Elias Goldensky (1867-1943) was a prominent portrait photographer in Philadelphia. See my article, "Elias Goldensky: Wizard of Photography," published in Pennsylvania History, 64:2, available for sale at this link under the following listing:

149. Ries, Linda A., ed. History of Photography in Pennsylvania. Special Issue of Pennsylvania History, 64:2 (Spring 1997). [Includes articles on Marcus Aurelius Root, Francis L. Cooper (amateur) , early Pittsburgh photographers, John F. Nice, Elias Goldensky, Thomas Eakins, early oil industry, Mifflin and Engle, Black daguerreotypist Glenalvin J. Goodridge, Julius Sachse, and the Raymond Holland Collection. Winner of the 1997 MARAC Arline Custer Award for publications.] Signed by Gary Saretzky. 356pp. $20.

A pdf file at http://dpubs.libraries.psu.edu

is also available for this article, although the photographic illustrations are much better in the original.

See this update to "Elias Goldensky: Wizard of Photography," regarding his brother, photographer Abe Golden.

A list of sources is provided below for Goldensky archival materials and photographs, to which additions are made as they are found. If the reader can add to the list, please contact me. See also my Goldensky bibliography , not published with that article but presented here as an aid to further research.


Above is a rare color portrait by Goldensky made in 1916. The original is in the George Eastman Museum. See links below for other examples of Goldensky's work.




George Eastman Museum

Library Company of Philadelphia

Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies

Temple University Archives (clipping only)

University of Rochester (photograph of Goldensky by Minya-Diez Durhkoop in the J.E. Mock Papers, Box 1, Folder 17)




Number of prints known indicated in parentheses.


I. Institutions


Major Collection:


George Eastman Museum (1,509 prints including portraits of Goldensky by others; also negatives)


Other Institutional Collections:


Bryn Mawr College, Special Collections (7)

Chester County (Pennsylvania) Historical Society (9)

College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Historical Collections of (2 of Dr. William W. Keen, also 3 copies in Thomas Jefferson University Archives

Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia (2 photos of Conductor Leopold Stokowski with Philadelphia Orchestra, 291A and 291B)

Free Library of Philadelphia (2 photos of woman with initials E.S.C., one blind stamped with Goldensky's studio stalmp and the other signed and dated 1915).

Haverford College Special Collections, group portrait of tennis team, ca. 1930-1940, http://triptych.brynmawr.edu/cdm/ref/collection/HC_hisphoto/id/4149

Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2)

Jewish Historical Society of Maryland (3)

Library Company of Philadelphia (about 20), including Goldensky's portrait of his wife, Nettie, ca. 1895

Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division (9), including Franklin Delano Roosevelt

National Museum of America History, Division of Photographic History (2)

New Orleans Museum of Art (1)

New York Public Library, Dolores (Kathleen Mary Rose Wilkinson), as Ziegfeld Girl, Billy Rose Theater Collection

Pennsylvania Hospital Historic Image Collection, Philadelphia (group portrait of Pennsylvania Hospital nursing students) (1)

Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent (portrait of Thomas Mitten, President of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, circa 1920).

Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies (at least 4)

Reform Congregation Keneseth Israel, Elkins Park, PA (1 negative, 3 prints)

Rosenbach Museum, Philadephia (1)

Smith College of Art

Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries, Philadelphia (1)

Temple University, Samuel Paley Library, Rare Books and Special Collections

Temple University, Samuel Paley Library, Urban Archives (12)

University of California, Riverside- Sadakichi Hartmann Papers (4 copy negatives)

University of Rochester, Rush Rhees Library: portrait of Goldensky by Minya Diez-Duhrkoop in the Joseph Ernest Mock Papers.

University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center: portrait of Leonidas Warren Payne (1873-1945)

University of Washington Libraries, J. Willis Sayre Photograph Collection: portrait of Sarah Cowell Le Moyne, actress

Westtown School, Westtown, PA (23)

YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, New York (2)


II. Private Collections


Ellen Golden (Elias' granddaughter), Brooklyn, NY (3)


Mrs. Allen Lewis Feinstein, Phoenix, AZ (6) - (in album of Dr. and Mrs. Charles Spivak)


Gary D. Saretzky :

High quality digital copies of my holdings are available for sale; please contact me at gary@saretzky.com for price quote.

Anna Tolochko, 1896 (back of cabinet card inscribed from Anna to Bertha, Sept. 22, 1896)

Margaret Harrington, 1897

Girl with flower, cabinet card, ca. 1898. Verso.

Woman with large sleeves, late 1890s cabinet card.

Young man with bow tie, cabinet card, high gloss finish, late 1890s.

Young man with chain on vest, cabinet card, high gloss finish, late 1890s.

Wedding Couple, ca. 1900, mounted on card with 270 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, address.

Woman in white, ca. 1900, retouched area lower left next to a wheel, table sticking out behind woman, 270 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia address. The wheel at the edge of the frame and the table extending out from behind the woman's hip are very uncharacteristic for Goldensky's work, which normally doesn't include such distracting elements.

Couple with baby, ca. 1900

Cabinet card of four children, ca. 1900 (note Civil War kepi)

Four boys in uniform, ca. 1900, 270 S. 2nd Street, Philadelphia, address.

Cabinet card of infant, ca. 1900 (note stop action)

Child with tricycle, ca. 1900

Cabinet card of girl looking at photo, ca. 1900

Couple with three sons, ca. 1900

Unidentified well -dressed woman, ca. 1900, mounted on thin card blindstamped, "Goldensky Portraits Philadelphia," negative number 14476 on verso in pencil.

Archie Rosenbaum, son of Morris Rosenbaum, early 1900s Verso of Archie Rosenbaum photo

Eli Rosenbaum, son of Morris Rosenbaum, Philadelphia banker , 1906

Rev. John Watson, D.D., the Scottish divine who wrote under the name Ian Maclaren, 1907. Platinum print. Maclaren was a member of the literary movement called the Kailyard School (1888-1896). His first books, Beside the Bonnie Brier Bush (1894), which sold more than 750,000 copies, and The Days of Auld Lang Syne (1895), led to his being invited for a whirlwind lecture tour to the United States in the 1890s. He returned in 1907, where Goldensky made this portrait in early February (he mentioned having his portrait taken in a letter to his son on Feb. 14, reproduced in his posthumous biography by W. Robertson Nicoll in 1908). Farther along his tour, Watson became ill and died in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, in May of that year. Not visible in the scan is Maclaren's signature and Goldensky's blind stamp. The image also has a copyright blind stamp, C. Houston Goudiss, 1907. The connection among Goudiss, Maclaren, and Goldensky is unknown but this Goudiss is probably the Charles Houston Goudiss (b. 1880) who later wrote articles about vitamins; perhaps he was Maclaren's tour manager.

Woman with pearls, platinum print, ca. 1910.

Young girl, ca. 1911

Finely dressed young woman, 1911

Mother and two photographs of her son, 1911 and 1912.

Reginald Wright Kauffman, August 27, 1912, journalist who wrote The House of Bondage, a book about prostitution highly praised by Emma Goldman in her essay, "The Traffic in Women." This photo apparently was sent on Nov. 13, 1912 by Kauffman to a Miss Marshall, in thanks for her interview with him that had been published. Goldensky's monogram, damaged by a fingerprint, may be seen faintly near the right edge a little below the middle of the photo. The photo is stamped on the back, "Please credit Elias Goldensky, 1705 Chestnut St., Phila., Pa." and notations suggest it was used for a publication, as does the glossy paper the photo is printed on, quite unlike Goldensky's art photographs.

Reproductions of eight photographs by Goldensky in Wilson's Photographic Magazine, June 1912: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8



Young man in uniform, 1914.

Caroline Rosenberger (wife of Judge Emil Rosenberger), 1915

Bearded man with raised eyebrows, 1916.

Henry H. Donaldson, 1918. Born in 1857, Donaldson, according to the APA Historical web site, was "a prominent neurologist whose thorough studies of the brain were published as a book, The Brain, in 1895. At the Wistar Institute, Donaldson introduced the albino rat as an experimental subject and developed the Wistar rat strain later used in many psychological studies." His journal articles included, "On the Relation of Neurology to Psychology," American Journal of Psychology, Volume 1, No. 2 (Feb. 1888). He died in 1938.

Man in uniform, 1918, two portraits, one holding cap, one wearing cap. These photographs were found in a dumpster by Mike Forst of St. Louis and auctioned by Ivey-Selkirk in 2011.

Man in uniform, 1918, holding hat.

Portrait of Jules Falk, violinist, with his Stradivarius, 1919, signed 1920 by Falk.

Portrait of Jules Falk, violinist, signed in 1919 by Falk (note Goldensky monogram)

Elderly gentleman with beard, 1919 (possibly Sydney George Fisher (1856-1927)

Young woman, verso imprint Goldensky, 1705 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, early 1920s.

In the Summer of 1923, Erla Calame performed on Broadway in the Ziegfeld Follies featuring Eddie Cantor. This photo was made by Goldensky about that time. Erla, born November 12, 1903, grew up in South Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. Her father Charles was an accountant for Electric Power & Light. Young Erla participated in the Asbury Park Baby Parade and won at least three major prizes, the Mayors' Trophy in 1912 and the Grand Prize in 1913 and 1915. As Erla C. Birmingham, she died on October 12, 1993, at the age of 89. Her last residence was in South Orange.

Leopold Stokowski, Conductor, Philadelphia Orchestra (1882-1977), two 8x10 silver gelatin portraits with dramatic lighting, one frontal and one in profile, ca. 1923. Stokowski was very pleased with these photographs and there is an order for them in the Goldensky Papers at the George Eastman House. With copyright notice and Goldensky blind stamp, lower right corner. On the verso are two Goldensky rubber stamps regarding credit and copyright and a rubber stamp reading "Leopold Stokowski Conductor of the Philadelphia Orchestra." The frontal view is discussed and reproduced in my article about Goldensky in Pennsylvania History, Spring 1977, page 249, courtesy of the George Eastman House, which owns a print from the same negative.

Matt Francis, 1927, signed "Goldensky Studio."

On October 17,1935, Goldensky was honored at a dinner in Harrisburg, PA, given by the Professional Photographer's Association of Pennsylvania, which gave him a certificate signed by the officers that is now in the collection of Ellen Golden, Goldensky's granddaughter. Before the certificate was signed, a photographic copy was made of it and retained by the Association's President, J.B. Schriever. This photographic copy was obtained indirectly from Schriever's estate.

Max Pom (or Pon?), 1938. Inscribed to Virginia MacWalters, opera singer.


Peggy Thayer, Philadelphia socialite, 1921, later Mrs. Harold E. Talbott. Peggy's parents and brother were on the Titanic; her mother and brother survived. This photo was published when she opened a "French shop" in Philadelphia. The reproduction is from a news agency copy print circulated by Keystone View Co.


Unidentified couple, man seated, woman standing with flower, 270 S. 2nd Street Studio, circa 1900.


Unidentified woman in silk with pearls, 1516 Chestnut Street Studio, 1931


Unidentified infant standing on chair, cabinet card, 270 S. 2nd Street studio, circa 1900


5 women taken outdoors, cabinet card, 270 S. 2nd Street studio, circa 1900


***** end of Saretzky collection listings

Eleanor Sladkin Schlank, Lansdale, PA (about 50)


Unknown, ex-Alice (Mrs. Louis) Sipley (deceased), Philadelphia (1?)


Unknown, ex-Charles Isaacs (deceased), Philadelphia (1)


Unknown, ex-Maxwell Whiteman (deceased), Philadephia . Portrait of laryngologist Jacob da Silva Solis-Cohen (1838-1927), reproduced in Traditions in Transition: Jewish Culture in Philadelphia, 1840-1940, edited by Gail F. Stern, Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, 1989, p. 75. The photo is dated "ca. 1884," which is too early since Goldensky didn't emigrate to America until 1891 and didn't start his own business until 1895. Judging by Solis-Cohen's appearance, a date of about 1910 is more likely.


Unknown. Lithographic? portrait of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, drawn by Albert Rosenthal, after a photo by Goldensky, assisted by his son Milton, taken at Hyde Park.


Brian Pohanka, Alexandria, Virginia (portrait of Mortimer Park Crane)


Richard T. Rosenthal, Philadelphia (rtrphoto@philly.infi.net) (portrait of a man in a uniform, available for sale)


Ann-Marie Rose, Hager City, Wisconsin (Woman with hat, 1914)


Francesca Tosetti, Italy, Emanuel Dante Risso and Luisa Spinetta and Family, ca. 1900


Julie Berk, London (great granddaughter of Elias Goldensky's brother Abraham), Rebecca Golden, wife of Elias' brother Henry, ca. 1900


Andrew Medway, California, two photographs ca. 1900: Boy Dressed for Snow and Two Boys, one in sailor suit holding a round object.


Private collection, courtesy of Julian Leibman, South Africa: Portrait of Julius Leibman, with an unidentified woman, ca. 1900..


Barbara Swanick, unidentified man, possibly a close relative of hers, ca. 1900.

Karen Abramowitz, "Gertrude Steinberg," 1935.

Additional details about some of the above available by contacting Gary Saretzky at gary@saretzky.com

Last update: September 26, 2017