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DECKER, EDGAR

DECKER, EDGAR (18 Feb. 1832-1 Dec. 1905), one of Cleveland's earliest and most prominent photographers, grew up in New York State and was largely self-taught. At 13, he became a clerk in a store, after 7 years managing his own store where he developed an interest in photography. He moved to Cleveland in 1857 and worked in various studios for 2 years before opening his own on Superior St. in 1859, moving it to the more fashionable EUCLID AVE. in 1883. Decker maintained a studio in Cleveland for over 40 years, producing an enormous volume of work that included portraits of old pioneers, lawyers, businessmen, physicians, society women, and families. In 1862 he photographed Cleveland regiments encamped outside the city prior to their involvement in the CIVIL WAR. Decker won many prizes for his portraits of famous statesmen, soldiers, diplomats, and actors and actresses. Among these were 4 presidents--Garfield, Grant, Hayes, and McKinley--as well as Gen. Sheridan. His original photographic portraits were tipped in the book Cleveland, Past and Present; Its Representative Men (1869). Active in photographic societies, in 1887 Decker was elected president of the Natl. Photographic Assoc. His work was continued by his protege GEO. EDMONDSON, who also became a well-known Cleveland photographer. Edmondson acquired Decker's studio at the turn of the century. Decker also served on city council from 1878-82. He married Julia English on 2 Feb. 1857. They had a son, Edgar, Jr. Decker was buried in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY.