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Source: NMHS Newsletter May 1995
Early Photography in North Manchester
by Dr. L. Z. Bunker
Daguerreotypes ranged in size from less than an inch -
meant to be inserted into lockets and pocket watches to
the largest the author has seen which were five by six.
The small ones had no cases. Groups were uncommon but
one of the large ones I saw was of a family and its
slave and the other a small school class of about a half
dozen pupils. The average daguerreotype was two by three
inches; some larger were three by four.
The metal sheet was enclosed in an imprinted
gutta-percha box lined with red or orange velvet and
fastened on one side with metal hinges and on the other
with a brass hook and eye. I have never seen one with a
makers name, patent mark or identification. It is almost
impossible to date them. They continued to be made long
after they were succeeded by ambrotypes and wet plates.
But most genuine daguerreotypes date to the 1870's.
Early Photographers in North Manchester
C. E. Crill was an active photographer in this town in
the first decade of the 1900's. He had a small studio on
West Main Street. He was especially interested in
panoramic views and was said to have climbed into trees,
scaled the steeple of the Lutheran church and into third
story attics to get photos of trains, circus parades and
Decoration Day exercises or other town activities. The
family was crushed by the death of a little daughter
from a childhood disease. They believed she might have
been saved by more advanced medical treatment in a
metropolitan center and soon moved to Detroit. There Mr.
Crill soon became a prominent industrial photographer.
We have one early (maybe l880's) print marked "g. Rice,
photographer Mill St. N. Manchester, IN." No information
has been found about this person and we don't know if he
might have been Arthur Rice's father. He is not buried
around here. Arthur Rice was a painstakingly careful
workman. He spared no time or effort to get a good
result. He must have had a way with children. The studio
walls were covered with enchanting little faces as
opposed to the stubborn and sulky faces in some studios.
He took pictures of newlyweds, graduating classes,
soldiers going to World War I and World War II, groups
at Manchester College and anyone who wanted their
features recorded in time.
Mr. Rice's "Big Four" passenger train crossing the Eel
River bridge was the perennial souvenir postcard of the
community for many years but he did not often do
Lozier Rice followed his father's footsteps and turned
out careful workmanlike pictures. His pictures included
funeral pictures of corpses in coffins. I've never seen
others do that here but it is very frequently done in
the south. When he closed the studio he was succeeded by
Jim Brown. He died in 1968.
We should give a kind thought to the solitary artists
who worked to preserve the visages of our forebears.
Perhaps others can add to this information.