Pic of the Week (#144) - A Family Photo and a Photographer's Secret?

Every Friday The Psychogenealogist shares a "Pic of the Week." The intent is to encourage thought and imagination about the spaces where psychology, genealogy, and history converge.

Here is a photo of of what I presume to be a father and his young sons. Dad is dressed in a traditional suit. The boys look clothes look slightly militaristic. Were they at a boarding school? The photo appears to be taken around 1920-1930.


There are no markings on the back of the photo. The only marking on the front reads: “Riley - Greeley, Colo.”.

The earliest mention I found of a Riley Studio in Greeley, Colorado was in an advertisement from 1916.

The photographer likely was Howard Riley who opened his studio a few years earlier. After his death in 1931 his wife, Mrs. Olive Riley, maintained the business with the help of her nephew, Frank Craven. Here is an article from 1942 detailing the history of the studio and its sale.

After Frank took over there were dozens of newspaper advertisements like these published in 1943 and 1944. I did not find any advertisements published after 1944.

In researching the earliest days of the studio and the original photographer, Howard Riley, I found information detailing a criminal conviction that he had. In 1911 Howard Riley was found guilty of, “enticing girls into his studio for improper purposes.” He was a “lover of art in the nude”. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions about what those improper purposes were.

For some reason Howard was granted a new trial, as detailed below. I did not find any information about what happened after this second trial, but it seems possible that Howard’s conviction was overturned. I found no other mentions of the trial after this time and Howard went on a few years later to open his studio in Greeley.


  • Who might this family be?

  • What is their story?

  • What happened to the Riley Studio after 1944?

  • What were the circumstances of Howard Riley’s conviction in 1911?

  • How did the 2nd trial end?

  • Did Howard Riley open a studio in a new town to hide a tarnished reputation?

  • Whatever happened to the accuser, Cellie Hazelip?

Related Posts: Photographers