I grew up hearing stories about “Uncle Grabner” but until I started digging into our family history, I wasn’t exactly sure who this guy was. Turns out that Ferdinand Grabner and his wife, Katherine Pauli, were my great great grandparent’s best friends. The family legend was that Uncle Grabner had sent a photo of Sophie Scheuer to Ernest Taeuffer suggesting he marry her and that Ernest moved to California to do so. It makes a good story, but turns out it cannot have been true. The truth is that the two families were inseparable throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries and that they remained close friends even after the Grabners moved out of Healdsburg in the late 1920s.
George Eastman pretty much created amateur photography when, in 1888, he introduced the Kodak #1 camera to the world. This camera was sold pre-loaded with a roll of film. Once film had been exposed, the entire camera was returned to the factory in Rochester to be processed. The camera would be refilled with new film and returned to the owner while they waited for their prints. But when the economical “Brownie” camera came out at the turn of the 20th Century, the hobby exploded in popularity. Continue reading