The Shelby Museum Of History
Recorders of Shelby Pictorial History

Early Shelby Photographers and their Photographs
Chester J. Beelman (c. 1913 to c. 1916)

Chester J. Beelman was born in Shenandoah, Ohio, in November of 1891. He was the son of Fred and Emma Kotz Beelman. He moved with his family to Shelby in 1899. After attending public school in Shelby, Chester attended the Illinois College of Photography at Effingham, Illinois. He also was a graduate of the Mansfield Business College. Chester returned to Shelby and was engaged in the photographic business for several years (c.1913 to c.1916) and was also associated with the Shelby Lamp Works Division as well as the American Express Co.

In article that appeared in the November 24, 1914 issue of the Daily Globe includes the following:
"Shelby is a city of refinement and taste, and there are located here many firms in all in all lines of business pursuits, and one we wish to make a special mention of is Mr. Chester J. Beelman, whose photographic gallery and place of business is located at 14 South Gamble Street. Mr. Beelman is an artist of the highest merits, a past master in the photographic art, and those who appreciate the highest standard in this particular line are counted among his many customers. The products of his gallery are to be found in many of our leading residences and homes. "
"Mr. Beelman opened his photographic gallery to the general public about six months ago. and since that time he has built up a large trade. When Mr. Beelman made up his mind to start in some business for himself there was nothing appealed to him more favorably than the art of photography. After traveling for some time taking local views through the country, which has been a great help to him in his present business. After his experience on the road he took a course and is a graduate of the Mansfield Business College. After he received his diploma from this institution he decided to complete his knowledge of photography, he took up studies in the college of photography at Effingham, Illinois, from which he was graduated with high honors."
"His studio is perfect in all its appointments, fitted with every known convenience and is a model in every respect. The gallery is equipped with the finest instruments and scenery, and is admirably lighted and spacious. The most modern and improved methods are used and while Mr. Beelman has no superior as a photographer, he is also an expert in commercial and landscape work, and the products of his camera and scenic attractions of interest in and around Shelby have been taken by him. He makes a specialty of amateur work, and also does a large business in this line."
"Mr. Beelman has a standing offer and guarantees all of his work to be satisfactory or the money will be refunded. He is a son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred A. Beelman, of Auburn Street, highly respected residents of this city. We predict for Chester a bright and prosperous future, and through his straight-forward business dealings he is building up a patronage that will be lasting. He takes a deep interest in the city's welfare, and he is a booster for his home town, and has many friends in all classes."

ThisThis ad appeared in the February 4, 1915 issue of the Shelby Daily Globe. It verifies that Chester Beelman was still in the photography business at 14 South Gamble Street in Shelby in early 1915.

During the time that he was engaged in photography his photos were generally marked C. J. Beelman - Shelby, Ohio. In 1917, Chester married Elizabeth "Bessie" Tucker in Chicago, Ill. Bessie was the daughter of William A. & Leora Tucker from Iowa. William Tucker was a son of Benjamin and Nancy Wentz Tucker of Shelby, Ohio. Chester's photographic career was cut quite short due to contracting influenza during the epidemic in 1918. Chester passed away in November of 1918.
Some of C. J. Beelman photographs may have been of the Cabinet Card variety. They typically measure about 4.25 X 6.5 inches and are mounted on a sturdy card backing material. This type of picture was going out of style at this time (popular from c.1866 until c. 1915) and was being replaced by the post card size widely used from the early 1900s for the common casual photographs. Most of Chester Beelman's photgraphs were likely of this latter more modern style.
Samples of C. J. Beelman's photgraphs will be shown as they become available. If you have a C. J. Beelman photograph that you would allow us to copy, please contact the Shelby Museum.

If you have questions or if you would like more information, please contact :
The Shelby Museum of History
% Sally Maier
76 Raymond Ave.
Shelby, Ohio 44875
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