Frederick photographer John F. Kreh learned his craft in the studio of J. Davis Byerly at the age of 15 and worked for him until he was 30 years old.
In 1895 he opened his own studio, where he practiced for 60 years, retiring around 1935. He may have started out at 8 N. Market Street, but the address most often associated with his business is 215 and 217 West South Street.
In addition to studio portraits, Kreh's Art Studio, aka The Kreh Photo Company, photographed events such as reunions, committee meetings, etc., and took photos of many important Frederick buildings and historic sites, some of which he may have either sold to postcard printers such as Markens and Bielefeld, or himself turned into postcards.
With the rise of amateur Kodak photography, he added printing of amateur photographs to his list of services. According to the Frederick Post of 15 May 1976, Kreh was the Eastman Kodak Company representative.
His photographs have inevitably found their way into publications on the history of Frederick. Chances are good that if you had family living in or around Frederick in the 20th century, there's a Kreh photo in your album.
John Frederick Kreh was the son of German immigrant grocers Peter Kreh and Elizabeth Hax Kreh.
He and his wife, Julia Buckey Kreh, had two children, Nora Elizabeth (Kreh) Kennedy (1889-1936) and Leslie Byerly Kreh (1892-1903).
JOHN T. KREH DIES; ILL FOR FOUR WEEKS
Was For 60 Years A Photographer In This City And Was Widely Known; Survived By His Wife
John Frederick Kreh, one of Frederick's leading photographers for sixty years and a life-long resident of this city, died at his home, 133 West South street, at 8:20 o'clock, Monday evening after an illness of four weeks of complications, aged 78 years, five months and 27 days.
Mr. Kreh was born in Frederick May 24, 1861, a son of the late Peter and Elizabeth Ropp [?] Kreh. His father was a native of Schafheim, Hesse Darmstadt, Germany, and emigrated to this country while a young man. He settled in this city and died in 1888.
Mr. Kreh received his education in the public schools of Frederick and, at the age of fifteen, learned the photographer's trade under the late J. David Byerly, with home he continued to work until he was thirty years old.
In 1895, he embarked in business for himself and continued to follow his trade until he retired four years ago.
Politically, Mr. Kreh was a staunch Democrat and for many years served as judge of election in his precinct until three years ago. He was the candidate of his party for Judge of the Orphans' Court at the November, 1907, election.
Mr. Kreh was well-known throughout the city and county and had a wide circle of friends. He was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran church and the United Fire Company.
He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Julia Buckey Kreh; one grandson, Robert K. Kennedy; one graddaughter, Mrs. William Schildknecht; and two great grandchildren. The body is at the funeral home, 8 East Patrick street, where funeral services will be held Wednesday afternoon at the time to be announced. Interment in Mt. Olivet cemetery. C. E. Cline and Son, funeral directors.
Frederick Post, 21 November 1939
Julia Elizabeth Buckey Kreh
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