The Woman Behind the Camera: Amanda Schuermann Mumbrauer

Recently I was excited to receive a communication from a relation of the Mumbrauer family with new information about how the Mumbrauer Studio operated after Charles George Mumbrauer married.

According to Andrew Hahn, it was Charles’s wife, Amanda Schuermann Mumbrauer (1886-1960), who ran things.

Portrait of Amanda Schuermann Mumbrauer, circa 1920, courtesy of Andrew Hahn.

Hand-tinted portrait of Amanda Schuermann Mumbrauer, circa 1920, courtesy of Andrew Hahn.

“She really took all the photos in the later years of the studio. Charles had a job in St. Louis and was only occasionally in Hermann in his last years,” Hahn says. “My grandmother told me he had many ‘girlfriends’ in St. Louis and that Amanda ran the Hermann photo studio, took and printed all the photos.”

Portrait of Charles George Mumbrauer, ca. 1925, courtesy of Andrew Hahn

Portrait of Charles George Mumbrauer, ca. 1925, courtesy of Andrew Hahn

“My grandmother told me that the camera she used was large ‘with a lens that grandfather Mumbrauer had used 50 years earlier.’ “She described Amanda as using a black cloak like in the cartoons to cover herself and the camera when she took pictures.”

Hand-colored portrait of Janet Bremer and Charles Emery Mumbrauer, ca. 1932, courtesy of Andrew Hahn.

Andrew’s grandmother, Janet Bremer, married Charles Emery Mumbrauer, son of Charles and Amanda. Andy has begun sharing some of the many photos he inherited from an album assembled by Janet Bremer Mumbrauer in 1937. (Emery and Janet divorced in 1938.)

“I have always thought these photos,” Hahn recalls, “have a special glow about them.”

Mumbrauer_janet_bremer_baby_nancy_byamandam

Portrait of Emery’s first wife and daughter, Jane Bremer Mumbrauer and Nancy Mumbrauer, taken by Amanda Schuermann Mumbrauer, courtesy of Andrew Hahn.

Andrew W. Hahn is Executive Director of the Campbell House Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. He was previously curator of the corporate art collection of A.G. Edwards and Sons, a St. Louis brokerage firm, whose collection has since been absorbed into the Wells Fargo collection.

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