James Arthur was a talented photographer from Montreal. His parents were both immigrants from Scotland who were well off financially. While attending prestigious private schools, Arthur developed an artistic eye to influence his photographic work. After his father’s death, Arthur began working as a photographer with the well-known J. and J. W. Notman studio.
In 1881, he moved to Detroit to work for photographer J. E. Watson. He became senior partner of Arthur & Philbric in 1883 and remained in business with them for eight years. After that, he became the sole proprietor of Arthur Studios. James Arthur died at his Detroit home on January 12, 1912, after a successful and prominent photographic career. The early history of Detroit, written ten years after Arthur’s death, described him as one of the country’s foremost photographers.
Here are some spectacular photos of American women at the turn of the 20th century by James Arthur and her partner Helen M. Philbric in Detroit, Michigan.