A young woman poses for the camera at the studio of Arthur & Philbric in Detroit, Michigan. She is wearing an unusually loud patterned blouse. Note the subjects fingerless gloves and collar pin. The Arthur & Philbric Studio had galleries in Detroit and Grand Rapids, Michigan, as well as in Toledo, Ohio. Research revealed some information about James Arthur (1855-1912). He was a native of Montreal, Canada and first began work as a photographer with the well known  J. and J. W. Notman studio. He came to Detroit in 1881 and went to work with photographer J. E. Watson. In 1883 he became senior partner in the firm of Arthur & Philbric and they remained in business together for eight years. He then became sole proprietor of a firm called Arthur Studios. Research also yielded information about Philbric. Most notable is that Philbric was a woman. Her name was Helen M. Philbric and her name appears in Michigan business directories as Arthur’s partner between 1884 and 1893. No other information about Philbric was discovered. To view the work of other female photographers, click on the category “Female Photographers”.

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hello,
    This is the only place I have found any info on James Arthur…. I have an image (antique) with a portrait of a woman sitting sullenly before a fireplace… the title is Broken Engagement”. I am so curious for any information!!! Background anything that can lead to more knowledge of this piece & perhaps any monetary value.
    Oh, it is signed Copyright 1896
    By James Arthur/Detroit.

    Thanks for any help!

    • Hi. I recently purchased a photo by James Arthur here in Saint John NB. According to my research. James Arthur was married here to Clara Blanche Peters. Sept 20, 1882. That same night they left for Detroit. James did indeed work for Notman & Co here in Saint John prior to his marraige to Clara. The Peters were a prominent family here. Clara’s father own and opperated the Clifton House Hotel. That is where James and Clara were married. In the published paper of the time, it states that James was from Detroit. US Census record 1910 shows James and Clara living in Detroit with 3 of thier children and a servant. It also states in the census record that James was indeed Canadian and had immigrated to the US in 1870 and Clara 1882. I know from published papers that Clara made many visits here to Saint John. And no doubt James did too. And my 13×16 print by James Arthur made the trip with them. I also have found that James won awards for his photography, as did Arthur & Philbric.
      As for James, I found on familysearch his geneology. But not much personal biography. His wife and her sisters were involved in the playground movement of thier time and the suffrage movement.

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