The Shelby Museum Of History
Recorders of Shelby Pictorial History

Early Shelby Photographers and their Photographs
Sifferlen / Sifferlen Studio
(William A. Sifferlen) ( 1915? - 1928?)
William Sifferlen was the youngest child of Theobold and Theresa Christen Siefferlen.
Theobold Siefferlen immigrated from France to the US c. 1831. Theresa's parents were Fredolin and Magdalena Arnold Christen who immigrated from Germany in c. 1832. Theresa was their first child born in this country.
Theobold and Theresa were married c. 1858 at the Sacred Heart Church in the Bethlehem Settlement between Shelby and Crestline. William was born in September of 1876, the youngest of nine children. William was raised on the family farm and helped as a farm hand. Theobold passed away in 1891 and by 1900, William's mother and four of her sons were living on the farm.
William married Maude Henry c. 1905 and the 1910 census finds them living on the Sifferlen farm with their daughter Pearl (4) and William's mother Theresa. Theresa passed away in 1913 and it is at about that time, William began his career as a photographer in Shelby.
There is no Sifferlen listing in the 1913 / 1914 Shelby directory, however in the 1917 Shelby directory, Sifferlen Studio is listed at 16 South Gamble Street. This location was on the west side of Gamble Street directly south of the Mickey building which is on the South-West corner of Main and Gamble Streets. The 1920 census shows William (photographer) and Maude with daughter Pearl M. Sifferlen living at 12 South Gamble Street. The 1925 Shelby directory shows the Sifferlen Studio at 12 1/2 South Gamble Street. All of these addresses "fit" within the space that is now the parking area between the Mickey building and the First United Methodist Church at 18 South Gamble Street. This location must be the same as that used by Bert Mossholder during the period of 1913 - 1915.
In 1926 the William Sifferlen family was living on Clark Avenue and the 1926 Shelby directory lists the Sifferlen Studio location now at 68 West Main Street. This is the same location occupied by the Armstrong and Rauch hardware store in 1906.
 68 West Main Street Armstrong and Rauch Store - 1906
Check out their store in 1906 at the Shelby - Richland County Chapter of OGS website.

In the summer of 1920 William took his camera equipment to the Shelby Salesbook and took the following picture of the company baseball team.
1920 - Shelby Salesbook Baseball Team - July, 1920
Picture courtesy of the Shelby Museum
Team Members (left to right)
Front Row: John Howard Pry, Chic Cline, Herman Faulke
Second Row: Boyd Boreman, Raymond Zeiters, George McLaughlin, Harry Smith
Back Row: Albert Cook, Otto Shoup, Sturgis Dunlap
The image is approximately 8 x 10 inches on a 11 1/2 x 13 1/2 inch hardboard mount. This size was to be used on many occasions for Sifferlen Studio group pictures. The picture is embossed with "Sifferlen" at the lower center. Since the mount has been damaged at the lower edge the embossed labeling is incomplete but appears below.

1926 Shelby High School Graduation Class.
Image is approximately 8 x 10 inches and the mount is 9 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches. The photo was taken in May of 1926 when the Sifferlen Studio was located at 68 West Main Street. This is the first class to graduate from the newly constructed High School.
The Sifferlen / Shelby, Ohio embossed label is shown above.

Frank Family Reunion - Summer of 1927
Picture courtesy of a private owner
The image is approximately 8 x 10 inches on a 11 1/2 x 13 1/2 inch hardboard mount. Sifferlen Studio used this size and style mount often for large group photographs. The Sifferlen / Shelby, Ohio embossed label is identical to that shown previously.
The location of the family gathering is 2 South Street in Shelby. To those who may be interested, all the subjects in the Frank Reunion picture have been identified and we will be happy to share information.
The Shelby Museum has many more Sifferlen photographs and each one is composed and finished with great attention to the details. William Sifferlen is one of the first photographers in our area to take many large group formats or large outdoor scenes and generally produce large mounted prints. He tends to have gotten away from the individual studio portrait venue to spend much time on this type of outdoor photograph.

The 1929 Shelby directory has no listing for William Sifferlen or Sifferlen Studio, nor does the 1931 directory. The 1930 census finds William and Maude Sifferlen living with their only daughter Pearl (who is now widowed with a son Bernard Dowling born c. 1926) in Fremont, Ohio. William lists his occupation as a proprietor of a mineral bath house.
William A. Sifferlen passed away in Fremont, Ohio in May of 1958 leaving his widow Maude and only daughter.
William and Maude are buried in the St. Joseph's cemetery in Fremont, Ohio.

If you have additional information on the William Sifferlen family or photographs that you would like to share,
please contact us at the Shelby Museum.
The Shelby Museum of History
% Sally Maier
76 Raymond Ave.
Shelby, Ohio 44875
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