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German Marylander took over Goodridge photo studio

During the mid-19th century, Centre Hall was a well-known landmark in downtown York, Pennsylvania. Businessman William C. Goodridge built the five-story edifice in the 1850s to serve his York Emporium retail establishment. The top floor contained skylights where Goodridge’s son Glenalvin practiced the art of photography. Glenalvin was not York’s first commercial photographer but he was one of the most successful before the war. Accused and convicted of a crime, he was sentenced to prison. His father, his fortunes tested by recessions and financial setbacks, and the family moved to Michigan.

Centre Hall came under new ownership and Glenalvin’s studio was rented out. In November 1864, Theophilus Munder, a young German-born photographer from Baltimore, established his main business in the skylight rooms of Centre Hall with another supporting studio nearby in Temperance Hall.

Munder placed ads in the York Gazette announcing his new business. David Small, the Gazette’s editor (and also York’s chief burgess) wrote, “We call the attention of those of our readers wanting ‘counterfeit presentments’ of their forms or faces, to the advertisement of Mr. Theophilus Munder, in another column. We believe Mr. Munder to be an artist who has a thorough acquaintance with his art, and, as such, we recommend him to the public. His galleries are in Centre Hall, Centre Square, and Temperance Hall, North George St. Give him a trial.”

Surviving CDVs with the “Theoph. Munder” imprint are rather scarce. I only have one example in my personal collection and only know of a handful of images that have been sold on the open market in recent years.

Recent eBay find labeled in pencil as “Mrs. Dr. Johnston.” (Scott Mingus CDV collection)

Munder advertised in the Gazette periodically from November 1864 through late 1865 when Munder apparently stopped operations and returned to Baltimore where he and his wife Emilie lived the rest of their lives. Munder became prominent in the German community of the city and was a precinct judge during several presidential elections.

He died on November 17, 1907, and is buried in Baltimore’s Loudon Park Cemetery.