Missouri State Archives
Charles Elliott Gill Photograph Collection
Charles Elliott Gill was one of the countless amateur photographers who emerged in the 1880s with the advent of more simplified cameras and manufactured glass plate negatives. No longer forced to drag their darkrooms and dangerous chemicals around with them, photographers could easily capture places and events in their own communities that had never been photographed before. Gill spent years documenting life in the upper Ozarks with his 1906 Seroco extended view camera.
Gill was born July 8, 1869 to Joseph and Martha Gill. The Gill family settled at the head of the Meramec River in Dent County where they raised wheat and cattle. When Gill was 18 years old, he received his first camera but did not actively document life in the Ozarks until he was in his forties. Prior to that time, he broke the monotony of farm life by traveling, and made frequent trips to both coasts. En route, he supported himself with whatever jobs the local economies could provide. He made his last trip west in 1947 at the age of 78.
Despite his love of travel, Gill always returned home to Dent County and farm life. He married Myrtle Hayes in 1917. The couple had a son, Edward Addison Gill, in 1918, but the marriage ended in divorce in 1921. Gill never remarried.
When not attending to the farm, Gill filled his life with reading, writing, and photography. For more than 30 years, Gill used the same camera. His photographs document his travels and illuminate how the Ozarks were affected by the passage of time. Charles Elliott Gill finally sold the family farm in 1943 and moved to Salem, Missouri. He died on July 15, 1962 at the age of 93.
Edward Addison Gill donated his father, Charles Elliott Gill's, photograph collection to the Missouri State Archives in 2002. The collection consists of 722 glass plate negatives and some original prints.
Rights and Reproductions
Any use of the images found in this collection should credit the Charles Elliott Gill Photograph Collection, Missouri State Archives, Jefferson City. Please see the Missouri State Archives website for specific citations [http://www.sos.mo.gov/archives/resources/citations.asp]
How to Use This Collection
The Charles Elliott Gill Photograph Collection consists primarily of scanned glass plate negatives and some original prints. The best way to access these images is to browse through the collection.