great Falls, where he purchased the Elite Studio, owned by J.E. Collette and Gilbert Trudell. And, incidentally, married. The studio name was changed to Heyn & Keeley in 1916.

    Louis Heyn died in Los Angeles in 1940.

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