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Charles Weidner Biography


l866 - l940 (Credits Liselotte Glozer, David Parry and the grandson of CHARLES WEIDNER

(Robert Weidner)

CHARLES WEIDNER: A San Francisco photographer and postcard publisher, was born in Germany in 1866 and came to the United States around l880. He maintained a photographic studio in San Francisco for many years and began publishing numbered postcards under the imprint of Goeggel & Weidner in 1900. The name Goeggel was dropped from the cards after number 111, around 1903. However, because Weidner printed his own cards to fill demand, identical cards appear with and without the Goeggel imprint, with either divided or undivided backs. 

Weidner published up to 694 numbered cards - the highest number we have located -as well as unnumbered lithographs; a 58 card set of the Panama Pacific International Exposition printed by the Albertype Co. in 1915; and numerous real photo cards, including a set commemorating the visit of the Pacific Fleet to San Francisco, and other locally historic events. Most of his numbered cards were chromolithographs, but he also released black and whites, and several cyanid and sepia cards, as well as several striking embossed (bas relief) cards. Weidner also sold his photographs to other postcard publishers, including Newman, Pacific Novelty and Rieder.

These can sometimes be identified by a cut line that reads "photo only copyright by

Charles Weidner." In addition, his photographs appeared in contemporary books, including Gertrude Atherton's "California, An Intimate History" and at least two books on the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, where the photos are not credited, but easily recognized because Weidner himself had published the same images as postcards. In contradiction to other postcard publishers, Weidner used only his own photographs, and he had them printed by the firms of Louis Glaser in Leipzig and Stengel & Co. in Dresden. Glaser also lithographed many of the Detroit Company's postcards and there is - especially in a series of Yosemite cards - a great visual similarity between Detroit and Weidner cards. Like the late Herb Caen, Charles Weidner could have been called "Mr. San Francisco." He photographed the city with a loving eye: the downtown business district, Golden Gate Park (the caroussel, groups of listeners at

outdoor concerts), hotels, and the picturesque side of Chinatown. The San Francisco views were followed by cards of the outlying districts: Berkeley and the University of California, as well as the now "yuppie" suburbs of Marin County, then dotted with small towns. Regular trips seem to have taken him farther afield: to the orchards of Santa Clara Valley (now known as Silicon Valley), to San Jose, the beaches of Santa Cruz, and wooded Yosemite. After returning to San Francisco he often repeated visits to previously photographed sites. Once he journeyed as far North as the Oregon border and another time he went to the Southland, where he took in the Cawston Ostrich farm, Catalina Island, and other landmarks.

Weidner's pattern of traveling, returning to the city, and then journeying outwards again was only interrupted by a series of cards of the San Francisco earthquake of l906, starting with

number 202 and ending with the number 250.If viewed together, they give the impression of a man relentlessly driven to bequeath to the future a record of the ruined city he had depicted so glowingly before. The earthquake series is followed by 5 chromolitho cards titled: "One year after the fire" and a black and white card titled "Watch San Francisco Grow: Ruins 1906, 1 Year Later, Today" the images arranged like a "Gruss Aus" card. With the outbreak of World War One, chromolitho postcards could no longer be printed in Germany and Weidner tried himself in black and white cards. But the golden age of postcard collecting had come to an end, and with it his publishing career. In his later years, Weidner was a staff photographer at the San Francisco Examiner, Sunset Magazine, and Camera Craft. He died in 1940.

REF: Research on Weidner first published by Liselotte Glozer

NOTICE: This Reference list and information for Charles Weidner is for individual personal use only-Use & Reproduction (Including scans) of this listing for business / links purposes will require Walt's written permission. Links to this page will also require Walt's Permission Please contact Walt at  ""

The Weidner Postcard trimming room

Weidner's family on the beach

Weidner at his desk

This is an example of Weidner's photo cards. It has been found to not be a photo of Weidner

The Weidner Studio

Weidner on a mule

Weidner's darkroom

Copyright Walt Kransky 1989 - 2021

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