Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Portraits in Souvenir Programs

For those of you with ancestors who owned businesses, advertisements may give you more than just details about where the business was located. In some instances, particularly if the ad was in a souvenir publication, you may be lucky to see a photograph of them.

In the 1908 Sesqui-Centennial and Historical Souvenir of the Greater Pittsburgh, there are several ads that include a portrait of the owner. Here is one of J.W. Ruhlandt, whose cafe and bar was located on the South Side of Pittsburgh.

Genealogy and Souvenir Program Ads
From Sesqui-Centennial and Historical Souvenir of the Greater Pittsburgh, 1908

An even better find is in the 1902 Souvenir History, McKeesport Police Department, which can be viewed on On one page is a photo of Braddock businessman Jacob Klaus and on another is a nice biography. Love it!

Neither of these gentlemen are in my family tree, but I hope this post inspires you to look for advertisements in similar publications where your ancestors lived. A search of "souvenir" on the HathiTrust Digital Library website is a good place to start.

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