It sounds redundant, but to a historian a picture (in this case a photograph) can be worth a thousand words. In researching the early history of Sallisaw and Sequoyah County, Oklahoma, it soon becomes obvious that many if not most of the old photographs are signed “Wallace Studio.” Without these photographs, the historic record would be very incomplete.
In 1925, the editor of the Sallisaw based, Sequoyah County Democrat felt the same way when he described the historical importance of the Wallace Studio photographs.
WALLACE STUDIO SOLD
The Wallace Studio is sold and there is a possibility that the owner will move it away. The studio possesses many treasured plates made in days gone by. Several are valuable from a historic standpoint and are of the old residents and many old buildings erected when Sallisaw was first established.
Of course, the new owner did not move the studio to a different town, although the studio was later partially destroyed in a fire. Many of the plates and photos are believed to be in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Not only historic, the Wallace Studio photographs are artistic. They show great ability in creative arrangement and lighting. From 1909 to the 1920s, the Wallace Studio in Sallisaw was owned by Lawrence and his wife Letitia Wallace, who had moved to Sallisaw from Ohio. Working as a team, they produced hundreds of photographs, some winning honors in state contests.
We will probably never know all of the reasons, but in 1923 Lawrence and Letitia separated and Lawrence moved to California. Letitia and her daughter, Cleo, continued in business for about two more years, after which, Letitia sold the business in 1925 and moved to Portland, Oregon. Despite the conflict in their personal lives, the work of the Wallaces in Sallisaw remains a legacy of historic and artistic achievement.