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Part Two-Help Me Identify Texas 1800’s Glass Negatives

2011 June 27
by Jan Wilkinson

Here are more of my photo treasures from three boxes of glass negatives found in an old home being torn down near Kerrville in the late 1960’s.

It is quite something to see, between each negative is scrap paper printed in German from a newspaper or magazine, I believe most were taken in Texas, one in Comfort, Texas, one of the Alamo, one out of the Capital building looking down Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, some unidentified buildings, homes, people and stores.

I am hoping to find out who and where these pictures were taken. I don’t know the photographer, but thought someone might know and look forward to your help. UPDATE: Thank you to all that have been out there finding these locations!


Glass plate negative owned by

Southwestern Insane Asylum

Glass plate negative owned by

Unknown store believe to be downtown San Antonio, Texas

Glass plate negative owned by

Lady shoppers in general store; look like same ladies as soda shoppe believe to be downtown San Antonio, Texas


Glass plate negative owned by

Thanks to Joe Herring, I now know it is located at 335 4th Street, Comfort, Texas.  Thanks to Irene Van Winkle for telling me this is the Faltin (August) House, designed by Albert Beckman, son-in-law of Alfred Giles, in 1894 and finished in 1895.  In 1981, received Texas Historic Landmark and has received National Landmark status.  (Remember glass negatives are a mirror image of the subject not backwards)

Glass plate negative owned by

Notice the new city sewer system pipe to be installed. Wonder what town? Update! Thanks to Lanza Teague we know it is the Carl Harnisch house, built in 1884, located at 523 King William Street, San Antonio, Texas. Notice: all glass negatives are a mirror image.

Glass plate negative owned by

I love the gingerbread on the porches! San Antonio, Texas

Glass plate negative owned by

The Fort Sam Houston Quadrangle, built by George Henry Griebel, is the oldest structure at Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas. Clock installed in tower in 1870.

Glass plate negative owned by

Late 1800’s photo of bleachers at Ft. Sam Houston San Antonio Texas


Glass plate negative owned by

Possibly Fort Sam Houston San Antonio Texas parade grounds with bicycles


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8 Responses Post a comment
  1. December 4, 2018

    Thank you Tom for offering to read the pages; hopefully, I will have some time in 2019 to put them together for you to read. Again, thank you for visiting. Jan

  2. Tom Sieger permalink
    December 3, 2018

    If you will send pictures of the pages written in German, I will translate them for you. Perhaps we will find more information there.

    [email protected].

  3. March 3, 2012

    I look forward to seeing your photos!!

  4. Belinda permalink
    February 21, 2012

    Actualy we are working on a historical photographic coffee table book. And a few other ideas to market the photo’s we have. They are full of historical content.
    my husband and I work in he printing industry and have been working on research for quite some time. I finaly found a scanner that would pick up all the detail using a back light in the scanner. we have tried contact paper but this method was not verry clear.
    I lost all my scans and lucky for me had backed up everthing to CD’s
    will let you know when we have a copy to share.


  5. February 20, 2012

    Thanks for your info and help Belinda! I would love to see some of your photos, too. Do you have them on Flickr or Facebook or a blog? It is fun to preserve a little history. Jan

  6. Belinda permalink
    February 20, 2012

    I think you can get help with this by going to the University of Texas San Antonio.
    Historical Photographic Department.

    We took a large number of our photo’s and they identified many landmarks in the San Antonio area for us, some we would have never figured out but they new exactly what
    these places where.

    During the late 1800’s and early 1900’s two gentalmen were taking photo’s as a hobby
    and selling little books of 10 photo’s to tourist. Might be some of the work they produced.

    We have many of the same shots I see on your website.

    An old family friend gave us over 200 Glass photo’s in wood box’s that are dated and labeled.
    She lived in San Antonio and her Father was the photogropher, Birdsong is his last name.

    We purchased a scanner used for negatives from Fry’s and have been scanning in order to catalog each photo.

    Also we went to San Antonio and visited DRT Library next to the Alamo, they have a collection from the same photogropher ours are from.

    One other source is the White Museum in San Antonio.

    Good luck in your quest to preserve a little history.

  7. Diane permalink
    June 30, 2011

    These pictures are wonderful. I kept thinking that this or that seemed so familiar. Then I realized that I have probably seen these at your house! They look really good on the web-site – amazing what technology can do. Talk to you soon! Diane

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