antique camera

C. Robert Wilhelm

A Photographic Legacy

C. Robert Wilhelm was a German immigrant who arrived in Holyoke about 1875. Settling permanently in Holyoke, Wilhelm was an interesting person, actively involved in the German community and social clubs in the city. Mechanically minded, Wilhelm was involved in a variety of trades, first as a business owner and employer at his own bottling company, initially with a partner forming Wilhelm & Derich's Bottling Company, and when Derich later left the business it became the Wihelm Bottling Co. Later Wilhelm held positions of Master Mechanic at both Germania Mills and Livingston Worsted Mills

Wilhelm married Franciska M. Gurenert (1855-1920), also originally from Germany, and they had four children two daughters, Mrs. Frank Haarmann, and Miss Mabel Wilhelm; and two sons Fred and Robert.

An amateur photographer, Wilhelm captured many images of Holyoke using glass plate negatives, popularly used from the 1880s through the 1920s. Kevin Haarmann, the great grandson of C. Robert Wilhelm, discovered a collection of these glass plate negatives stored in the family home in 1975, thirty-five years after his great-grandfather's death in 1940. Kevin has invested considerable time and effort in reprinting the photographs available on this site,

A debt of gratitude is owed to Kevin Haarmann for his willingness to share these images online. Please remember these images are the property of Kevin Haarmann* ©2000, all rights reserved, and may NOT be reproduced elsewhere in any format without his prior written permission. These images are digitally watermarked with copyright information, and your cooperation is appreciated in respecting this request regarding use.

Following the link below will give you a glimpse into the past with images of various city landmarks and streets, and also some very interesting photos of family groups, people at work and involved in various social activities. Unfortuntely, not all images are identified — so if by any chance you are from Holyoke and have information to add about any of the images, please send e-mail to the address below. Please check back again, there will be more photographs added from C. Robert Wilhelm's collection.

* Mail to Kevin Haarman may be sent to Holyoke [at] His current address is not published due to spam issues, but all mail will be forwarded.