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
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

The Grand Parade of the Knights Templar

24 November 2017

Spontaneity. Whimsy. Humor.
People photographed before 1900
didn't typically exhibit such playfulness.
But this animated cornet player
with a bottle balanced on his head
shows that sometimes early cameras
could capture a moment of fun.

The bandsman's friends get the joke,
sharing a smile over his antics.
They are not musicians
but they are dressed
in elaborate uniforms
with plumed bicorne hats
and gleaming swords.

In the 20th century we would call
such a lighthearted image a common snapshot.
But in 1895 it was a new art form.

{click the images for larger detail}

The cabinet card photo has a handwritten caption:

Boston Aug 27. 95   Compliments of Bearce & Wilson

The four men are resting after participating in a grand parade
They are members of the Masonic Order
called the Knights Templar
which gathered together in Boston
for a great conclave in August 1895.
Over 25,000 marched in the parade.

Boston Post
27 August 1895

The Sir Knights as they were called, had been arriving during the previous weekend from all across the country. Boston's train stations and docks were filled with thousands of men dressed in splendid regalia who took up temporary residence in the city's many hotels. On Tuesday morning the 25,000 masons assembled for a parade through Boston. It was scheduled to start at 10:00 AM and take over 2 hours to finish the roughly 5 mile route. Not surprisingly it took a bit longer than that.

Boston Post
28 August 1895

The Knights Templar, formally known as the United Religious, Military and Masonic Orders of the Temple and of St John of Jerusalem, Palestine, Rhodes and Malta, were a Christian order of Freemasonry. Masonic lodges of Knights Templar were first established in Ireland and Scotland in the 1780s and then in England in the 1830s. In America the Knights Templar first organized in 1816 as the highest degree within the York Rite masonic society, and this event in Boston was their 26th triennial conclave.

A local lodge of the Knights Templar was called a Commandery and part of the Grand Encampment of the United States. In 1895 the number of commanderies had increased from 30 to 36, and each one sent large groups of men to the Boston conclave. The national membership of the Knights Templar was reported as 106,770.  Though some of the Sir Knights brought wives, women were excluded from membership in Freemasonry, as they were in most fraternal societies at the time.

The cornet player came from the No. 6 KT Commandery of Lewiston, Maine, identified by the badge pinned to his jacket. In August 1895 Maine sent over 1200 knights, nearly the full ranks from the 11 commanderies in the Pine Tree State. The Lewiston KT commander was Charles E. Libby, a baker who lived in Auburn, ME, Lewiston's twin city on the western side of the Androscoggin River. The lodge's membership was then 154.  Four years later in 1899 it expanded to 225.

* * *

Boston Post
28 August 1895

The newspapers of 1895 did not yet have the technology to print photographs. Instead wood and metal engravers duplicated the work of artists. The Boston Post illustrated the activities of the Knights Templar that week with dozens of splendid images. Some like this one of the Grand Marshal and KT Commander leading the procession on his black charger, were printed on a full page.

- - -

Boston Post
28 August 1895

The Knights Templar based their origins on the knights of the Christian Crusades to the Holy Land. Their elaborate uniforms, hats, and swords  were part of a quasi-military tradition that included practicing precision drills and marching, both on foot and on horseback. To see a parade of  25,000 was a sight not to be missed in Boston that summer.

- - -

Boston Post
28 August 1895

Boston's Masonic Temple was decorated for the conclave with symbols of the Knights Templar. Every hotel in the city was occupied by the Sir Knights and numerous restaurants and halls were booked for KT banquets. Boston's numerous theaters and summer amusement parks also did a good business entertaining the visiting masons.

- - -

Boston Post
28 August 1895

The newspapers played up the fellowship and conviviality of the Knight's conclave. The Boston papers printed lists of honors, transcripts of speeches,  and detailed schedules of events. The membership of the Knights Templar were men largely from America's business class, along with farmers and land owners. The mission of the Knights Templar was a continuation of Freemasonry with an emphasis on non-denominational Christian spirituality. Secular politics were considered to be outside the order.

- - -

Boston Post
28 August 1895

The Boston Post enlivened the columns and columns of reports by interposing charming woodcut views of the grand parade. According to this image, young women tossed fruit to the knights from the windows of the Post building.  The official bleachers set up along the parade route held over 4,000 people. Enterprising wagon owners sold standing room on their vehicles to anyone who wanted a better view.

- - -

It was a grand day.
Even old Sol was blinded by the display.

Boston Post
28 August 1895

* * *

Now let's return to the bottle.

It's a clear glass bottle with a flip-top. It's also empty, which reveals lettering in the glass. Despite my best efforts I can't quite identify the name but I am certain it is a typical circa 1890s beer bottle from Boston. Notice that that the cornet player's pointing finger is actually offering someone a corkscrew. It looks to me like he has just won a wager to play his cornet while balancing a bottle on his hat. You'd have to be pretty good to pull that off.

The lines on his face put the  man's age at around 60+. His hat is not the KT bicorne style but a military kepi with two badges, LB - initials for Lewiston Band, and Second Regt. In the 1890s Lewsiton-Auburn, Maine had a combined population of 33,000 citizens which supported six bands and orchestras.

1904 New England Business Directory and Gazetteer

One was the Lewiston Brigade Band and another was Payne's Second Regiment Band which belonged to the National Guard of the State of Maine. The Brigade Band was also called the "best military band in Maine" but it was not a regular US Army band. More likely it was "attached" to a  volunteer infantry unit in Lewiston. All the Lewiston bands and orchestras shared musicians and performed for various civic functions. It's likely that the cornet player was one of the leaders who worked in both bands and was also a mason. His band may have been hired to accompany the Lewiston Commandery of Knights Templar on their parade through Boston. Given the length of the Boston parade, there was at least one band if not several accompanying every KT State Commandery marching.  You can not march with precision without a good drum beat and catchy tune. The Boston Post printed music composed for the occasion by Wiliam Bradford Fairchild called the Freemason's March. The paper claimed that 300 bands would play it in the procession.

The photo was marked Compliments of Bearce & Wilson. This was not the name of a photography studio in either Boston or Lewiston. Actually Bearce & Wilson were dealers in coal and wood, essentially a fuel supplier for Auburn-Lewiston.

1898 Lewiston-Auburn, ME city directory

Perhaps the clever cornetist indulged in bottle of
Van Nostrand's
Bunker Hill Lager
Quality the best.
Taste agreeable.
Effect beneficial.
Order a case of your grocer.

Boston Post
27 August 1895

Boston Post
28 August 1895

Or perhaps it was a bottle of
King's Bohemian Beer
"Now could I drink hot blood!"
quoth Hamlet.
Poor Fellow who had never known
the charms of...
- - -

Boston Post
29 August 1895

Perhaps it was a bottle of
Old Sterling Ale
from the
Highland Spring Brewery
of Boston

The Knights Templars
Right noble they performed their part
Dealt many a valiant blow,
When Richard of the lion heart
Went forth to meeth the foe.
Before them Saracens went down
As falls the winter hail,
And here today in Boston town
They drink Old Sterling Ale.

- - -

Or maybe it was just a bottle of
Moxie  Nerve Food
New Englan's Leading Health Drink.

Recommended to every tired and thirsty Knight Templar.

Boston Post
29 August 1895

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
click the link to buy another round!

The Elegant Low Brass of Philadelphia

18 November 2017

Good portraits try to present
more than just a mere likeness.
The image should, of course,
show the person's countenance at its best.
From the smile to the twinkle of the eyes,
everything must illustrate the subject's personality.

The woman on this cabinet card photograph
is framed by the character of her fashionable hair style,
the beauty of her elegant gown,
and the attraction of her favored accessory,
a valve trombone.

This woman affects a similar pose
with a lovely white dress,
a thoughtful gaze,
and graceful arms
artfully arranged
upon her tuba.

This third young lady
presents an almost classical Grecian visage.
The sepia tone can not hide
her bright eyes. Blue? Green?
Her gown's voluminous puffed shoulders
give dramatic effect
to her choice of a chic prop,
a slide trombone.

These three women
form an interesting musical trio
of three different low brass instruments.
I do not know their names
but I am certain that they once
knew each other very well,
and that there was an occasion when
they went together
to the same photographer's studio
to have their portraits taken.

The photography studio for the portraits
of all three ladies was:
Meynen & Co.
1204 Walnut St.

Only the photo of the valve trombonist
has a backstamp with more information.

Meynen & Co.
Franz Meynen
Artists and Photographers
Studio  1204 Walnut St.

The Skylight is on the Ground Floor.

Franz Meynen was born in Germany in 1840 and emigrated to the United States in about 1874. in 1875 at age 35, he married Amelia Medicus, age 18 ½ of Philadelphia. They were still together for the 1900 census and at that time recorded six children.  Franz Meynen took an active part in Philadelphia's German-American community and interestingly was noted as a member of the Männerchor or German Men's Choir in 1879.

His work in Philadelphia was not initially as a photographer but as an artist. Many early photographers advertised themselves in this way, but Meynen trained in Germany as a sculptor. I think his  background in 3-dimensional art shows in the way the three women are posed.  Especially the tubist whose instrument's size might otherwise obstruct the view of the musician's feminine charm.

The address of Meynen & Co. at 1204 Walnut St. is a good clue for dating the photographs. In the Philadelphia city directory, Meynen's home address was at 601 Marshall, and from 1890 to 1894, his photography studio was at 540 Franklin Street, not far from Philadelphia's waterfront dockyards on the Delaware River.

But in 1895 the city directory listed Meynen & Co. at 1240 Walnut St., a site closer to Philadelphia's city hall and business center. It was also just a short walk to the famous Academy of Music, the oldest opera house in the United States. This location for a photography studio surely attracted not just the attention of Philadelphia's high society but also the patronage of performers in the entertainment world who visited this center of American culture. Given the style of the women's hair and dress, top knots and puffy sleeves were big fads in the 1890's, and this change in Meynen's studio address, I think these women posed for his camera around 1895-97.

Who they are I can not say. But in this era the number of female tuba and trombone players in America was very small. The women's white dresses suggest school graduation pictures, and in 1895 Philadelphia did have a National Conservatory of Music at North Broad St. which accepted women and promoted its Ladies Orchestra class. But it advertised it as open just to string players, not low brass.

In the Philadelphia newspapers of the 1890s it was not uncommon to see theatre playbills with performances by ladies bands, which would seem an obvious place to find trombones and tuba, but those groups generally dressed in quasi-military attire suitable for marching, at least across a theater stage. These ladies are dressed too nice for that kind of ensemble. Try emptying a spit valve wearing a full length evening gown.

In my photograph collection, the center of music for women in 19th century America was not Philadelphia, but Boston. I suspect that this trio were part of a Boston Ladies orchestra that came to play select performances in Philadelphia. In 1896 one such "ladies orchestra", actually just 12 to 18 musicians with a handful of strings, a few winds and percussion, accompanied a panto of Cinderella at the Arch Street Theatre. That's only a 12 minute walk from Meynen's studio. It's possible that these musicians were members of that ensemble, as sometimes one or two low brass were included to help fill the sound in large halls, but this still needs more research before I can confirm that supposition.

What intrigues me most about these elegant low brass ladies is a tiny but important detail in all three photos. Each woman wears a wedding band on the ring finger of her left hand. Marriage in the 1890s usually ended the professional career of female musicians. I do not have an explanation as to how these married women managed to perform.

In August 1915 Franz Meynen died as age 75. His obituary appeared in the journal, The Bulletin of Photography. It noted that his career began in his native Cologne, Germany where he produced portrait busts of the composer Franz Liszt and Pope Pius IX. He also contributed a centerpiece sculpture of the Archangel Michael to the north portal of the Cologne Cathedral or Kölner Dom.

Bulletin of Photography, Vol. 17, No. 420
August 25, 1915

Kölner Dom, north portal
Source: Wikimedia

The figure is just between the two doors of the portal and show St. Michael slaying a dragon/devil. According to the Cologne Cathedral website, Franz Meynen's original sculpture was altered shortly after it was first installed. It was partly destroyed during WW2 and restored in 1970 to something more like its original design. 

Archangel Michael
in the north portal of the Cologne Cathedral

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where beauty has no match.

Self Portrait with Flute

10 November 2017

Every good portrait photo has a focus point.
Usually it is the subject's face,
specifically the eyes.
Where do they gaze?
Directly into the camera lens?
Off sides but downward for a look of humility?
Level to show assurance?
Upwards for aspiration?
Each arrangement conveys
a different attitude and meaning.
This man clearly intended a romantic ideal.
His eyes are focused on some distant mountain.
His high forehead, flowing long hair,
add to his mystical appearance.
But it is his blackwood and ivory flute
that captures our attention.
This man appears to be a musical artist.
But he was also a portrait artist
and a photographer.

His cabinet card photo was taken by  

Prof. Ehrlich    New York.

This is one of the most remarkable photos
in my collection because it is
a rare self-portrait made
by the photographer himself.
How do I know?
Because Professor Ehrlich
included a picture of himself
engraved in the photo's backstamp.

Prof. Ehrlich's
Photograph Gallery
Art Studio

Portraits in Oil,
Pastel, Watercolors
and Crayon.
Photographs Beautifully Colored

No. 160 East 66th Street
bet. Lexington & 3rd Ave.
New York

Duplicates can be had
at any time.

The photo's backstamp was embellished with fine engravings of Prof. Ehrlich's profile in the upper right corner, his 3 story walk-up studio gallery, seven medallions of his awards for portraits in different media, and his camera seemingly prancing on its tripod.

One medallion awarded for Portraits has a year, 1885. But his first name or even initials were not included. That was resolved by discovering his engraved portraits in the archives of the New York Public Library. The first picture is of the same profile used on the backstamp.

Prof. D. Ehrlich, Portrait Artist
Source: NYPL

The second portrait has a caption Prof. D. Ehrlich. 
That initial D was an important clue in finding him in the census records.

Prof. D. Ehrlich, Portrait Artist
Source: NYPL

His full name was David Ehrlich, born in Austria on June 16, 1848. He emigrated to the United States in April 1878, residing in the Manhattan borough of New York City. This was recorded on his petition for US citizenship filed in NY on September 12, 1906 after he had been in New York nearly 30 years. He listed his occupation as Artist and his address as No. 7 East 116th Street.

In the 1900 Census Ehrlich lived at 136 E. 70th St. His wife's name was Rosa, age 36 and they had five children aged 21 to 6: Oscar, Martin, Jennie, Jacob, and Laura. His occupation was Artist & Photographer. His birthplace was listed as Austrian Poland. Rosa was born in England but of Polish parents. However they had been married for only 11 years and she had only three children. Therefore the older brothers, Oscar and Martin, came from an earlier marriage.

In the 1880 census David Ehrlich, recorded as age 30, though actually 32, occupation Artist, and lived at No. 184 E. 76th St. with his first wife, Jennie, age 19. Oscar Ehrlich was then only age 3/12. Jennie was born in Germany and David's birthplace was recorded as Vienna. Their neighborhood had a large number of people who came from Prussia, Bavaria, Württemberg, and Lübeck.

During this age of American expansion, German immigration made New York the third largest city of German speakers after Berlin and Vienna. Manhattan's Lower East Side became known as Little Germany. The New Yorker Volkszeitung was a German language newspaper which published in 1895 an advertisement for Prof. Ehrlich's studio at 160 East 66. Strasse. He offered a dozen ivory finished cabinet cards for only $1.25. Note the clever shoes from E. Fischer just below.

New Yorker Volkszeitung
20 July 1895

Two years later, Ehrlich ran a similar advert in The World, calling himself the King of Photographers while reducing his price to just 75¢ for a dozen. Like the Volkszeitung ad, this woodcut shows him wearing a colorful wide cowboy style hat. With his long hair, he strikes as image of a daring western cowboy not unlike Buffalo Bill Cody whose Great Wild West Show was a popular touring circus spectacle in the 1890s. 

New York World
27 July 1897

A number of photographers printed pictures of their establishments on their photos. It made good marketing sense to show your attractive exterior to people living in a bustling urban maze like New York. The house number is prominently displayed on a rooftop sign along with a banner that reads PORTRAITS, and two more signs. Window light was particularly important for early photographers and it's likely that Ehrlich's studio was on the top floor. However contemporary maps show that 160 East 66th St. also had a rare back garden view too.

Today the house has survived Manhattan's skyscraper development but has been remodeled by removing the steps to the main floor and filling in the ground floor. In 2015 it was listed for sale at $11.9 million. You can find a description and slideshow of the interior rooms at this link.

160 East 66th St., New York City
Source: Google Steet View

It's difficult to know how successful Prof. Ehrlich was as a photographer, but enough of his work has survived to be fairly common on eBay photo sales. I've bought examples that have the identical backstamp with his profile. Here is one of a young woman who gazes just to the side of the camera lens. Ehrlich has artfully tilted her head to give her face a flattering light.

The economy of the United States suffered a major depression in the summer of 1893. By the winter of 1893-94 New York City's charity organizations made a combined effort to provide assistance to the city's poor. Each newspaper took on a different need. The New York Herald had a clothing drive. The New York Tribune did coal and food. And New York World, published by Joseph Pulitzer, ran the World's Bread Fund. In February 1894, the Henry Irving Dramatic League presented its contribution to the fund, a three act drama entitled "Enlisted for the War." Tickets to the show included a coupon for one dozen cabinet photographs from Prof. Ehrlich's studio on East 66th St. It's possible that the woman's cabinet photo above was one of these promotions.

New York World
23 February 1894

In addition to that offer Prof. Ehrlich also gave out souvenir photos at a production of Cinderella by Carl Marwig's juvenile company. Every woman attending the benefit received a photo of two pretty children, laden with good things to eat.

New York World
23 February 1894

Just this week as I was preparing this story, I found a copy of this same souvenir photo. A small sad-eyed boy, age about 2, holds a loaf of Challah bread and a smoked turkey. Around his neck are several links of sausage and at his feet are two eggs and another loaf of bread. The caption reads:

Just coming from the “World's Bread Fund”
Original and Copyrighted '94
by Prof. D. Ehrlich

In February 1894, Rosa and David Ehrlich's youngest son, Jacob had just turned two. Their next oldest child was daughter Jennie, age 5. Rather than picking up random street urchins, I suspect Ehrlich used his own children to make these melodramatic photographs, and that this small boy is in fact Jacob Ehrlich, born January 1892. It is no coincidence that on the wall behind the child is a framed portrait. It is the photo used to make the engraving of Prof. D. Ehrlich, Portrait Artist and Photographer. Based on this likeness, I believe his self portrait with flute dates from 1892 to 1894.


Now for some flute lessons.

Like many other woodwind instruments the flute underwent significant improvements during the 19th century. New materials and mechanisms altered the simple flute design of the baroque era into an instrument with louder tone and an ability to play more notes faster. This was due to the innovations in woodwind keywork. The man who takes most of the credit for this was Theobald Boehm (1794-1881) a Bavarian flute virtuoso and celebrated inventor of what is called the modern concert flute. Boehm applied new methods of scientific measurement to understand the acoustics of the flute. His use of silver and gold instead of wood made the sound of the flute more brilliant, but it was his innovative key system that gave flutists' fingers better facility to play faster and with more chromatic notes.  He introduced his first Boehm system flute in 1851 at the London Exhibition, but it took many decades before was adopted by flute players. Over time his key system attracted the notice of other woodwind makers and is now used for oboes and clarinets.

The Library of Congress has a fine portrait photo of Theobald Boehm which resembles Ehrlich's photo. You will notice that Boehm's flute is made of African blackwood including the headjoint. This photo appears in Boehm's book on flute design where he is described as age 60 so it was prpbably taken around 1854-55.

Theobald Boehm, 1794-1881
Source: LOC
A second photo from the LOC collection shows Theobald Boehm and Antoine Sacchetti, an Italian flute virtuoso, posing with two silver flutes. Sacchetti's career took him to St. Petersburg, Russia where he became a noted performer and teacher. Boehm appears a bit older so this photo probably dates from the 1860s.

Antoine Sacchetti and Theobald Boehm
Source: LOC

However the flute David Ehrlich is holding is not a Boehm flute. It is another system designed by Heinrich Friedrich Meyer (1814–1897) who was from Hannover in Lower Saxony, Germany. Elephant ivory was a material often used for the headjoint  because it was considered more durable and stable. It was also very easily turned on a lathe.

Unlike Boehm's metal flutes which were cylindrical, Meyer's flutes used the same reverse conical bore as the simple baroque flute. It also had open tone holes with just 11 keys. The Library of Congress has the wonderful Dayton C. Miller Flute Collection of over 1700 flutes and flute iconography which provided several examples of a  Meyerflöte. I have arranged one next to Ehrlich's flute to show how the keys match up.

On Murray Street near Broadway, not too far from Prof. Ehrlich's studio, was  C. A. Zoebisch & Sons, Importers and Wholesale Dealers in Musical Instruments. They made a point of advertising both Superior Boehm and Genuine Meyer flutes.

1898 New York City directory
Advertisement for C. A. Zoebisch & Sons
Importers and Wholesale Dealers in Musical Instruments


New York Tribune
15 September 1901

David Ehrlich labeled himself an artist beginning with the 1880 census. The New York city directory likewise listed his occupation as artist from 1884 to 1891. His Manhattan studio at 160 E. 66th Street first advertised in newspapers in 1882 but only for portraits in oil, pastel, water colors, and crayon. Photography came later, added sometime around 1890 at the E. 60th St. studio which continued until at least 1897. After that year he stopped advertising and by 1901 he had a new address at 157 East 75th Street where he advertised lessons in oil painting, pastel, crayon, and photography. Just two ad boxes above is Flute Instruction (Boehm system) given by an expert flutist at the same address. This marks his change from the fine arts to musical arts.

- -

New York Times
04 October 1912

In the new century, photography was turning popular tastes away from fine art portraits, and now even studio photographers had competition from new inexpensive film cameras that let anyone take a good picture. David Ehrlich moved away from artist/photographer to flute teacher. In the 1910 census only he and his second eldest son, Martin, were recorded as a family unit. By 1912 he had a new address at 519 West 138th St. where he offered flute instruction, moderate rates, pamphlets mailed free. 

It's likely that as Europe went to war in 1914 and then as America joined the allied effort in 1917, Austrian-Americans like Prof. Ehrlich were at pains to avoid any connection with the enemy.
_ _

Although I don't know if Ehrlich worked as a professional musician in New York, I can't say he didn't either. Orchestras and band rosters from this era are very rare and often incomplete in regards to substitutes or transient musicians. Certainly there would have been lots of musical work in New York's theaters for a skilled flutist.

And it's not impossible that Prof. Ehrlich was personally acquainted with the German flute masters Theobald Boehm or Heinrich Friedrich Meyer. It does seem very likely that as a resident of the biggest cultural city in America and a self-promoting portrait artist, Ehrlich made efforts to meet all the flute players of New York and any who passed through on tour.

But I believe the flute was initially only an avocation for Ehrlich, not a profession. His emphasis on fine art portraiture in his early career makes no mention of music until 1901 when he was age 53. I think the pamphlet mentioned in this last advert may have been the start of a more ambitious project.

In 1922, Dayton C. Miller (1866 – 1941), a physicist, astronomer, acoustician, and accomplished amateur flutist, revised Theobald Boehm's 1871 book, The Flute and Flute Playing. In the appendix bibliography was a reference to The History of the Flute, by D. Ehrlich, New York, 107 pages, published in 1921. When Mr. Miller's flute collection was donated to the Library of Congress, it included two flutes identified as coming from David Ehrlich, though not the flute on his photograph.

The Flute and Flute Playing, by Theobald Boehm, 1871
revised by Dayton C. Miller, 1922

Professor David Ehrlich, portrait artist, photographer, and flutist
died in Manhattan on April 3, 1926.
He was not quite 78 years old.

David Ehrlich, self-photograph, circa 1920
Dayton C. Miller flute collection
courtesy of Nancy Toff

This is very belated addition to my story on Prof. David Ehrlich. Back in October 2018 I was contacted by Nancy Toff, the president and archivist of the New York Flute Club, and a music history detective. She was doing research on a piece, Kol Nidre Variations, composed in 1915 by David Ehrlich, which she planned to program for an upcoming concert of flute music by New York Jewish Composers. Having discovered my story about Prof. Ehrlich, she asked for my help with her research into his background.
Nancy thought it very likely that only a Jew could write music on the solemn Yom Kippur prayer.
I was able to offer all the material I had discovered, but in this story I had refrained from speculation on whether he was a Jew because I had no way of finding that detail using the archives available to me. However Nancy had an advantage of being in New York, Ehrlich's hometown. She soon confirmed that Ehrlich was Jewish by finding his grave at the Linden Hill Jewish Cemetery in Queens. She also learned that David’s third son, Jacob, a distinguished chemist, was listed in the 1926 edition of Who’s Who in American Jewry. And amazingly she even managed to track down one of David Ehrlich’s grandchildren, a granddaughter age 91 and living on Long Island. Somehow the family connection to David Ehrlich's life story had been broken many years before, and the family was unaware of his dual career as a photographer and flute player, or even that he was Jewish. An example of how the branches of family trees can sometimes be very brittle.

A closer look at a map of New York City shows that Ehrlich's 1890's address at 160 E. 66th St. was just a block away from the Park East Synagogue, and a short walk to Congregation Emanu-El of New York. Both were established synagogues in his era. It seems certain that Prof. David Ehrlich was always part of New York's Jewish community.
Nancy Toff's article on David Ehrlich and his music was published in the January 2019 newsletter of the New York Flute Club. His composition, Kol Nidre Variations, was performed by flutist, Susan Rotholz, and pianist, Steve Beck, on Sunday, January 13, 2019 at the Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street, New York City. 

Thank you, Nancy, for uncovering more history
about this fascinating musician and photographer.

Business Card for Prof. Ehrlich Flute Studio
(Boehm and Ordinary System)
519 West 138th Street, New York
courtesy of Nancy Toff

David Ehrlich, self-photograph, circa 1920
Dayton C. Miller flute collection
courtesy of Nancy Toff

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday
where sometimes you get to see the photographer.


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