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, May 14, 2012

Her Grandmother's Namesake: Mary E. Glessner of Hollidaysburg, PA, at Age Five, 1890

Even though we don't know the artist behind this lovely portrait of five-year-old Mary Glessner, we can appreciate his skill as a photographer.  The cabinet card is labelled, "Mary Glessner, Nov. 11, 1890.  5 years."

It is one of a collection of photographs from Hollidaysburg, PA that I recently acquired.  Previously, I posted a mystery photograph taken by R. A. Bonine in Hollidaysburg.  Mary probably has some connection to the boy in that earlier photograph.

Cobbling together the information found in the first four US Federal Censuses of the 20th century, we learn that Mary was born April 1886 in Pennsylvania to (William) Frank Glessner and Alice Buoy Glessner.  If Mary married, she did so after 1930.  At the time of the 1900, 1910, and 1920 censuses Mary lived with her parents in Hollidaysburg and appeared to be without an occupation.  In the 1930 census, I found a Mary Glessner of the correct age, living in Atlantic City, New Jersey, working at a hotel on Pacific Avenue as a stenographer.

According to Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens (Jesse C. Sell, Chicago, IL: Richmond-Arnold, 1911) Mary's father opened a department store at the corner of Allegheny and Montgomery in Hollidaysburg in 1882.  In 1898, he moved the business to the Opera House Block in the same town.  At the time the biography was written, Frank Glessner employed four clerks at this store.

The biography also delves briefly into his personal life, and tells us that,  "on January 1, 1873, Mr. Glessner was married to Miss Alice C. Buoy, and they have one daughter, Mary, named for Mrs. Glessner's mother. The family residence is at No. 907 Allegheny Street. Mr. and Mrs. Glessner are members of the Presbyterian church. He is a Republican in politics. For a number of years he has been a Free Mason and belongs to Blue Lodge and Chapter at Hollidaysburg, and also to the Heptasophs." Frank Glessner was born in 1848 in Somerset County, PA, to Josiah and Judith Landis Glessner.

Mary's parents both died in the mid-1920's:  Alice on July 12, 1925, and Frank in February, 1926.  Both were in their 70's.  Their deaths are mentioned in the Altoona Mirror newspaper.

It would interesting to know what became of  Mary Glessner after 1930.


  1. Just posted this link on the Blair County PA Facebook page. Perhaps someone will know her.

  2. Thanks, Claudia! It's very possible I have others photos of Mary's family, too. Sadly, most of the Hollidaysburg photos are unidentified.