YOUNG GYPSY WOMAN IN ELMIRA, NEW YORK

R. F. Snyder of Elmira, New York produced this cabinet card photograph of a young gypsy woman. One can not be certain whether this image displays a young gypsy woman, or a young woman dressed to appear as a gypsy. She is wearing the appropriate ethnic clothing and is holding cymbals. The reverse of the photograph has a copyright date of 1889. This cabinet card does not represent good quality posing skills on the part of the photographer. The subject was photographed at too great a distance and she is consumed by the large blank expanse of the floor beneath her and the wall behind her. Ralph F. Snyder was born about 1852 in Berwick, Pennsylvania. His father, John Snyder, was a photographer. Ralph Snyder began his photography career at age 18 and soon had a studio in Scranton, Pennsylvania (1873). He also worked in Philadelphia before coming to Elmira, New York to open his gallery. His studio in Elmira was located at 116 Baldwin (1891).

Published in: on October 27, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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FIVE MEN, DERBIES AND DOGS IN KUTZTOWN, PENNSYLVANIA

The boys gather together at Snyder’s Studio in Kutztown, Pennsylvania for a group portrait. Suits and derby hats seem to be the order of the day. Someone brought their two large hounds to the gathering. The dogs appear to be hunting dogs. Examination of this cabinet card image brings up the question, “How are these men connected to each other?”.  Are they good friends?  Are they co-workers? The answer to these questions are unobtainable and we are left with only hypotheses.What do we know about the photographer? The 1880 U. S. census reveals that Charles Wanner Snyder (1852-1927) was married to Sallie A. Jackson (1858-1900) and the pair had a daughter named Lydia (born 1879). Charles Snyder was born, and later died, in Kutztown. At the time of the census, Snyder was employed as a boot and shoe maker, but he appears to have had a tendency to switch careers over time. After tiring of boots and shoes,  he worked two years as a harness maker. He learned photographic and freehand crayon work and then, became a photographer. Research reveals that he had a reputation for being an excellent scenic artist and sign painter. He also was a very civic minded man. He was credited as saving a grove from woodsmen, and establishing the Kutztown Park with the rescued property. He served six years on the Kutztown council and five years as President of the council. In 1880 he entered the bicycle business. He added a Sphinx automobile dealership to his bicycle shop in 1915. What in the world is a Sphinx automobile? The Sphinx was produced by the Sphinx Motor Car Company which was located in York, Pennsylvania. The company produced cars in 1915 and 1916. The Sphinx was a light touring car. Automobile Industries (1914) reported that the car was expected to  have an initial selling price of six hundred and ninety-five dollars.

Published in: on February 4, 2012 at 12:01 am  Comments (2)  
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