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San Antonio Collectors and Their Collections

January 19, 2015

By the 1920s collecting as a hobby was becoming commonplace in San Antonio.  It was no longer just a pursuit for the wealthy, but for anyone with the time to acquire objects and a place to store them.  Local newspapers discovered this activity as a good subject for an occasional brief feature, usually accompanied by a photograph.  Some of the collectors were prominent citizens who acquired museum-quality objects with the intention of someday sharing them with the public.  But most were ordinary people who gathered inexpensive items purely for their own satisfaction.

These are some of those photographs, dating from the 1920s to the 1960s, that were taken by the San Antonio Light newspaper photographers.   All are included in our San Antonio Light Photograph Collection (MS 359).

 

Gillie Turk with her collection of thermometer keys from each of the 46 cities in 38 states that she has visited, October 1939  (MS 359:  L-2258-D)

Gillie Turk with her collection of thermometer keys, keepsakes from each of the 46 cities in 38 states that she has visited, October 1939 (MS 359: L-2258-D)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles O. Neumann, photographer and avocational entomologist, stands with cases of insects that he began collecting at age ten, December 1936.  (MS 359:  L-1521-B)

Charles O. Neumann, photographer and avocational entomologist, stands with cases of insects that he began collecting at age ten, December 1936. (MS 359: L-1521-B)

 

Mrs. Albert Friedrich rings two bells from her collection composed of over a 100 examples from all over the world, many purchased during her travels, April 1940.  (MS 359:  L-2435-C)

Mrs. Albert Friedrich holds two bells from her collection of over a 100 from all over the world, many purchased during her travels, April 1940. (MS 359: L-2435-C)

 

Mrs. Ernst Schuchard examines a ceramic duck figurine from the collection in her home on King William Street, February 1942.  (MS 359:  L-2907-G)

Mrs. Ernst Schuchard examines a ceramic duck figurine from the collection in her home on King William Street, February 1942. (MS 359: L-2907-G)

 

Bob Grimsinger in his “home arsenal” with guns he began collecting after inheriting an antique one, July 1941.

Bob Grimsinger in his “home arsenal” with guns he began collecting after inheriting an antique one, July 1941.

 

Mildred Fields with examples of the many bottles she has collected since she began the hobby at age ten, November 1937.  (MS 359:  L-1696-F)

Mildred Fields with examples of the many bottles she has collected since she began the hobby at age ten, November 1937. (MS 359: L-1696-F)

 

Thomas J. Mullihan plays a Stradivarius from his collection of 125 violins, most located by listening for violin music as he traveled along local streets, September 1925.  (MS 359:  L-0394-N)

Thomas J. Mullihan plays a Stradivarius from his collection of 125 violins, mostly located by listening for violin music as he traveled along local streets, September 1925. (MS 359: L-0394-N)

 

Vennette Hamel, manager of Schaper’s Food Market, dusts collection of souvenir plates in her home on East Schley Street, January 1954.  (MS 359:  L-4639-C)

Venettie Hamel, manager of Schaper’s Food Market, dusts a collection of souvenir plates that has overtaken a room in her home on East Schley Street, January 1954. (MS 359: L-4639-C)

 

Mary Templeton stands in a specially-built room to house her collection of over 1500 pitchers, primarily gifts from friends or tradesmen, August 1941.  (MS 359: L-2807-B)

Mary Templeton stands in a specially-built room to house her collection of over 1500 pitchers, primarily gifts from friends or tradesmen, August 1941. (MS 359: L-2807-B)

 

Henry Willis displays some of the Coca-Cola bottles from his large collection, each embossed with the name of a different city where the drink was bottled, August 1939.  (MS 359:  L-2224-G)

Henry Willis displays some of the Coca-Cola bottles from his large collection, each embossed with the name of a different city where the drink was bottled, August 1939. (MS 359: L-2224-G)

 

Mrs. A. L. Ernst sits next to her display of 155 pairs of salt and pepper shakers, most given to her by friends, December 1940.  (MS 359:  L-2626-C)

Mrs. A. L. Ernst sits next to her display of 155 pairs of salt and pepper shakers, most of them  gifts from friends, December 1940. (MS 359: L-2626-C)

 

L. Harold Shugart, shipping clerk at the Texas Company, with his collection of mechanical advertising pencils, some with a sample of the company product mounted in the top, January 1941.  (MS 359:  L-2645-G)

L. Harold Shugart, shipping clerk at the Texas Company, with his collection of mechanical advertising pencils, some with a sample of the company product mounted in the top, January 1941. (MS 359: L-2645-G)

 

Mrs. Sam Fields with baskets made of various materials and from countries around the world, February 1941.  (MS 359:  L-2672-J)

Mrs. Sam Fields with baskets made of various materials and from countries around the world, February 1941. (MS 359: L-2672-J)

 

Monroe Nowotny, taxidermist, holds a rock in the shape of a dog and another in the shape of a rose from his collection, weighing 40 tons, that he intends to install in his own museum, March 1948.  (MS 359:  L-3532-C)

Monroe Nowotny, taxidermist, holds a rock in the shape of a dog and another in the shape of a rose from his collection, weighing 40 tons, that he intends to install in his own museum, March 1948. (MS 359: L-3532-C)

 

Fire Chief J. G. Sarran poses with his antique weapons, hunting trophies, and an assortment of odd curios that are displayed in his special room that is reminiscent of the European Wunderkammer (“wonder-room”), November 1932.  (MS 359: L-0332-F)

Fire Chief J. G. Sarran poses with his antique weapons, hunting trophies, and an assortment of odd curios that are displayed in a special room that is reminiscent of the European Wunderkammer (“wonder-room”), November 1932. (MS 359: L-0332-F)

 

Marion Koogler McNay stands next to a self-portrait of Paul Gaugin, one of the many significant works of art in her home that later became the McNay Art Museum, May 1942.  (MS 359:  L-2953-C)

Marion Koogler McNay stands next to a self-portrait of Paul Gaugin, one of the many significant works of art in her home that later became the McNay Art Museum, May 1942. (MS 359: L-2953-C)

 

Robert L. B. Tobin, a major collector of theater arts, shows some of his rare volumes, etchings, and engravings, later housed in the Tobin Wing of the McNay Art Musuem, April 1963.  [MS 359:  L-6076-D]

Robert L. B. Tobin, a major collector of theater arts, shows some of his rare volumes, etchings, and engravings, later housed in the Tobin Wing of the McNay Art Musuem, April 1963. [MS 359: L-6076-D]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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