WThe New York Public Library  /  Photographers’ Identities Catalog
PIC ID: 305943

Richard Albert Throssel

American, 1882-1933


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Richard Albert Throssel was born in Marengo (Columbia County), Washington in 1882 (several documents of his death give the year of 1887, though his headstone says 1882). A later newspaper account said he was "born of Indian parents and raised among them."A profile in the Billings Gazette on July 2, 1911 described him as 28 years old, and having taken up "his artists' life" at age 20 (about 1902), initially as a painter under the mentorship of J. H. Sharpe. "Later," it goes on, "Throssel attracted the attention of E. S. Curtis of Seattle, scarcely less well known than Sharpe. Curtis, who visited in Billings but last Friday, took the young Throssel to the coast, visiting with him the art galleries of the Portland fair, amongst others. From him Throssel learned much." Throssel had dabbled in photography as early as 1902 while employed by the government in the Crow Agency, and may have contributed photographs to publications which resulted from the Wanamaker Expeditions. He arrived in Billings in 1905 and took up apprenticeship in the studio of Richard Post. In that year, he began submitting his photographs of the Crow Agency for copyright. "During the next four years," the Gazette continues, "Throssel took over 1,000 negatives of Indian life" and made lantern slides as well as moving pictures on contract for the US government. He opened his own studio in Billings in June, 1911.About this time he partnered with George H. Brown to establish the Throssel Photocraft Co. The studio advertised "moving pictures, Commercial Work and Portraiture." He showed films and gave slide lectures of daily life in the Crow Agency throughout Montana. The partnership was dissolved in July, 1913, but Throssel continued the name until at least 1918. After that time Thossel seemed to devote more energy to competitive sharpshooting, but joined the Eklund Studio as a colorist in 1922. Later that year he was a travelling salesman for the Northern Supply Co. of Minneapolis. In 1923, he took over operation of the Gesecus Studio in Billings. In 1924 he was elected Representative to the state legislature, and was re-elected the following term. He was still involved in painting and photography, and spent several weeks in 1926 learning photoengraving in Effingham, Illinois. His work was selected to illustrate entries in the 1928 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. After his defeat for a third term in the Legislature, he spent his time with riflery, giving slide lectures of Native American life and managing an apartment house. A member of the Montana National Guard, Throssel was attending training at Camp Cooney in Helena when he dropped dead of a heart attack on June 10, 1933.

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Richard Albert Throssel has 3 locations.

Birth (September 18, 1882)

Marengo, Columbia County, WA

Active in (1905-1932)

Billings, MT

Death (June 10, 1933)

Helena, MT