For the past few months I have been working with a collection of photographs of various locations in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the mid twentieth century. The collection will be available on our wonderful digital gallery in the future and I’m looking forward to seeing these images uploaded – some of them are really amazing.
I wrote a while ago about Hilah Paulmier and of the trail of documents that led me to verifying her identity. Recently I discovered another photographer who sparked my interest: William M. Van Der Weyde who captured the above image which is part of the Photographic Views of New York City Collection. While working on the images from the rest of New York I found some amazing photographs from Camp Black, a recruitment center for the Spanish-American War, also by Van Der Weyde. I will write again when these are available digitally.
Interested to find any published biographical information on him, I checked the catalog and various other biographical databases only to discover he isn’t a subject heading (though he is an author). After some research I found the 1910 and 1920 census records which list Van Der Weyde as a photographer married to a Katherine, who is also listed as a photographer (I wonder where her photographs are…). He was born South America, his father was Dutch and his mother was a New Yorker. How curious! Well, I found another Van Der Weyde in the process, Pieter Henry Van Der Weyde, a New Yorker and renaissance man of sorts (read his obituary to see what I mean) for whom we have a collection of papers. The collection guide mentioned correspondences with Pieter’s children, one of whom is John Van Der Weyde, a photographer living in Uruguay – ah-ha! While there is so much more I could explore I have to learn where to draw the line. It’s hard though, I still find myself wondering about the mysterious Algot Lange.