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Title [Architectural terra cotta drawing class]
Object Name Print, Photographic
Date 1912
Collection Staten Island Geographic Collection
Description Original B&W print on gray cardboard mount. Interior view of a classroom with ten men, some seated and some standing; the seated men are at tables that appear to be boards on sawhorses; they hold various drafting tools. The blackboard on the back wall has handwritten chalk inscription: "P.E.S. No. 1 ARCHITECTURAL TERRA COTTA / DRAWING CLASS / TOTTENVILLE NY / 1912". Two electric light fixtures hang from the ceiling. Handwritten inscription in pen on reverse of mount: "Herman Guether / 1912".
(Keywords: New York City, Early Twentieth Century)
Print size 7 x 9.5
Acquisition Gift of William Guether
Ownership and History The Architectural Terra Cotta Drawing Class seen in this photo was an adult education evening class at Tottenville (Staten Island) High School. The town of Tottenville was also home to the Atlantic Terra Cotta Works, a major manufacturer of architectural terra cotta, sculpture, and garden pottery.

One of the students in this class photo was Herman Paul Guether (standing, left of center). Herman Guether (1881-1963) was born in Germany and came to the U.S. in the early 1900s. He attended night school, learned English and then architectural drawing. He was soon employed at Atlantic Terra Cotta in the mitre cutting department, later becoming foreman of that department. According to family history, Herman was the last man employed at the Atlantic Terra Cotta plant in Tottenville, which shut down ca. 1930. His final job there was to photograph the buildings.
Earliest Date 1912
Latest Date 1912
Subjects Terra-cotta
Lexicon Sub-category Documentary Artifact
Associated People Guether, Herman Paul
Catalog Number 83.075.0003
Support Acknowledgment Online Collections Database record made possible by the Staten Island Historical Society, November 2015.
Legal Status Items represented here are from the collections of the Staten Island Historical Society. Materials reproduced for personal non-commercial use must credit the Staten Island Historical Society. Commercial licensing is available.