Photographer George James Kossuth (April 12, 1885-September 14, 1960) was born in Clifton, Mason County. His family moved to Wheeling during his infancy. As a teenager he apprenticed with Wheeling photographer Frank Giffen.
Kossuth opened his own studio in 1909, and quickly became the leading portrait photographer in the city. In the ensuing years he photographed nearly every celebrity who visited Wheeling. Kossuth’s studio became famous as a gathering place for local and visiting artists and musicians. He played an active role in the city’s cultural life, serving on the board of directors of the Wheeling Symphony and promoting the development and activities of many other organizations, including the Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum and the Stifel Fine Arts Center.
Kossuth eventually achieved broad fame for his insightful portraits of many of the world’s celebrities, especially in the field of music. Richard Strauss, Fritz Reiner, Karl Muck, Jerome Hines, Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, and John Philip Sousa were among the musical giants whom he photographed. Another was the conductor Leopold Stokowski, who employed Kossuth as his personal photographer for a period of six years. Among the dignitaries in other fields that he photographed were Clarence Darrow, Richard Nixon, Carl Sandburg, and Lowell Thomas. Also an art collector, connoisseur, and conservator, Kossuth is credited with rediscovering and preserving the work of the Wheeling artist Jeanie Caldwell Daugherty. Kossuth died in Wheeling.
This Article was written by John A. Cuthbert
Last Revised on October 07, 2010