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Three generations of Buehmans charted the ebb and flow of life in Tucson and southern Arizona.

For 78 years, three generations of Buehmans chronicled life in Tucson and southern Arizona. They captured the important and the mundane, the historic and the everyday events on glass-plate and nitrate photographic negatives.

Henry Buehman, a native of Bremen, Germany, was 22 when he arrived in Tucson in 1873. He had served a three-year apprenticeship with a German photographer before coming to the United States in 1868, and had worked for two years in a photo studio in San Francisco.

Buehman hung his “shingle’ here as a photographer/dentist, though there are no records indicating he had any formal training in the latter.

In August 1874, he opened a studio with two other individuals, but by the following year he was sole owner of Buehman Studio at Court Street and Maiden Lane. Five months later, he moved to Congress Street, a more prestigious location.

Portraits were his bread and butter, but he ranged throughout southern Arizona, photographing mining operations, landscapes, Native Americans – anything that caught his fancy.

By 1890, Buehman had branched into retail, selling photo equipment, art supplies and prints of famous paintings.

Business was good enough to enable him to buy a ranch and stock it with cattle – a venture that would fail by the mid-1890s because of drought and falling beef prices.

Thereafter, Buehman bought a house in Tucson and continued to operate his studio.

Buehman and his wife, the former Estelle Moorehouse, had two sons. The younger, Albert, followed in his father’s footsteps.

Albert had intended to go into mining, as had his older brother, but when their father died in 1912 and several efforts to sell the studio fell through, he settled into photography.

The 1880 arrival of the railroad and growing mining, industry and tourism provided increased opportunities, and Albert, a shrewd businessman, took advantage of them.

He soon attained a national reputation, and was one of 40 individuals selected from around the country to attend a six-week seminar on the latest in photographic techniques and equipment.

In 1939, Albert moved the studio to 40 E. Broadway.

Prominent in civic affairs, the younger Buehman served in the state House of Representatives in 1917 and 1918 and the state Senate in 1919 and 1920.

In 1939, he was elected president of the Photographers Association of America.

Albert and his wife, the former Ella Doyle, had three sons and a daughter. The middle son, Remick, joined the Marine Corps as a photographer in 1942. He also served during the Korean War, doing aerial photography.

When Albert retired in 1949, Remick took over operation of the business, and emphasized aerial photography.

Remick moved the studio to the 800 block of East Speedway Boulevard and entered into partnership with Hans B. Kurth, renaming the business Buehman-Kurth Studio. The partnership lasted two years. In 1951, Buehman sold the studio to Karl Johnson, who retained the original name.

Less than a year later, Johnson declared bankruptcy, and the Buehman Studio was closed for the final time. Remick, meanwhile, had moved to California.

The works of Henry, Albert and Remick Buehman comprise the largest, and one of the finest, historical photographic collections in the Southwest.

Historical Society offering

book on Buehman Collection

The Arizona Historical Society is offering Tucsonans the opportunity to share in a treasure – the Buehman Collection of photographs, which captured images of Tucson’s and southern Arizona’s history from the 1870s to the 1950s.

Nearly 100 photographs from throughout that time period have been selected by author Evelyn S. Cooper for inclusion in a book titled “The Buehman Studio: Tucson in Focus.’ The book has been published by the Historical Society as a fund-raiser for its Library/Photo Archives Department.

Cooper, director of the Arizona Historical Foundation at Arizona State University and professor of American studies in the Classics Program at Phoenix College, researched each of the photos and included background information on each in the book.

The Buehman Collection includes more than 250,000 glass-plate and nitrate negatives. They are the work of three generations of Buehmans – Henry, son Albert and grandson Remick. Together, they comprise an 80-year dynasty of photographers in Tucson.

The collection was acquired by the society in 1967. The negatives were stored and efforts have been made to preserve them until funds are available to catalog and cross-reference them and make prints for purchase by the public.

The book was made possible by the society’s Southern Arizona Chapter board, which raised $45,000 for the project. Many local businesses, groups and individuals, including the Tucson Citizen, contributed to the project.

Some of the money was used to print 400 hardcover volumes and 1,100 softcover volumes, according to project director Bettina Lyons.

The remaining funds, and those realized from the sale of the books ($50 hardcover, $30 softcover), will further the work of the photo archives department.

The books go on sale Saturday at the society’s 949 E. Second St. location, coinciding with the opening of a new exhibit on the Buehmans.

For information on the collection or the book, call 628-5774.

Photos courtesy of Arizona Historical Society

Elijah M. Reavis (above), a deputy U.S. marshal in early 1870s Tucson, posed with his trusty Winchester rifle.

Steinfeld’s Department Store (right), 31 and 35 N. Stone Ave., featured the finest in European and New York fashions and catered to Tucson’s upper-middle-class women.

Rosa Bustamante (far right), was crowned the 1905 Alianza Queen, a signal honor for young Mexican-American women of the day.

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