John Cosby

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Portrait photograph of John Cosby in formal attire, taken by Rufus W. Holsinger at an unknown date. Reproduced from the Holsinger Studio Portrait Project.

John Thomas Cosby (1875 - 1930) was a Black man who lived in Charlottesville during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His portrait photograph, along with that of his wife Louise Cosby, forms a part of the Holsinger Studio Collection.


Cosby was born in 1875 in Charlottesville. He was the son of two hotel workers and attended school, being able to read and write from a young age. He eventually began working as a hotel waiter in Charlottesville (presumably at the same establishment his parents worked at). In 1893, he married his wife Louise "Lula" Fawcett Cosby, remaining married to her for the remainder of his life. As of 1929, the couple was still living in Charlottesville.

At an unknown date, Cosby had a portrait photograph of himself in formal attire taken by Rufus W. Holsinger, with this photograph forming a part of the Holsinger Studio Collection. This photograph was featured in the “Visions of Progress: Portraits of Dignity, Style and Racial Uplift” exhibit of Holsinger's photographs that was on display at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library from 2022-2023.

Cosby died in 1930.[1]


  1. Web. John Cosby, Holsinger Studio Portrait Project