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The Parker Studio

William Clinton Parker was born to Charles Nelson and Julia King Parker in Perry, New York on January 8, 1872. Lewis Charles Parker was born the following year, on January 30, 1873. After the brothers graduated from Perry High School, the family moved to Morristown, New Jersey, where in 1889 they joined Charles N. Parker in his fledgling photographic business, at 25 South Street. The family enterprise evolved into one of the most successful portrait studios and equipment suppliers in New Jersey. After the senior Parker died in 1898, the sons continued doing business under the name of The Parker Brothers Photographic Studio Company. In 1911, the brothers purchased Morristown's YMCA building, remodeled it and stocked it with the highest quality photographic equipment of the period. The newly renovated Parker Building became the standard by which all studios of the period were judged, complete with beamed ceilings, spacious rooms, and plenty of windows to manipulate the proper lighting. While the younger brother kept a relatively low profile, Mr. William Parker became the official 'face' of the firm, a familiar figure throughout the tightly-knit New Jersey photographic community. He vigorously promoted the family business as an active member of the National Association of Photographers and its regional affiliates in New England, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. On June 1, 1898, William Parker married Harriet Budd, and they had two sons, Courtland and William Herbert, who survived to adulthood. Lewis Parker married Augusta Johnson the following year.


William Parker was elected Vice-President of the Photographers' Association of the Middle Atlantic States in 1917, and the following year, he and his brother moved their operations to 29-31 South Street, a building which was, according to one industry observer, designed "from an artistic viewpoint… probably unsurpassed by any studio in the country." However, on February 22, 1922, a devastating fire swept through an entire block on South Street, destroying all buildings in its path with damages estimated at $200,000. Firefighters later determined the cause of the blaze to be a stove within the Parker Studio. Undeterred, the brothers remained on South Street until 1930. There are no existing records beyond that date, and so it is likely that the partnership dissolved at that time, perhaps due to Mr. William Parker's retirement. It does not appear that any of the Parker children followed in their parents' footsteps. The date of William C. Parker's death is unknown, but Lewis Charles Parker died in 1947, and interred at Morristown's Evergreen Cemetery.





Ref:
1914 A History of Morris County, New Jersey, Vol. II (New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co.), pp. 431-432.

2017 Año 1920 Foto Firmada Novia W' Red Rose Parker Studio Morristown, NJ (URL: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Ano-1920-Foto-Firmada-Novia-W-039-Red-Rose-Parker-Studio-Morristown-NJ-/161009015986?_ul=BO&nma=true&si=4252gw6lkxg3SrJsu9%252FW7jBBpUE%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557).

1922 Bulletin of Photography, Vol. XXX (Philadelphia: Frank V. Chambers), p. 280.

2000 Morris Plains by Virginia Dyer Vogt and Daniel B. Myers (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing), p. 101.

2010 Nineteenth Century New Jersey Photographers by Gary D. Saretzky (URL: http://gary.saretzky.com/photohistory/resources/photo_in_nj_July_2010.pdf).

2017 Officers of the Morristown, New Jersey Infantry Battalion, July 1918. Parker Studio (URL: https://catalog.archives.gov/id/533711).

2017 Parker Studio, Interior Views, South Street, Early 20th century, Morristown, NJ (URL: http://cdm16100.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/ref/collection/p13079coll1/id/206).

2017 Portrait (URL: http://gary.saretzky.com/photohistory/portrait_magazine/images/WmCParkerMorristown.jpg).

1907 The Students' Handbook of Drew Theological Seminary, Vol. X (Madison, NJ: Young Men's Christian Association), p. 79.

1930 The White and Blue of Nineteen Hundred and Thirty, Vol. VII (South Orange, NJ: Seton Hall College), p. 191.


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