Our archivist, Brent Gulsvig, is excited about a new acquisition at PCHS. Early photographs always capture our attention. Today’s delivery from John Bohmer was six boxes of glass negatives from the E.A. Johnson Studio. Mr. Bohmer also has Johnson’s camera and other studio equipment. Ed Johnson purchased the Martin Nelson photo studio in Brooten in 1910. This was the height of the glass negative era of photography.
“Silver gelatin dry plate negatives replaced wet collodion negatives in the late 1880s and remained in use until the 1920s. Dry plate negatives were more convenient for photographers because they could purchase prepared plates from manufacturers in standard sizes.” L. Wood, Curator for Visual Resources, Ohio Historical Society.
Mr. Bohmer wrote about Ed Johnson in his book, Brooten Characters of the Last Millennium. “In 1913 he [Johnson] expanded his business and made regular trips to Belgrade every Sunday.” Bohmer adds that Johnson commuted by train to take portraits as far west as Hoffman. “Ed was a republican through and through, and would argue with anyone about politics. One day a local man was bugging Ed about politics as they walked down the street, so Ed said ‘I turned around and hit him in the nose and down he went, then I walked away and looked back and there he laid, that damned democrat!’”
We are excited to see the images from this studio collection. Our plan is to scan the negatives and create digital “positive” images. Mr. Bohmer is curious to see who he may recognize. Our preliminary view of the boxes does not include identifications. With John’s help we hope to change that.