Monday, June 17, 2019

Edgar Decker

Photographer: E. Decker
143 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

From Historic Camera website:
E. (Edgar) Decker was born in New York to David and Hannah Van Aken Decker in 1833. His childhood was spent on the family farm and he attended public schools until age 13, when he became a mercantile clerk to help support his family. After seven years, he went into business for himself, enjoying some success as a merchandiser.

After relocating to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1856, Mr. Decker resumed his interest in photography, which began during his years as a teen merchant. He married Julia English in February 1857, and two years' later he felt sufficiently confident enough in his artistic abilities and business prowess to open his own photographic studio at 249 Superior Street, in a partnership with Thomas T. Sweeny.

Mr. Decker's Civil War portraits of Ohio's Western Reserve regiments cemented his reputation as an excellent portrait photographer. He would later photograph famed ornithologist and John James Audubon biographer

Francis Hobart Herrick, Union General Philip Sheridan and Presidents Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, Rutherford B. Hayes, and William McKinley.

By 1870, the successful business was selling 1800 dozen photographs and had expanded to include four assistants. As Mr. Decker's business grew, so too did his need for a larger studio.

After his partnership with Mr. Sweeny ended, he established another successful alliance with gifted retoucher and crayon artist Charles E. Wilber (or Wilbur). The Decker & Wilber Studio, which later moved to 143 Euclid Avenue, became one of the most illustrious portrait galleries in Ohio.

Following Mr. Wilber's retirement, Mr. Decker - whose establishment was renamed simply the Decker Studio - maintained the highest aesthetic and moral standards believing one could not be sacrificed without adversely affecting the other. He was one of the first photographers to infuse humanity into the often austere daguerreotypes and ambrotypes.

He later applied the same uncompromising expertise to his oil crayon and watercolor works, copying, and photographic enlargements. With Mr. Decker's success came increasing professional and civic responsibilities. He became a member, director, and later president of the National Photographic Association, and also served on the Cleveland city council. In 1889, Mr. Decker was awarded the Photographers' Association of America's prestigious Eastman cup for his impressive bromide enlargements.

In July of 1900, failing health forced Mr. Decker into retirement. Thankfully, he left his business in the capable hands of his latest partner George Mountain Edmondson, who was at the time Vice President of the Photographers' Association of America, and would become himself one of the Midwest's finest photographers. Pioneering photographic trailblazer E. Decker died on December 1, 1905.

The single line border on the card at the left dates it at around 1890.

Photographer: E Decker
Cleveland, OH
example from auction site

Considering the style of the card at the left, it was probably done around 1878-1880.

photographer Decker
Cleveland, OH
example from auction site

reverse of card at left

Photographer: The Decker Photo. Co., Nos. 141, 143, 145 and 147 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio.
From the collection of KEN on Flickr

Edgar Decker was at Euclid Avenue in Cleveland after about 1880

Not the one you were looking for? Here's the photographer's INDEX by name. Listed here are all the Cabinet Card photographers of the 19th century found in LOST GALLERY. This is a work in progress. For a look at the original postings go to LOST GALLERY.

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