I reunite identified family photos that I find in antique shops and second hand stores with genealogists and family historians. If you see one of your ancestors here and would like to obtain the original, feel free to contact me at familyphotoreunion [ at ] yahoo [ dot ] com. I hope you enjoy your visit!
~The Archivist

Monday, April 23, 2012

Adolf Bernhard Meyer's Favourite Tie, Dresden, Germany, 1906

Written on the reverse on this cabinet card:  "Frl. Mary E. Hawley zur freundlichen erinnerung,  A. B. Meyer, Dresden, Juni 1906."  It was photographed at the Hugo Erfurth Studio in Dresden, Germany. I believe it was sent through the mail in an envelope because of the round imprint on the card you can see in the top right hand corner.  It was probably made by a postal stamp.  It's too bad somebody along the way let the card get so stained. 

This started out as a "What A Shame" post because I thought the likelihood of solving this one was nil.  I have some experience with German records, but with a common German name such as Meyer, with only given name initials, in a big city like Dresden, I figured it was the longest of long shots.

I did the usual Ancestry search, knowing full well that the German records haven't been plentiful on that site.  Nothing.  I searched around online for a digitized copy of a Dresden City Directory of some sort.  Nothing.  I conducted a simple Google search and lo'....a hit for an Adolf Bernhard Meyer (1840-1911) of Dresden, who, according to Wikipedia, was a famous anthropologist, ornithologist and entomologist.

I was skeptical that I had a photo of Adolf Bernhard Meyer, so I went in search of photographs of the scientist.  I found one on the German Wikipedia site:


He's even wearing the same tie.  Have a close look.  It is the same tie.  It might even be the same shirt and coat.  Either it's his favourite tie or it's from the same sitting.

So, how do I confirm this for sure?  The Wikipedia post told me that Adolf Bernhard Meyer was Director of the Anthropological and Enthnographic Museum in Dresden from 1874 to 1905, so I sent them an email with A.B. Meyer's photograph attached.

While I wait, I thought I should look up the photographer, Hugo Erfurth.  Turns out Erfurth (1874-1948) was a sought-out portrait photographer in Dresden who had a lot of celebrity clients. He was very much a huge part of the Dresden's art scene during the early years of the twentieth century.

The following obituary for Adolf Bernhard Meyer was found in The Auk, a publication of the American Ornithologist's Union:

The Auk (American Ornithologists' Union), v. 28 1911, p. 519

I will update this post if I locate any information that proves or disproves the man in the photo is Adolf Bernhard Meyer.

UPDATE:  April 25, 2012:  I received confirmation today from  MUSEUM FÜR VÖLKERKUNDE DRESDEN  that the photo is, indeed, Adolf Bernhard Meyer. 


  1. That is a magnificent photo of a most regal man! It IS a shame the photo got soiled. The man in the Wiki photo looks like a "spittin' image" to me.

  2. You are lucky with that Great find! I have read your Meyer's name while researching my own Meyer in Dresden...I know what you mean when you said, "with a common German name such as Meyer" there were many Meyer's in Dresden. My gr.gr.grandfather Johann Meyer was well known, even a Dresden street was named after him.
    My search right now is on my Grandfather Ludwig Adolph who's last name changed to von Meyer and the title of Baron when he was ennoblement, but I can't find any information on this.(the why's and how's)
    I enjoyed reading through your blog, Thanks for sharing!