James S. Drysdale was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada in 1862. He came to America in 1887. He married Amanda Michelson in 1892, and with her raised two children, Myrtle and Myra.
Prior to coming to Fargo in 1905, James worked as a Photographer in Brainerd, Minn. and as a traveling salesman for O. H. Peck Company in Minneapolis. James Drysdale took over the photography business from John J. Freeman who had died two years earlier. For a time he was in business with someone by the last name of Evans, as Drysdale-Evans.
Drysdale also taught photography at the Northern School of Photography. He left Fargo in about 1908 and sold his business to Archie L. Dewey.
After leaving Fargo, Mr. Drysdale moved to Superior, Wisconsin, where he had a photography studio. He died there in 1914.