In the 1850 U.S. Census, John M. Frisbee was residing in the household of Sandusky lawyer F.D. Parish in Portland Township, now known as the city of Sandusky. His occupation was listed as Daguerreian artist. The advertisement below appeared in the January 16, 1851 issue of the Daily Sanduskian:
A biographical sketch from Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary states that J. M. Frisbie was born in Guilford, Connecticut in 1802. He came to Ohio in 1842, and was active as a daguerreotype and ambrotype artist from the mid-1850s until at least 1874.
This page from the 1855 Sandusky City Directory places J.M. Frisbie’s Daguerreotype Rooms at 155 ½ Water Street. Mr. Frisbie kept up with the latest technological advances and business practices in his long career as a photographer in Sandusky. He used sky and side lights in his studio, to give every possible advantage of light. He used Voigtlander cameras and processed his photographs using superior chemicals. And as was common among photographers of the time, Mr. Frisbie took pictures of sick or deceased persons, even going to the person’s home if necessary.
By the time the 1860-1861 Sandusky City Directory was published, Frisbie’s ad stated that he had a Photographic and Ambrotype Gallery at 135 Water Street, and that his was the oldest such establishment in the city of Sandusky. The ad read, “Likenesses taken in every style and in all weather, at prices with the read of all.”
During the Civil War, Frisbie produced this carte de visite in Sandusky:
To see photographs taken by J.M. Frisbie and other early Sandusky photographers, visit the Sandusky Library Archives Research Center.