MS 454 - Edward Bronson Photograph Collection (Defiance, Ohio)
|Title||MS 454 - Edward Bronson Photograph Collection (Defiance, Ohio)|
The Edward Bronson Photograph Collection consists of 798 photographic prints (1.5 linear feet) from original large format negatives produced by Bronson between 1906 and 1949 in Defiance, Ohio.
The negatives were loaned for duplication to the Center for Archival Collections during 1984-1985 from the Defiance Public Library, through the cooperation of Jane Small, Director. The original negatives and a full set of contact prints are maintained at the Public Library in Defiance. This register was prepared by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts, Center for Archival Collections, May, 1989. No restrictions exist on the the use of this collection.
Edward S. Bronson was born May 23, 1873 in Defiance, Ohio, one of three children of Charles E. and Mary Thacker Bronson. Edward received an education in the Defiance Public Schools and followed a course of study in business at The Defiance College.
One of Bronson's early interests was in the theater, including producing amateur plays and organizing a local amateur group, the "Oriole Specialty Company". In 1898, with a few hundred dollars down payment and a loan, Bronson restored and reopened the Defiance Opera House as the Citizen's Opera House, which he managed successfully for 20 years.
Bronson was also a skilled amateur photographer, using a large format panorama camera. His photographs documented events in the community, daily activities, and subjects of personal interest, spanning over forty years.
On June 8, 1895, Bronson married Etta R. Haase, also a native of Defiance, Ohio, whom he met while auditioning characters for one of his theatrical productions. He and his wife had only one child, Mollie, born in 1896.
Bronson became involved in Defiance local politics and was elected mayor in 1916-1917. An active booster of Defiance, he served in that post three more terms, 1928-1929, 1946-1947, and 1948-1949. During his administrations he promoted such projects as the purchase of the Municipal Water Works, improvements to Baltimore and Ohio Railway tracks in Defiance to eliminate grade crossings, and construction of the Defiance High School building and Community Auditorium.
Active in numerous civic organizations, Bronson was a charter member of the Garden Club; organized the Defiance Poultry and Pet Association; President of the Defiance Humane Society; director of the Defiance County Agricultural Society; charter member of the Old Bandsmen's Union; was a member of the English Lutheran Church; organizer and drum major of the Sixth Regiment of Ohio Band; and was a member of the Defiance Elks Lodge.
Edward Bronson died in California, where his daughter Mollie lived, May 27, 1965, at the age of 92.
|Scope and Content|
The Edward Bronson Collection consists of 798 contact prints (5.5 x 14 in.), made from original 10 x 31 cm. negatives. As the work of an amateur photographer active between 1906 and 1949, the collection provides a comprehensive view of the life of Defiance, Ohio through the first half of the twentieth century. The collection has numerous shots of civic activities (such as parades, festivals, and other ceremonies); views of the physical community (street scenes, buildings, groundbreakings, cornerstone laying, construction sites, bridges, and dams); noteworthy events related to floods, fires, political campaigns, or social activities; and scenes of personal interest to the photographer, particularly photographs relating to flowers and gardening.
Some of the more interesting items in the collection include photographs of crowds listening to Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft at the Defiance County Courthouse, May 16 and May 18, 1912; activities and entertainers related to Elks Jubilee Week in Defiance in 1914; scenes from the Fourth Liberty Loan, Victory Liberty Loan, and Red Cross parades during World War I, as well as other community patriotic activities during 1918-1919.
Due the wide angle of view in the negatives created by Bronson's camera, many of the photographs in the collection have a slight degree of distortion or bending in the scene. However, the sharpness and clarity of the pictures is generally quite good, with details that can be enlarged without too much loss of resolution. Most of the photographs have identification, a date, and Bronson's name written on the original negative.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PRINTS. (5.5 x 14 in., b & w)
Box 1Print number
Box 2Print number