Leonard A. Dozer, one of four children born to Mr. and Mrs. J. L. Dozer, was born on June 24, 1871 in Zanesville, Ohio. His interest in photography began in 1889 as a student of C. A. Gribble, who operated a studio in Fostoria, Ohio. Specializing in operating and retouching, Mr. Dozer honed his skills throughout Ohio before settling in Bucyrus (population approximately 7,000) in 1892 (some sources report 1893) and opened his own successful studio on North Sandusky Avenue. Born in 1868, E. L. McClain, about whom very little biographical information exists, began studying photography at the age of 14 in Greensburg, Indiana, under the tutelage of Louis Moberly. He established his professional reputation by working with some of the most prominent photographers in Indiana and neighboring Ohio. When he relocated to Bucyrus in September 1894, Mr. McClain met and quickly formed a partnership with Mr. Dozer. On December 10, 1894, Dozer & McClain opened their new studio at a location recently vacated by photographer W. N. Brenner.
Dozer & McClain became popular with customers and industry professionals alike for their portraiture. Sitters felt immediately comfortable in their welcoming studio, where the photographers went to great lengths to achieve their customers' desired results. In 1895, the team exhibited their portraits to high praise at the Photographers Association Convention held in Columbus, Ohio. Their studio received similar accolades in an 1897 issue of Wilson's Photographic Magazine, which described its abundance of backgrounds, accessories, and instruments for contract portraiture. Mr. Dozer, who also served as President of the Ohio Photographers Association, married Anna Gertrude Keil in 1898. The couple had no children.
The firm continued enjoying commercial and critical success well into the twentieth century. In 1911, Mr. Dozer, who was by now the most recognizable photographer in the area due in large part to his civic activism (as a member of the Bucyrus Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce), participation in several state and local photographic societies, and involvement in the Photographers Association of America (serving at various times as Treasurer, Secretary, and President), erected what was quickly dubbed "Dozer block" at 330-332 South Sandusky Avenue, complete with a two-story structure that featured a fully equipped studio. It is unknown whether or not Mr. McClain was still an active partner in the studio that continued to bear his name. Sadly, Leonard A. Dozer was stricken with a sudden illness that claimed his life on February 14, 1921 at the age of 39. Dozer & McClain portraits and cabinet cards remain highly sought-after collectables.
1921 Bulletin of Photography, Vol. XXVIII (Philadelphia: Frank V. Chambers), pp. 309-310.
1895 Connersville Daily Examiner (Connersville, IN), August 1, 1895, p. 4.
1898 Items of Interest, Vol. XX (New York: Consolidated Dental Manufacturing Company), p. 130.
1898 Photographic Mosaics (New York: C. P. Goerz), p. 173.
1897 Wilson’s Photographic Magazine, Vol. XXXIV (New York: Edward L. Wilson), pp. 25-28.
1898 Wilson's Photographic Magazine, Vol. XXXV (New York: Edward L. Wilson), p. 47.
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