Quaken Aspen

Quaken Aspen

W.H. Apgar

Very little is known of the early life of amateur photographer William Hermann Apgar,  (W.H. Apgar) (1.) who was only 38 years old when he died in Bisbee, Arizona on September 14, 1909. He was born in either Trenton (2.) or West Orange, New Jersey (3.) and received his education at the Troy Polytechnic School of Troy, New York. (4.) Sometime, perhaps in the early 1890’s, Apgar became very active in Photography-elected to the position of Secretary of The Orange Camera Club in 1896, (5.) a progressive club who counted Alfred Stieglitz as an honorary member. He was also Chairman of the Outing Committee, and listed his address in 1896 as being 125 Beach Street in East Orange. 6.
Around 1900 or before, (7.) Apgar moved to Arizona for reasons of health. On July 6, 1904, an announcement appeared in The Photo-Beacon with details of the newly-formed Bisbee Camera Club, of which Apgar has signed his name as President and which confirmed his existing and continuing relationship with his former club in New Jersey:

Bisbee, Ariz., August 27, 1904
“Dear Sir,— The Bisbee Camera Club was organized on July 6, at a lantern slide entertainment held in the gymnasium building. The slides of the Orange Camera Club of New Jersey were enthusiastically received, and the club organized with an enrollment of thirty-eight names as charter members.
The club is allied with the Bisbee Gymnasium Club, and uses the gym floor, seating two hundred and fifty people, for exhibition purposes. The workrooms consist of locker-room, washing-room, a two-compartment darkroom, and an enlarging room. A set of “Arizona” slides is now being prepared to send east this winter.
Wm. H. Apgar. President.”  8.

Lantern slide exhibitions seemed to be a specialty of the Bisbee club. Here is a short excerpt from a typical newspaper account promoting an exhibition there:

“Tuesday evening the Camera Club will exhibit in the Gymnasium the set of one hundred and twenty-five lantern slides which have been prepared by the members to represent the club before the American Lantern slide Interchange.
The set as a whole is typical of Arizona and the southwest. The individual members represented in the exhibition are W.H. Apgar, with slides including mining and underground views, from Humphries negatives and historical views from negatives taken by W.H. Brophy. W. E. Hadsell follows, showing Indian and Mexican villages, Ben D. Cooley is alone in submitting Bull Fight views.” 9.

Surviving details of Apgars life were additionally included with his obituary that appeared in The Bisbee Evening Miner. The only discrepancy seems to be his age, underestimated by about a decade:


September 14, 1909. W.H. Apgar Dies Suddenly At C.Q. Dispensary Today. W.H. Apgar, one of Bisbee’s prominent young men, died suddenly at 1:30 o’clock this afternoon at the Copper Queen dispensary from pulmonary embolism. He had worked at his post in the Bank of Bisbee this morning and apparently was in his usual health. At the noon hour he went to his lunch and returned to the bank. Feeling slightly ill, he crossed the street to the dispensary to get something to relieve him and while talking to Dr. Watkins, he suddenly became unconscious and death ensued immediately.
Other physicians of the Copper Queen medial (sic) staff were hastily summoned but nothing could be done to restore respiration and he was pronounced dead. The remains were examined by the physicians and were then taken to the Palace undertaking parlors where they will be held until word is received from relatives in the east. The cause of death, pulmonary embolism, was the forming of a clot of blood in one of the important blood vessels so that circulation was stopped. The trouble was a result of consumption, a disease with which the deceased had been troubled with for years.
W.H. Apgar was born in West Orange, New Jersey, thirty years ago, and came west for his health ten years ago. He spent some time at Dos Cabezas, Bowie and Phoenix and came to Bisbee five years ago, taking a position in the Bank of Bisbee. During the time he was with the bank he was a bookkeeper and receiving teller. He was an enthusiastic file man and was secretary of the National Rifle Association for Arizona and the president of the state association. He was the first president of the Bisbee Rifle club and was one of the founders of the club. He was educated at the Troy Polytechnic School of Troy, New York. He is survived by his mother and one brother who reside in New Jersey.” 10.

The PhotoSeed Archive holds five vintage photographs taken by Apgar of Arizona views, four of which are dated 1909, the final year of his life.

Signed on verso in hand of author:

Quaken Asp.
W.H. Apgar
Feb 09 Folio.

Azo H


1. Wm. H. Apgar: April 10, 1871: Birth record: from: New Jersey Births and Christenings,1660-1980: by: FamilySearch.org: accessed October, 2011
2. Ibid
3. Obituary: W.H. Apgar: in: The Bisbee (AZ) Evening Miner: September 14, 1909.
4. Ibid
5. Society News: in: The American Amateur Photographer: Published by The Outing Company, Limited: New York, N.Y.: April, 1896: p. 186
6. American Photographic Societies: in: The American Annual of Photography and Photographic Times Almanac for 1897: Edited by Walter E. Woodbury: Published by The Scovill Adams & Company: New York: p. 353
7. Obituary: W.H. Apgar: in: The Bisbee (AZ) Evening Miner: September 14, 1909.
8. Bisbee, Ariz., August 27, 1904: The Photo-Beacon: Edited by F. Dundas Todd: Published by the Photo-Beacon Co.: Chicago: October, 1904: p. 316
9. Camera Club’s Slide Exhibition: in: Bisbee Daily Review: October 30, 1904.
10. Apgar obituary: in: The Bisbee Evening Miner: September 14, 1909

Quaken Aspen

Image Dimensions27.1 x 12.1 cm