I know, I know. In my recent fifth anniversary commemoration I cautioned that I would not be making as many blog entries moving forward. Yet here I am, with my third post in as many weeks. But I simply had to share this with all of you. This week, I received in the mail an enormous box of history. Descendants of the Vischer and Tripp families, who now live outside of Ohio, decided that some of their family keepsakes needed to come home to Wellington. The package was an absolute treasure trove of books, photographs and small objects. Many items pertain directly to the Tripp and Vischer families in the early twentieth century, and so are outside the immediate scope of my historical knowledge. But the images are so wonderful and unique that I include them here regardless.
William Bentley Vischer (1863-1948) owned a piano and organ store on the south side of Liberty Street, what we now call West Herrick Avenue. The ghostly remnants of his painted advertisement are still visible on the west side of the mansard roof. William was married to Carrie Anne Tripp Vischer (1861-1940). Carrie’s father was well-known carriage manufacturer and early Wellington mayor Edward S. Tripp. But she is known in her own right as the author of “History of Wellington,” delivered as a public address and later printed as a special insert in the Wellington Enterprise in 1922.
Some of the most wonderful objects in the collection are five ferrotypes, also known as tintypes. Ferrotypes are a kind of photographic image created without the use of a negative. A thin sheet of metal was coated with a chemical emulsion layer, and an image was then exposed directly onto the metal. All of these examples have rough, uneven edges and no cases. Two are inscribed that they were taken at the “Wellington Fair,” and given their overall similarities, I have to wonder if all five were.
The next object is also metal, though not a photograph. I have never seen anything like it. It is a small metal card, in a paper envelope addressed to “Mr. and Mrs. S. D. Terry.” Sidney D. Terry (1849-1922) and his wife, Mary E. Terry (1849-1940) are buried in Greenwood Cemetery. The card itself is a metal invitation to a party, a tenth wedding anniversary party to be precise. The tenth is the “tin” anniversary in popular tradition, and the metal card fits that theme. Though the reflective metal is difficult to scan or photograph, it reads: “1868. 1878. Mr. & Mrs. F. W. Bennett, Request Your Presence At the Tenth Anniversary of their Wedding, Friday, October 4, 1878, at Eight O’Clock.”
These last two images are both of children. One is a photograph of Sadie Vischer by William Sawtell, the other an unidentified toddler taken by someone called Saunders. I find them both unusual–and terribly sweet. Sadie Vischer has a lovely dog in her image, which must have been very well behaved to sit perfectly still for the exposure time of the portrait. The toddler (possibly named George) is digging into a waste paper basket and surrounded by a floor of crumpled sheets, a perfectly ordinary daily scene that I have never seen reproduced in a nineteenth-century photograph.
I am so grateful to the family custodians who have preserved these marvelous glimpses into the past. I hope you have enjoyed looking at them as much as I have. I will be donating the materials to the local history collection of the Herrick Memorial Library, so that the family’s generosity may be shared by all.
Herrick Memorial Library is very grateful to you for the donation, as well as the explanations and descriptions of the various items! We will work on getting these into the collection as soon as we can, and on making [probably digitized] versions available for the public to examine.
Hurray for public libraries!!!
Have to check about the Saunders picture- may be relative
Hi, I have a few stereoscopic views by J.B. Clark of Cardington Ohio, whose friend was William Vischer, William even sang at his funeral in the early 1900’s. But sometime in the 1870s to 1880s, J.b. Clark took the views I have, of Mr.Vischer at his residence, and also of a building called Baldwin laundon & Co. I’m researching what I can before using these in a booklet or book regarding Mr. Clarks Stereoscopic views, etc. I have seen that Mr.Vischer used some of the Clark photo’s that feature his children in marketing for the Estey Organ. Any insight into this or more photo’s for the project would be greatly appreciated.
Aaron, how interesting! Baldwin, Laundon & Co. went through many (subtly) different names over a period of decades. The store was located in an enormous Italianate building on the southwestern corner of Wellington’s principal intersection, what are today Main Street and Herrick Avenue. The building burned in a fire in 1900. (See the blog post from October 2013 entitled, “Fire! Fire! Fire!”)
Should also have mentioned that I would love to see the images. Please let me know when your publication is available.
Hi, Send me your contact information. I just found your reply. Aaron