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Manuscript Group 482
ALBERT F. ZIMMERMAN PHOTOGRAPHS
1865-1938
1 cubic foot



A lifelong resident of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Albert Franz Zimmerman (b. December, 1863, d. March 12, 1938) was a photographer and dealer in photographic supplies who operated Zimmerman's Kodak and Picture Framing Store. He was the son of George Zimmerman and Marie R. (Roller) Zimmerman, both born in Germany. George Zimmerman arrived in Philadelphia at age 12 where he received training as a baker and subsequently established himself as a baker in Williamsport at 655 Franklin Street. George and Marie had eleven children. Albert Franz Zimmerman attended the public schools of Williamsport and was first employed in the photographic business with Godfrey Hess from 1880 until the latter's death in 1903. Hess used wet-plate collodion negatives in his photographic work, and such plates dating from the late 1890s and early 1900s are found in the Zimmerman photograph collection, though by that time, most other professional photographers had switched to the dry-plate system. During this period, Albert attended the Williamsport Business College at night and went into the photography business himself at 148 West Fourth Street in 1904, moving the business to 12 West Fourth Street in 1922. According to his biography, he sold "a complete line of Kodaks, pictures, and picture frames." During his career, Albert Zimmerman continued to live in the family home at 655 Franklin Street, and took many thousands of photographs in Williamsport and its vicinity and was especially interested in documenting Williamsport's past.

Lumbering was of particular interest to him during the years of the lumber boom, which greatly impacted Williamsport. His brother, Edward, became heavily involved in the lumber business from 1885, eventually moving to the Texas-Louisiana field where he became involved in the Lutcher and Moore interests that had been transferred from South Williamsport. Edward Zimmerman formed a partnership with J.A. Bentley and together they built a lumbering fortune valued at $10 million by the time of Edward's death. Upon, his brother's death, Albert found it necessary to spend considerable time at the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria, Louisiana in order to look after these business interests and it is here that he died on March 12, 1938. His body was returned to Williamsport and buried in Wildwood Cemetery.

The collection consists of a large number of glass plate negatives depicting Williamsport and lumbering scenes in various counties in Pennsylvania. Events such as the floods of 1865 and 1889 in Williamsport and the 1911 collapse of the Austin Dam in Potter Counties are recorded, as is the logging industry in Lycoming and Potter Counties. There are also photographs of the West Branch Canal, Eagles Mere, Jersey Shore, boating on the Susquehanna River, rolling stock of the Susquehanna & New York Railroad, and some of the historic buildings in the region. The negatives are glass plates, measuring 5x7, 5x8 and 6.5x8.5, as well as a single 8x10 plate. the 6.5x8.5 plates are a mixture of wet-plate collodion negatives and dry-plate collodion negatives, while the 8x10, 5x8 and 5x7 negatives are dry plates. Several of the plates are damaged--either the emulsion has come off the plate, the plate has cracked or one or more of the corners have broken off the plate. If the plate is damaged, it is noted on the inventory. A very few of the negatives have prints that were made in the 1980s. Apparently these photographs were either purchased by or given to the proprietor of Hoyer's Photo Supply on West 4th Street in Williamsport, and given by him to the Pennsylvania State Lumber Museum in the early 1970s. They were transferred to the Pennsylvania State Archives for safekeeping.




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