Early Illinois Women

Photography by Candace McCormick Reed (1818-1900)

When her husband Warren died in April 1858, Candace McCormick Reed was thrown upon her own devices to support her two surviving sons and her elderly mother-in-law. In October of that year she advertised the opening of her Excelsior Picture Gallery at 103 Hampshire Street in Quincy, Illinois. She would be assisted by her sister, Miss Celina McCormick. In the same advertisement Mrs. Reed also offered her services at "plain sewing and stitching."

Candace McCormick was born in Tennessee in 1818, the same year Illinois was admitted to the Union. Her parents moved to St. Louis the following year. In 1842 she married Warren Reed, a native of Ohio four years her junior. About six years later the Reeds moved to Quincy, Illinois, and opened a daguerreotype gallery on the southeast corner of the square. After her husband's death Mrs. Reed sold his "stand" and opened her Excelsior Gallery. She continued to raise her children while she found time to assist in the organization of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, an aid society for Civil War soldiers and their families. She served as a nurse in the army hospitals in Nashville, Chattanooga and Vicksburg. After the war she returned to Quincy and continued to operate her gallery. Few studios enjoyed the longevity of Mrs. Reed's business. She died in Quincy on April 7, 1900.

Her pictures featured here are from the collection of the Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, Quincy University, and a number of private collections loaned to the Society for this project. Street scenes, wedding portraits, baby photos, a civil war soldier - all give us a tantalizing view of what life was like for those who came before us. The images include the well known, such as Quincy founder and Illinois Governor John Wood, and the unidentified as in the carte de visite of a man in boxing tights, his hands in tight fists.


  1. Group 1 (1-10)
  2. Group 2 (11-20)
  3. Group 3 (21-30)
  4. Group 4 (31-40)
  5. Group 5 (41-50)
  6. Group 6 (51-60)
  7. Group 7 (61-70)
  8. Group 8 (71-80)
  9. Group 9 (81-90)
  10. Group 10 (91-98)
  11. Group 11 (99-108)
  12. Group 12 (109-116)


  1. The History of Adams County, Illinois. Chicago, Murray, Williamson and Phelps, 1879.
  2. Landrum, Carl. "Photo Recalls Quincy of 1848," The Quincy Herald-Whig, September 26, 1965, p. 3C.
  3. -----------------. "Photographers Were Here in 1840's," The Quincy Herald-Whig, July 7, 1968, p. 3C.
  4. Landrum, Carl. "Reed Photos Record Early Years," The Quincy Herald- Whig, May 16, 1982, p. 4E.
  5. ------------------. "Picture Recalls Days Before Development Changed City," The Quincy Herald-Whig, June 2, 1985, p. 4E.
  6. ------------------. "Reed Studio Recorded Scenes of Early Quincy," The Quincy Herald-Whig, April 18, 1993, p. 3B.
  7. Murphhy, Lucy Eldersveld. "Her Own Boss: Business Women and Separate Spheres in the Midwest, 1850-1880. Illinois Historical Journal, Vol. 80 (Autumn, 1987), pp. 155-176.

Contributing Library:

Historical Society of Quincy and Adams County, Quincy, Illinois

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