Saturday, August 22, 2009

If Peter Platter Pictured Places ...

Peter Platter made photographs in Seymour and vicinity for most of the years between 1861 and his death in 1919 at age 93. In more than 50 years in the business, he must have made many thousands of photographs. His obituary says he worked in all the mediums of his lifetime, from daguerreotypes to "modern" prints of the day. So ...

If Peter Platter pictured plenty of places, where are the pictures of places Peter Platter pictured?

A few show up in the newspapers of the years just before his death. A few have survived in the hands of various collections, including those at the library and those loaned to the library for its digital collection. That accounts for only a few dozen photos and none of the negatives.

Also making photographs during and after Peter Platter's lifetime were his son, Herbert, and a grandson. The grandson, Frank Platter, died in 1949 and hadn't been active in the studio since 1945. A 1950 city directory still lists Platter Studio, and the next directory lists another photographer a block further west on Second Street.

What I really would like to see and make copies from are photos of some of the businesses and street scenes Peter Platter made in his early years. In particular I would like to see the southeast corner of the Chestnut street intersection with Third Street (once Branch Street west of Chestnut) in the 1870s. The US government made photographs as space was being cleared for the new post office in the mid-1910s but surely someone, if not Mr. Platter, made older photos of that intersection. Surely they are not all gone ...

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