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C. W. Motes photographs and drawing

Collection number: ahc.VIS436

Scope and Contents

This collection contains several photographs taken by Columbus Washington "C. W." Motes, as well as portraits of Motes. Additional photographs include his wife, Emma F. White, and their two daughters: Mary Motes Delbridge and Eva Motes. The collection also includes photographs, presumably of his clients, images of titled sculptures, a drawing by C. W. Motes, and a color cased image of his daughter, Mary. Of special note is an ambrotype of Motes during his time as a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War.


  • approximately 1862-1900, undated


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

This material is protected by copyright law. (Title 17, U.S. Code) Permission for use must be cleared through the Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Licensing agreement may be required.

Biographical / Historical

Columbus Washington "C. W." Motes (1837-1919) was born in Perry, Alabama, to Anderson Motes (1798-1845) and Pernice Adair (1812-1953). In 1861, he enlisted in the Confederate States Army and served during the American Civil War as a sergeant, and later, a first lieutenant, in the Troup County Artillery. Motes was wounded during the Battle of Antietam near Sharpsburg, Maryland, in 1862. In 1863, he fought at the Battle of Gettysburg. He married Emily F. White (1843-1897) on June 14, 1866, in Athens, Georgia. They had two daughters: Mary Motes Delbridge (1867-1927) and Eva Motes (1879-1917).

Motes opened a photography gallery on Broad Street in Athens, Georgia during the 1860s. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1871 where he opened another photography gallery on Whitehall Street in Atlanta, which he operated for over 25 years. Motes won several photography awards including a $100 award from the Photographic Association of America in 1884, first prize at the 1898 National Photographic Convention, and a gold medal and diploma of honor awarded by the Cotton States and International Exposition in 1898. Motes retired in 1899 after selling his share in his photography gallery to his business partner, B. Frank Moore. Motes, along with his wife and children, are buried at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.


21 image(s) (18 black and white photographic prints, one drawing, one ambrotype, one color cased image)




This collection is arranged alphabetically by titles supplied by staff.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1980

Bias in Description

As archivists, we acknowledge our role as stewards of information. We choose how individuals and organizations are represented and described in our archives. We are not neutral, and bias is reflected in our descriptions, which may not accurately convey the racist or offensive aspects of collection materials. Archivists make mistakes and might use poor judgment. In working with this collection, we often re-use language used by the former owners of the material. This language provides context but often includes bias and prejudices reflective of the time in which it was created. The Kenan Research Center’s work is ongoing to implement reparative language where Library of Congress subject terms are inaccurate and obsolete.

Kenan Research Center welcomes feedback and questions regarding our archival descriptions. If you encounter harmful, offensive, or insensitive terminology or descriptions, please let us know by emailing Your comments are essential to our work to create inclusive and thoughtful description.

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2022.

C. W. Motes photographs and drawing
Ariana Lee
September 2022
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center Repository

130 West Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta GA 30305