MG-281. SAMUEL W. KUHNERT PAPERS, [ca. 1915-1992].

Samuel Wilhelm Kuhnert (1890-1978) was born in Steelton and raised on a farm near Halifax. He ran a photography processing business from his home in Camp Hill and later in Harrisburg. Having a special interest in aviation, he began experimenting in 1919 with aerial photography. Over the following two decades he made and sold aerial views of communities throughout central Pennsylvania. The collection consists of over six thousand photographic prints and negatives, motion picture films, miscellaneous newspaper clippings, and personal and business records. The photographs are arranged alphabetically by subject and grouped into the following categories: aerial views, aircraft, pilots, and miscellaneous (including train, airplane, and automobile accidents and other disasters documented for insurance companies; funerals; a 1936 flood in Harrisburg; a 1932 snowstorm in Camp Hill; and various family portraits). For a more detailed description see the Guide to Photographs at the Pennsylvania State Archives by Linda Ries.


Disasters and Accidents File. Includes many photographs showing African Americans, but most are unidentified. Several African Americans are shown in photographs appearing in a folder labeled "Plane crash."

• One undated photograph shows an African American man dressed in civilian clothing examining the wreckage of an airplane.

• A folder labeled "Single Car Accidents, Unidentified, ca. 1930" contains a photograph showing two African American men and seven African American children among a group of onlookers viewing an overturned car in a creek.

• A folder labeled "Miscellaneous Auto Wrecks" contains a photograph of a newspaper article from [The] Evening [News] dated July 30, 1958. A photograph in the article shows an African American man in a crowd.

• In the folder entitled "Dr. Marshall Murder Prints" there are two photographs of police in a morgue in Media, Pennsylvania, one whom appears to be an African American detective.

• A folder labeled "Executions, Murders, Spooks" contains photographs from El Paso, Texas stamped with the name W. H. Horne, copyright, and the date. One of these is labeled "Bodies of three men lying as they fell after being executed," showing three African Americans or possibly Mexicans. The date of the photograph is Aug. 16, 1919. Another photograph in this folder is of what appears to be a soldier shot in the head, bears the partial label ". . . after the battle" and is dated Aug. 10, 1919.

Pilots File. Includes photographs of Hubert Julian, an African American pilot known as "the Black Eagle."

• There is one picture of Julian standing alone, and a second picture of Julian shaking hands with an unidentified man who is welcoming him to Harrisburg. There are also two pictures of Julian’s plane at an airport in Harrisburg with a crowd of people who came to welcome his arrival. Julian was once the head of the Ethiopian Air Corps with the rank of colonel, Colonel Huberto Juliano.

Building and Structures, Portraits and People File. Contains many photographs of Kuhnert’s family and friends.

• A folder entitled "Photography-Miscellaneous" contains three photographs of what appears to be a baptism ceremony. Two pictures clearly show two African Americans entering a river, believed to be the Susquehanna, and the actual baptism ritual. The third photograph shows the crowd of onlookers that appears to be composed of mixed races.

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