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Gustav Cramer Collection

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Identifier: P0226

Title: Gustav Cramer Collection

Description: Gustav Cramer (1838 – 1914) immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1859 and set up a photographic studio in Carondelet. After a brief period of service in the Union Army he returned to St. Louis in 1866 and entered a partnership with Julius Gross that lasted until 1880. Cramer then entered a partnership with N. Norden to produce a recent photographic invention, photographic dry plates. Cramer ended the partnership with Norden in 1883 and incorporated the Cramer Dry Plate Works shortly thereafter. His firm was a major national supplier of dry plates. Cramer, affectionately known as “Papa”, was prominent in both St. Louis and national photographic circles. The Gustav Cramer Collection contains approximately 60 glass plate photographic negatives by Cramer, a memorial photograph album by J.C. Strauss, a promotional book of photos taken with Cramer dry plate negatives, a set of four portraits of Cramer by photographers J.C. Strauss and F.A. Rinehart of Omaha, Nebraska, and modern exhibition prints from the negatives. The glass negatives, mostly of family members, were made between 1874 and about 1882. Subjects include: Ernst Cramer; boy on a tricycle; family groups; Adolf Cramer; child with rocking horse; boys posed in boat; Josephine Cramer; Gustav Cramer. The memorial photograph album, inscribed "To Mama, From Juli," (To Mrs. Gustav Cramer from Julius C. Strauss) contains 20 photographs of Cramer including portraits, photographs of gatherings including Cramer and Strauss at Strauss’s studio, “Growlery” Rathskeller, photographer groups including Cramer both inside and outside the Strauss studio, and outings with Strauss, Cramer, and their cronies. The last photograph shows the mausoleum in which Cramer was buried and floral tributes including one in the shape of a camera. The bound volume is titled "Gems from the Prize Exhibit of G. Cramer Dry Plate Works, St. Louis, Convention P.A. of A., 1894" and was printed in St. Louis by C.B. Woodward Company using the chemigraph process. It contains a selection of about 30 halftone images mostly of portraits taken by identified photographers. The four portraits of Cramer include one by Strauss and three by Rinehart. The Strauss photogravure portrait shows Cramer and his wife seated in an automobile; the automobile and clothing are drawn in pen. The three Rinehart portraits, photographs with gouache watercolor, show Cramer in three different guises: as a bishop, captioned “Seine Eminenz, Bishof v. Cramer"; as a minstrel, captioned “Uncle Joe”; and as a German officer, complete with a German military helmet (Pickelhaube).

Rights: UND


Dates: ca. 1870 - ca. 1937

Type(s): Collection

Maker/Creator: Gustav Cramer (St. Louis); J.C. Strauss (St. Louis); Rinehart



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