George Newton remains
a beacon of times past
preserving the experiences
of diverse peoples
who lived side-by-side
and the enduring beauty
found in the natural world
recording the gains and losses
that come with change
his camera captured
one vision of
Minnesota's North Country

Greta Bahnemann

The Minnesota Digital Library collection includes almost 150 photographs taken by George A. Newton. Newton was a professional photographer who lived and worked in the cities of Brainerd and Duluth. His photographs demonstrate his love of the outdoors and spirit of adventure. He traveled to a number of Iron Range towns where he photographed the workings of the iron mines as well as taking some of the earliest photographs of area lakes and waterfalls. While living in Duluth, George Newton frequently headed up the north shore of Lake Superior and photographed waterfalls, secluded inlets, and all forms of boat travel. His photography work in Duluth included the downtown area, the ore docks, Union Depot, and views from the city’s various neighborhoods. Explore a selection of his work through this map of northeastern Minnesota.

Little is actually known about George Newton’s life. He was born circa 1838 in Salisbury, Vermont, the son of Rufus and Mary Newton. As a resident of Vermont, he served in the Union army during the Civil War where he may have worked as a photographer. Sometime after the Civil War Newton headed west to Minnesota. By 1888 he was living and working in Brainerd, Minnesota; and in 1889 he moved to Duluth where he worked as a professional photographer for the next ten years. After the national economic depression and Panic of 1893, Newton supplemented his income by working as a janitor at the Lester Park School. Records show that by 1899 George Newton had relocated back to Brainerd. After that George Newton seemingly vanished from recorded history, but it is believed that he died in 1920.

Begin exploring this exhibit using the page links below.