This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
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A Young Violinist from Reading, PA

12 June 2010

Rather than confuse things in the last post, I've kept this photo as a separate entry. This is a cabinet card from the studio of Edward Egleman Hafer, a photographer working very near Mr's Patton & Dietrich. It shows a confident boy with his violin, standing in front of a painted studio backdrop, at age 9 or 10. Note his side button shoes.

The photo back shows Hafer's trademark and address, 433½ Penn St. Reading, along with the penciled name of Dany Lehman?. Mr. Hafer had a long career in Reading beginning first in Capt. F.M. Yeager's studio from 1872-74 in Reading, and then purchasing the business. He remained at that Penn St. address through the 1900 city directory  and was still listed  as a photographer in the 1920 US Census. I found a book entitled History of Berks County, Pennsylvania, published in 1898, which is a "Who's who." of its time. It describes Hafer as also a successful artist, who could paint portraits on order. Hence the artist's brush & pallet logo. Quite a few early photographers studied formal art and were known for their paintings. 

The style and size of the photo suggests a little later date for this young musician. Certainly after 1875 and perhaps to 1885. Unfortunately the name Lehman is very common in Pennsylvania so I can find no reliable connection to Reading, Pennsylvannia. The question mark after the name does suggest it was added much later, when the writer was in doubt about the accuracy of memory, and I like to think the writer was Dany's music teacher. The direct gaze and assured stance of the young pupil, makes me imagine this as a treasured photo of a proud teacher.

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