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Biography: George Kossuth

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▼ Biography  |   ▼ Photos   |   ▼ Library Resources

Famed Portrait Photographer

April 12, 1886 - September 14, 1960

George J. Kossuth

If ever the term "Renaissance Man" could be appropriately applied to a person, George J. Kossuth was the man. A photographer of consummate skill, he captured the character of some of the world's great personalities with his camera. His avocations covered the spectrum of the arts.

No one ever suspected that his formal education ended with the eighth grade. His assemblage of knowledge was the result of his own curiosity and boundless enthusiasm. He moved with confidence in the realms of music, art, the written word, the theatre, the garden, and the wood-working shop. Organizations of which he became a member invariably honored him with their highest office.

Kossuth's grandparents fled the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Peter Kossuth, George's Father, was a cabinet-maker and carpenter in Kentucky. George was born in Clifton, W.Va., but he and his family moved to Wheeling when he was young and lived in the Eighth Ward for many years.

A gift of a box camera when George was 12 ignited a spark. After the eighth grade, he entered a 10-year apprenticeship to learn the craft of photography. In 1909, he opened his own studio. His portrait photography became internationally renowned.

Kossuth earned Craftsmen and Masters honors in photography from the Photographers Association of America. He went on to become Chairman of the Board of the PPA and a trustee of the Association's Winona School of Photography.

The master photographer also loved music. As a board member of the Frazier Concert Society, he met every famous musical artist that came to Wheeling and photographed them all at this studio at 1219 Chapline St. Kossuth was instrumental in the organization of the Little Theatre of Wheeling. Along with his friend George Stroble, he established the first broadcasting studio of WWVA.

A man who loved to work with his hands, in 1941 he purchased the Stifel Mansion at 807 N. Main St. and restored it to its original state. It became his residence and studio, a place for many civic and social gatherings, and a meeting place for the Blue Pencil Club. It remained his home and studio until he passed away in 1960. 

George Kossuth was inducted into the Wheeling Hall of Fame in 1979.

The Ohio County Public Library Archives currently houses a collection of Kossuth's personal books on art, music and travel, many of which contain his signature or his seal.

— biography from the Wheeling Hall of Fame (1979 Inductee)

Photographs Taken by George Kossuth

Selected photographs from OCPL Archives 
(Click on images to enlarge)

Busy day at the wharf in 1890
Eleanor Steber as the Marschallin in Rosenkavallier.
Overhead view of the Suspension Bridge.
Signed studio portrait of Eleanor Steber.

Related Library Resources


▼ Regular Stacks (circulating) ▼
Book Legendary Locals (Duffy, Sean; Carney, Brent, 2013)
CALL NUMBER:  975.414 Duff 2013


▼ Wheeling Room (non-circulating) ▼
Book George James Kossuth (Kossuth, George James, [Oglebay Institute] 1980)
CALL NUMBER:  Wheeling 779.20924 K847g
Book Wheeling Hall of Fame (Class of 1979)
CALL NUMBER:  Wheeling 975.415 W57 1979


▼ Archives Blog (Archiving Wheeling) ▼
Book Merry Christmas from Three Wheeling Legends (Ohio County Public Library Archives, 2014, December 25)
Book For the Love of Old Buildings and Wheeling History (Brennan, Margaret, 2015, February 14)

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