Max Henry Hubacher was a chemist, local historian, and amateur photographer who was born in Bern, Switzerland and later emigrated to the United States, where he lived in West Virginia and New York. Photographs by Max Hubacher, including approximately 5700 loose black and white photoprints and nine scrapbooks, dated 1917 to 1971, of scenes near his home in Long Island, in New York City, and documenting his travels throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. Photographs show buildings, streetcars, and elevated subway lines in New York City and other urban centers; ships in New York Harbor and other waterways; trains and train stations throughout the United States, especially the Northern Pacific Railway, Union Pacific Railroad, and the California Zephyr; as well as schools, parks, snowstorms, and historic houses and buildings. Also includes old Swiss family and school photographs; pictures of Hubacher's wife and children, 1930s to 1960s; New York World's Fairs 1939/40 and 1964/65; Yellowstone National Park, Colorado National Monument, Grand Teton National Park, Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, and Arches National Park; family homes and farms in Switzerland, Pennsylvania, New York, and West Virginia; a 1950 Ringling Bros. circus on Long Island; and the Ex-Lax building at 423 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn.
Biographical/historical: Max Henry Hubacher was born in 1900 in Bern, Switzerland and emigrated to the United States in 1923, where he lived in West Virginia and then New York until his death in 1989. Hubacher was a chemist, local historian, and amateur photographer who photographed his travels throughout Europe, Canada, New York, and the American West. Hubacher developed all of his prints from glass plate negatives in his darkroom. Many photographs feature Hubacher's wife, Frieda Hubacher, and his two children, Sylvia and Eric.
Content: Collection contains approximately 5,700 loose 4" × 6" and 8" × 10" black and white photoprints, organized by location and then date as noted on their original boxes, followed by nine scrapbooks. The scrapbooks, arranged alphabetically by title, contain mounted photographs organized by subject or trip. Many photographs include detailed handwritten or typed captions on the back.
Most of the photographs in the collection contain images of buildings, streetcars, elevated subway lines, and boats in New York City, New York State, and surrounding areas. Included are many photographs of the Ex-Lax building at 423 Atlantic Avenue in the Fort Greene-Boerum Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, where Hubacher was employed as a research chemist. In addition to images of the building's exterior and surroundings, Hubacher also took individual and group portraits of Ex-Lax's employees in their offices and laboratories. Also present are many photographs of Long Island, including class portraits of students at the Hewlett School in East Islip, a 1950 Ringling Bros. circus, various historic houses and buildings, and New York World's Fairs in 1939-1940 and 1964-1965.
Many travel photographs also document city scenes, small towns, and landscapes in Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, the United States, and Canada. These often feature trains and train stations, many of which were shot during Hubacher's long train journeys across the United States and Canada, especially along the routes of the Union Pacific Railroad, the Northern Pacific Railway, and the California Zephyr line spanning from California to Illinois. Travel photographs also show national parks in Colorado, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming; streetcars in Chicago, Saint Louis, Montreal, and Seattle; and family houses and farms in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Switzerland. Many family portraits and group portraits of students at the University of Bern are also included. Some prints, dated 1883-1916, were made by Hubacher from old Swiss negatives taken by an unknown family photographer.
Content: Also includes photographs dated 1883-1916, which Hubacher reprinted from old Swiss negatives made by an unknown family photographer