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James Samuel WINDEATT - Photographer

This page: [Tree] [Family] [Career] [Obituaries] [Sources]

In 1881 James was aged 20 and still living with his parents and sister, Mary Jane, and working as a photographer (see link to census transcription).  Probably the following year, he emigrated and eventually set up a portrait photography business in turn of the century Chicago.  His photographs with their characteristic Windeatt signature in the bottom left corner are often to be found displayed on the web for sale or, more permanently,  as part of an archive, e.g. 

To find other photographs by James Windeatt which sometimes temporarily appear on the web for sale just enter Windeatt and a selection of the words James/Chicago/photograph/photographer/theater (note spelling). etc. into the WWW Google search engine.  Sometimes there are postcard photosavailable from:


John Hollet WINDEATT 
                         Hairdresser & Wigmaker
                         bpt 15.06.1823 (Buckfastleigh)
                         d 16.12.1900 (Plymouth)
                         m ?date? Mary MACEY of Buckfastleigh b.1823/4
 |                             |            
3 brothers 2 sisters    James Samuel WINDEATT
                         Freelance Photographer
                         b 17.03.1861, d.1944  
                         emigrated in 1882 to US
                         m.18 APR 1888 Augusta GUETSCHOW, Cook Co., Illinois (b 1868, West Indies, German parents)                                                                                                              			
        |                             |                          |
  Blanche Marie          Charlotte Helen                   Dorothy Alvina	
  b.1892                b.28.08.1896 (Illinois, USA)      b.1904 (Illinois)	
  d.1968                d.12.1974 (Illinois)              d.1935
  m Edward FORSTER       dsp                               m.  Edward PERRIN	
  dsp                                                         2 children

TREE: There is more information further down this page about all the people whose names are linked (underlined blue).  A blue arrow means the information is on another page. 

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When James was born in 1861, his father, John Hollet WINDEATT, was a Master Hairdresser and Wigmaker in the fast-growing town of Plymouth.  James was the youngest son and had two sisters and three brothers.  His two elder brothers, John and Robert, followed in their father's footsteps and become hairdressers.  

His nearest brother in age, William James,  was three and a half years older than James Samuel.   They went to Canada together but William James returned after about a year. 

William James' eldest son, Robert, emigrated to Ontario, Canada and used to come and visit his uncle's family at Thanksgiving together with his wife Nell and their five sons: Bill, George, Jim, Jack and Fred.

"Uncle Bob always brought a plum pudding cake and would have Canadian dimes & nickels baked in the pudding. he would pour whiskey over the pudding and light it." - James' granddaughter.

Link to a page about Uncle Bob link


Summaries of his career can be found

James is recorded as arriving in the States on 15th July, 1882, aged 23, on the Rynland.  His country of origin is given as England and his occupation as 'photographer':


James married Augusta GUETSCHOW and they  had three beautiful daughters:  Blanche, Charlotte and Dorothy.  Only Dorothy had any children (two daughters) but sadly died when her youngest daughter was only 13 months old.  So Dorothy's daughter was brought up by her aunts: Blanche and Charlotte.

Dorothy, Charlotte & Blanche



The photographs and copies of other original material on this page were kindly contributed by Lori, James Windeatt's great-granddaughter.  You can click on each picture to view the full size version. This family also feature on our picture gallery page.

Death Notice and Obituaries (transcriptions)

  1. WINDEATT-James Samuel Windeatt, 614 S. Maple avenue., Oak Park, beloved husband of the late Augusta Windeatt, fond father of Mrs, Blanche M. FORSTER, Charlotte WINDEATT, ad the late Dorothy Windeatt PERRIN. Resting at funeral home, 203 S. Marion street, Oak Park, from 2 to 10 p.m. Saturday. Interment Hustisford Wis. Please omit flowers. 
    [Source unknown - link to scan of original clipping].
    In the death of James Samuel WINDEATT of 614 South Maple, Friday, the nation lost one its great historians. History as he left it to subsequent generations was not made through use of written word, but through photographic records.
    At the turn of the century when the drama was spoken rather than portrayed in celluloid, James Samuel WINDEATT photographed all the great stars in the theatrical firmament. 
    Photographs of the great scenes in all great plays that were produced in this country are in the possession of his daughter, Miss Charlotte WINDEATT of 614 Maple with whom he lived and in whose home he died.
    Pictures of Chauncy Alcott, Viola Allen, Mrs. Patricia Campbell, Margaret Illington, Vesta Tilly and other old time actors and actresses are in the group.
    Mr. Windeatt was born 83 years ago in Devonshire, Plymouth, England. He served his apprenticeship with the Downey Bros in London, England. He came to America at the age of twenty-one years to live with his aunt and uncle in Cleveland, Ohio. After two years, he came to Chicago and became affiliated with the famous Max Platz Studio at 88 North Clark street. After the death of Max Platz, he succeeded him in his business.
    In 1897 he went in business for himself at 155 West Madison street in the Eureka building where his professional business started.
    During the next ten years he did his big business in the theatrical world. Some of the noted companies he photographed completely were: "The Wizard of Oz" with Fred Stone and Dave Montgomery, "Babes in Toyland" with William Norris, Mable Barrison and Bessie Wynn, "Lazare" and "Francisco Di Rimini" with Otis Skinner, "The Four Musketeers," "Lady Ursula", "The Sunken Bell" with E..H.Sothern, "Rip Van Winkle" with Joseph Jefferson.
    He also was well known in musical circles photographing noted people like Walter Damrosch, Theo Thomas, Rudolph Ganz, and many other noted people.
    Mr. WINDEATT's family is still in possession of these famous people's photographs. In 1908 he came to Oak Park and was located on South boulevard near Wisconsin, where he continued his business mostly photographing early families of Oak Park.
    He is survived by two daughters, Mrs. Blanche Forster, Charlotte Windeatt and two grand-children by his deceased daughter, Dorothy PERRIN of Oak Park and an only relative on his side, a nephew Robert WINDEATT of St. Catharine, Ontario.
    Burial was in Hustisford, Wis., Monday afternoon.  
    [Source unknown - link to scan of original clipping].
    James Samuel WINDEATT , retired photographer who for years specialized in photographing stage figures died yesterday in his home at 614 S. Maple av., Oak Park. He was 83, a native of Plymouth, England who came to  America 60 years ago. In his studio in the old Eureka building, 155 Madison st., he photographed many footlight celebrities, including , E. H. Sothern, Joseph Jefferson, Chauncey Olcott, Viola Allen, Mrs. Patrick Campbell, and Margaret Illington. From 1908 to 1934 when he retired, he maintained a studio in Oak Park. Windeatt leaves two daughters, Mrs, Blanche FORSTER and Miss Charlotte WINDEATT.
    [Source: Chicago Tribune, Oct. 21, 1944 (information kindly supplied by a correspondent) - link to scan of original clipping].

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