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Frederick Whitman Glasier

Frederick Whitman Glasier

American, 1866 – 1950

Frederick Whitman Glasier was born in Adams, Massachusetts, on 5 March 1866. He was the son of Henry Glasier, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, and Lucy Ann Whitman Glasier; the family came from Pilgrim and Native American stock [see Talking Leaves, "Vanishing Race"]. In 1897, Glasier marries Nariet (Hattie) Byram, who dies in 1907. In 1910, he married Emma Chillingworth of Brockton. Rev. Albert M Hyde, pastor of the Porter Congregational Church in Brockton, performed the service.

Before he became a photographer, he worked as a clerk in the town hall (1889-1890 Adams and North Adams, Massachusetts Directories) and a textile designer in Adams, Massachusetts. By 1900, Glasier had moved to Brockton, Massachusetts, where he would live for the rest of his life. In 1908, Glasier was listed as a photographer in the Brockton, Massachusetts City Directory. He opened the Glasier Art Studio and Museum in the Brockton apartment where he and his wife lived. It was at his studio that he worked, exhibited his photographs, and sold copies of his prints.

Glasier was fascinated by Native Americans and their way of life and was adopted into the Massasoit tribe as a blood brother by Lottie Mitchell [see Emma C. Glasier's letter to John Ringling North, 21 January 1956 – also, there are photographs of Lottie Mitchell, her sister, and their home in the collection]. His photographs reflect this interest in the West and Native Americans. As a young man, he had traveled out West and was greatly influenced by "Buffalo Bill" Cody. Some Brockton residents would later "recall that he dressed in cowboy regalia, shoes, hat, leather jacket, with a goatee to match" [see Emil S. Skop's letter to Gay Burke, 24 May 1972].

At one time, he was the official photographer for Barnum & Bailey; therefore, many of his photographs did appear in the Barnum & Bailey Route Books. Circus performers also bought Glasier photographs of their acts, which they in turn re-sold. To supplement his income, Glasier would give lectures using lanternslides of his photographs; his wife, Emma, would hand tint the slides. They also sold "a large variety of hand-colored prints in both oil and water colors, a number of Indian portraits and western scenes in three color printing, that are of great value for school and home decoration" [see Talking Leaves, introduction]. In 1942, Glasier retired and spent most of his time doing woodcarvings. He was a fine wood carver of western themes and sold his woodcarvings, which he called "whittlings." [There are two photographs of his carvings in the collection.]

Glasier used three 8"x10" King view cameras to which he added a Thornton-Pickard focal plane shutter speeded up to 1/3000 second. He used high quality Goertz and Dagors lenses. Glasier also used a Coerz Celor lens on a 5"x7" Graflex with an accordion-line pleated focusing hood and a post card Kodak camera [see Emma C. Glasier's letter to John Ringling North, 21 January 1956]. Using this equipment, Glasier became a master at the action photograph.

Glasier died suddenly on 28 July 1950 of a cerebral hemorrhage in Brockton at the age of 84. He was cremated and his ashes were placed in the family plot in the Maple Street Cemetery in Adams. He was survived by his wife and a brother, Mark S. Glasier.