April 2, 1906 edition of the Daily Globe states that " Mr.
Mossholder came to this place from Ottawa last month, at which
time he bought out the gallery of Wm. Schwab and commenced business.
He has had very extensive experience in his line and is thoroughly
qualified in every way to produce high grade work in photography.
He has succeeded to a very extensive business - a business in
fact which has surprised the owner and is growing every day,
all of which is evidence of the fact that he understands his
business and that his work is appreciated by a discriminating
David Mossholder was born May 11, 1872 in Minerva, Stark County,
Ohio. He was one of at least seven children born to David and
Rebecca Wolfe Mossholder. His where abouts immediately prior
to coming to Shelby are not known beyond the "Ottawa"
comment in the above Daily Globe article. We can assume that
this refers to the town of Ottawa in Putnam Co., Ohio. William
and Isabelle McClurg Fowler and their family were living in Ottawa
at the time of the 1900 Federal Census. Their daughter Laura
Belle was married to Bert Mossholder on March 13, 1901.
occured in their life for the next 5 years is not known at this
time, however it must have involved photography. In 1906, Bert
aquired a photo studio from William Schwab. It was located in
room 6 on the second floor of the Brickley Building in Shelby,Ohio.
The Mossholders were living at 61 1/2 West Main Street in 1908
and moved to Whitney Ave. by 1910 with a studio on North Broadway.
By 1914 they were living at 91 North Broadway and had a studio
at 14 S. Gamble Street. It appears that Bert and Laura never
had any children.
Mossholders' arrival in Shelby meshes nicely with the history
and evolultion of post cards. In December 1901 the U. S. Government
first allowed the use of the words "Post card" to be
printed on the undivided back of privately printed cards. Previously
the U. S. Government issued pre-stamped postal cards and only
the government was allowed to use the word "postcard"
on the back of postcards. Private printers could use the term
souvenir card or mail card. Writing messages was not permitted
on the address side of the card until 1907. Any correspondence
had to be written on the "face" of the card.
Schwab - c. 1905 - 1906
that the "message" was written on the face of this
William Schwab post card. It was never post marked and so was
probably sent inside a letter envelope.
- c. 1907
March of 1907 the divided back post card allowed the message
or writing to be placed in the area to the left of the dividing
line on the back of the post card. These changes in the law will
allow us to better date some of the post cards from this era.Most all Mossholder Shelby post cards are of the divided
back variety and we would be very interested to see any that
are labeled Mossholder with an undivided back.
1906 Daily Globe article continues" During the past few
months he has turned out over 40, 000 post card photos, while
his work in regular lines is satisfactory in every way".
During his period photography work in Shelby, it is his photo
post cards that are the most numerous examples of his work. They
document everyday life that was encountered in Shelby from 1906
until the mid to late teens. He did a series on the 1913 flood,
band parades, the military reunion parades, Camp Shelby Civil
War Veteran encampments, formal portraits of families and individuals,
as well as novelty items.
post card format was an ideal way for families to communicate
and share their celebrated events with friends and family near
and far. Bert's post cards did that very well!
Shelby Aug. 1907
Shelby Aug. 1907
Day Aug. 1912
the variety of ways that the title or subject of the above cards
was displayed. The flood photo was labeled in hand writing at
the bottom of the picture. The first Camp Shelby photo was labeled
at the bottom with a printed, probably stamped method. The second
Camp Shelby was stamped within a banner style label. The Shelby
Day card has a hand lettered label within a roughly made banner
at the bottom.
the above post cards are of the divided back variety. However
Mossholder sometimes used different labeling on the back. The
earlier Camp Shelby cards were labeled "Made by Mossholder's
Studio Shelby, Ohio" (see below). Later cards generally
were labeled as the lower example shown below. Perhaps this difference
is due to the changing times or possibly it merely denotes the
fact that Mossholder Studio produced the card from a supplied
photo and in the second instance, the photo was both taken and
produced by Mossholder.
backs of the Camp Shelby (early 1907 - late 1907) era.
backs typical of the late 1907 - 1915 era.
the 1907 period, interest in post cards was exploding all across
the country. It is estimated that the printing of photo postcards
was doubling every 6 months. The U.S. Post Office estimates that
over 600 million post cards were mailed in 1908. Not all of Mossholder's
cards were labeled. Coupled with the fact that photgraphers from
Mansfield, Shiloh, Galion and other places were taking photos
of events and places in Shelby and selling them, greatly adds
to the difficulty in identifying an unlabeled post card.
have used props in their work almost as long as photography has
been in existance. As the practice grew in popularity, photographers
began to offer a wide variety of backdrops and settings for use
in the photo session. A study of these props can be very helpful
in determining the origin of an unmarked photo.
courtesy of the Shelby Museum
the chair that Bert is sitting in. It was a familiar prop used
in literally thousands of his studio portraits. Many Shelby postcards
of the 1907 - 1914 era, that are not marked Mossholder, can be
identified by some of the props that he commonly used.
pictures with the "chair" c. 1907
addition to the booming post card business, Bert Mossholder also
produced a wide range of more formal photographs. Returning to
the Daily Globe 1906 article: " He does all his own enlarging,
makes all his own bromides, sepias, water colors and is able
to produce anything from a photo button to a life sized portrait.
He has the latest thing out in a button photo - a novelty by
the way which can only be appreciated by being seen. He carries
the very latest things in mounts of all kinds and is able to
satisfy any taste, no matter how exacting it may be. He makes
a specialty of baby pictures and has a well earned reputation
in this line. We might add that his equipment is first class
in every way, and this fact has made it easy for him to do the
highest class of work with the minimum amount of labor."
courtesy of the Shelby Museum
of the larger, more format Mossholder studio pictures is one
that was taken of the Shelby High School Basketball team of 1913.
The picture (with mounting) measures 11.75 by 9.75 inches. Note
the embossed marking in the lower right corner.
courtesy of the Shelby Museum
example of his photography, this time an outdoor subject: The
winner of the Shelby Fancy Decorated Window Contest on Labor
Day 1911. The A. H. Anderson Dry Goods store was located at 84
- 86 West Main Street. This picture is a rather standard size
(including mounting) of 14 by 12 inches.
that Mossholder's marking is embossed at the lower right corner
of the mounting just as in the girls' basketball photo. This
embossed "B D Mossholder" was used on most of his larger
Studio c. 1913 - 1915
courtesy of the Shelby Museum
1913 the Mossholder Studio was located at 14 South Gamble, (directly
south of the Mickey Building). The above photo was taken standing
in the intersection of Main and Gamble streets facing south.
To the left, on the SE corner, is the H. L. Crowell Rexall Drug
Store. On the right, on the SW corner in the Mickey Building,
is the New York Store run by Mrs. E. W. Sanger. Further to the
right is the Hart & Patrie Grocery. Looking down South Gamble
(on the west side) the bell tower of the Methodist church can
be seen in the distance. Just below the bell tower can be seen
part of a sign that advertises the Mossholder Studio at 14 S.
Gamble. Just beyond the studio is the Rice Motorcycle and Bicycle
have just acquired a significant Mossholder photo (below). It
was taken c. 1912 - 1913 and shows the Mossholder Studio at 14
S. Gamble St. It was as described and shown immediately above,
however this is a front on view that gives a better idea of his
working place while he was engaged in photographing many of his
Shelby scenes and portraits
sign on the right side of the building is the same as shown on
the previous photo. A. C. Norton's shoe repair shop is now located
at 16 South Gamble, moving into Rice's Motorcycle and Bicycle
Garage (see above description).
the photo gives us a window into the 100 year past. It appears
that the ceiling light fixtures were gas or have been recently
adapted to electricity. The wall fixture shows the probable presence
of a gas shut off valve that may have been converted to a switch
enlargement seems to confirm a gas valve on the wall fixture
and clearly shows two of the prop chairs that were so well used
in many Mossholder studio portraits. The foreground holds two
portraits displayed in the window for potential customers. More
photos are displayed on the hanging wall shelf beyond the hat
or clothes pole (behind the oval portrait in the fore ground).
It isn't clear if the dark area to the right is a wall hanging
or perhaps the doorway to a studio in the back portion of the
building. Wouldn't it be nice to know the two subjects in the
next group of four cards are the reverse sides of the cards shown
above. Note that post card number one is one of the earlier Mossholder
cards labeled "Made by Moss holder's Studio". Post
card number two is the very same image but it has been colorized
and it has no reverse labeling that would attribute it to any
photgrapher. Post cards numbers 3 and 4 have obviously used the
same number one image however the reverse of these cards are
labeled as follows:
3: "Published by the Shelby Souvenir Post Card Co., Shelby,
O. Made in Germany."
4: "Made in Germany Published by Shelby Post Card Co., Shelby,
appears from this set of cards that perhaps Mr. Mossholder made
arrangements to have his original post card colorized and manufactured
in Germany and the cards were then attributed to The Shelby Souvenir
Post Card Co. or The Shelby Post Card Co. It will be interesting
to see if this pattern is followed by other post cards in the
series that were attributed to these same two companies. Perhaps
all were originally produced at the Mossholder Studio and there
exisits a real photo card for each of the cards in the colorized
approximately 10 to 11 years in the Shelby area making 100,000s
of pictures, Bert and Laura Mossholder moved from the Shelby
area. In 1920 they were living in Lake Twp., Wood County, Ohio.
Bert was employed in a factory as an electrician. In 1930 they
have moved on to Fremont, Sandusky County, Ohio and Bert is a
distributor of dairy products. Bert passed away in Fremont, Ohio
in January of 1948 and his wife Laura Belle followed in 1952.
They are buried in the Gibsonburg West Union cemetery in Madison
Twp., Sandusky County, Ohio.
having further information about Bert and Laura Mossholder please
contact us at the Shelby Museum. We would be happy to hear of
their marriage and life prior to coming to Shelby.
thanks to the kindness of Janet Mehling of the Sandusky County
Chapter of The Ohio Genealogical Society we have more information re. Bert and Laura Belle
Mossholder. After learning that they were buried in the West
Union cemetery in Gibsonburg, we contacted the Sandusky County
Chapter to see if the Sandusky or Fremont papers may have published
an obituary for either Bert or Laura Belle. Janet Mehling responded
immediaely to tell me that there was a copy of their obits at
the RB Hayes website and she would be happy to visit the local
branch and obtain a copy for us, which she did. The obits that
she sent record that Bert was employed at the Case Corporation
the last six years prior to his death and that he was born on
March 11, 1872 in Minerva, Stark County, Ohio. On March 13, 1901
he married Laura Belle Fowler of Cairo, Ohio.
was no mention of children in the obits and so based on census
records, it can still be assumed there were none. Also there
was no mention of the fact that Bert and Laura Mossholder spent
at least 10 years of their life in Shelby, Ohio helping to preserve
many of our memories of 100 years ago. We appreciate that fact!
you Janet for your response to our email query. The internet
is a terrific resource that is made so much more useful when
combined with wonderfully helpful people like you. The Sandusky
County Chapter "Sandusky County Kin Hunters" web address
has also supplied additional Mossholder family information. Jerry's
grandfather was Otto Erastus Mossholder who was 2nd cousin to
Bert Mossholder. Bert and Otto's common ancestors were John and
Johanna Stumph Mossholder. John was born in Germany c. 1750 and
came to America and initially settled in Cumberland County, Pa.
where he met and married Johanna Stumph c. 1770 in Cumberland
County. John served in the Revolutionary War and raised a family
of 12 children. They died in Brother's Valley Township, Somerset
County, Pa. Many of their children moved on west into Ohio and
on to Wisconsin.
you have questions or if you would like more information, please