WThe New York Public Library  /  Photographers’ Identities Catalog
PIC ID: 371384

James R. O'Neill

American, 1833-1863


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James R. O'Neill is listed as an artist and comedian in the 1863 Leavenworth directory. He appeared regularly on stage, and exhibited panopticon paintings as well. The Leavenworth Times described him as "THE actor, singer, painter, poet, lecturer, stump speaker and impromptu orator."At the outbreak of war, he was a vocal supporter of the Union, and in June of 1863, O'Neill accompanied General James G. Blunt as an artist for Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper. He was among the victims of a massacre of Blunt's troops at the Battle of Baxter Springs, October 6, 1863.His "Great Diorama of the War" with over 5,000 moving figures continued to be exhibited after his death. It is perhaps for this reason he is mistakenly included in Carl Mautz's Biographies of Western Photographers (and later cited in Kilborne and Palmquist's Pioneer Photographers from the Mississippi to the Continental Divide) as a Leavenworth photographer, active 1863-1864. I find no indication that he practiced photography, or that another photographer with this name was in Leavenworth at that time.

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James R. O'Neill has 3 locations.

Birth (February 13, 1833)


Active in (1863)

Leavenworth, KS

Death (October 6, 1863)

Baxter Springs, KS