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Photographs - Collections - 2012 - #2012-P-005

Title: Browning, Olson and Chalcraft Photographic Studios

Dates: 1925-1960             

Collection Number:

22,595 photographic negatives and prints 

Collection consists of portraits and photographs taken by the Henry L. Browning photographic studio, the Olson studio, and the Floyd Chalcraft Studio in Hettinger. Photographs include individual, family and group portraits of residents of southwest North Dakota and northwest South Dakota towns; images of buildings, Hettinger High School sports teams and student groups, Hettinger churches and businesses, and miscellaneous photographs.

Ceil Anne Clement, President of the Dakota Buttes Museum (Hettinger, ND) donated the collection via Loren Luckow on June 29, 2010. Pam Schonert processed the collection in 2012.

Property Rights:
The State Historical Society of North Dakota owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights to this collection remain with the donor, publisher, author, or author's heirs.  Researchers should consult the 1976 Copyright Act, Public Law 94-553, Title 17, U.S. Code or an archivist at this repository if clarification of copyright requirements is needed.

This collection is open under the rules and regulations of the State Historical Society of North Dakota.

Researchers are requested to cite the collection title, collection number, and the State Historical Society of North Dakota in all footnote and bibliographic references.       

Transfer: No materials were transferred from this collection.


Henry L. Browning was born in Kentucky on September 6, 1882. He married Elizabeth Browning and by 1910, they lived in Plate City, SD. The Browning family was living in Harding County, SD by 1920. Henry Browning opened the Browning Photo Studio in Hettinger in 1925 and in either 1925 or 1926 the Brownings had a daughter, Lorraine (Elizabeth L). Lorraine graduated from Hettinger High School in 1943. She married a parts man at a local dealership and they lived in Hettinger for several years. She currently resides in Portland, OR.

Browning sold his photo studio to Donald Olson in 1947, who operated it for about five years. Olson had graduated from Hettinger High School with Lorraine Browning in 1943. Donald Olson had his studio in the same house as Browning.  The house was moved a couple blocks away and is still being lived in.  Dakota Bank is located at the site of the original studio, at 121 North Main St
Floyd Chalcraft appears to have operated the studio from about 1956-1960. Floyd and Mary Joan Chalcraft had a son, Larry. The Chalcraft family was involved in several business enterprises. Floyd assisted his wife’s parents, Chris and Agnes Halvorson, in managing the Anderson Super Valu in Hettinger until the Halvorsons purchased a grocery store in Mott, and left Chalcraft to manage the Hettinger store. In 1972, Floyd and Mary Joan took over the Ben Franklin franchise. In 1975, they moved the store from 111 South Main Street, Hettinger, to 113 North Main Street, where the current theater stands. In 1985, they remodeled the Hettinger Auto building and relocated there. The Chalcrafts owned Duckwall’s Variety Store on 107 North Main Street from 1985 to 1999.

1910 United States Federal Census
1920 United States Federal Census
1930 United States Federal Census
1943 Hettinger High School Yearbook
100 Years of Change and Challenge (2007) Hettinger Centennial Committee, pp. 225, 231-233, 236.


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