The American Photographer Frederick F. Gutekunst Jr. of Philadelphia (1831-1917) was a favored photographer by the East Coast Elite and even celebreties. The Civil War generals came, Ulysses S. Grant, George Meade, Winfield Scott Hancock, James Longstreet, and William T. Sherman. His sitters included Walt Whitman, Lucretia Mott, Thomas Eakins, A. J. Drexel, John D. Lankenau, William McKinley, Grover Cleveland, Carl Schurz, William Cullen Bryant, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Woodrow Wilson. He photographed all the eminent soldiers of the Civil War and was on the field at Gettysburg ten days before Mathew Brady.
Gutekunst was as much artist as businessman and on a visit to Germany in 1878 he purchased the rights for the Phototype process. One year later upon a visit to Philadelphia J.H. Fitzgibbons, the editor of the St. Louis Practical Photographer, noted that Gutekunst was manufacturing thousands of prints every day. Eventually, this new factory needed to move out of Arch Street and up to 813 Girard Ave (near Susquehanna Ave) where a staff of forty under the supervision of the engraver, Mr. James P. Harbeson, kept up with demand for reproduction for publications, etc. Girard Ave was a perfect location for this endeavor since this part of Philadelphia was more industrial and less retail than Arch Street.
Just Remember is a story of photographs found at a flea market and a vendor named Lizzy. It was later during the last time I saw her that this photograph was discovered. Lizzy was too busy to talk. She told me I could look in some unopened storage containers. I remember Lizzy chasing away another guy because he didn't ask her permission to look. She said she let me look because I treat her like a lady. Lizzy opened a container and handed me this photo. She told me to take it. I made her an offer but she would not take it until I asked her to please accept it. She smiled and turned telling me she's too busy and will see me again.
So who is this man in the photograph?
words and pictures by roman blazic_all rights reserved