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It's Germane

From the Archives: Winter Column

Welcome to the JJML Local History Archive Center column. We are grateful to report that several new donations have been made to the Archives since the fall newsletter. The excitement to dig into those treasures is palpable!

…more on them to be shared in future columns.

A collection marked only as “Emmel Photo Albums” is the most recently completed (well, nothing is ever done, IMO) large project. The two albums and loose photographs were very dirty and deteriorating, lacking proper cataloging, without a finding aid, and in need of cleaning, and digitizing. This collection is now available for in person or digital viewing.

An interesting archival tidbit about this collection: very few of the photographs had a name or description written on them. Yet, one photo below – of puppies¹ – carried the handwritten note “3 weeks old”. One can imagine that dogs were an important part of this family.  

The following information is about the Emmel family and pieced together from New York Historic Newspapers. The bottling company of Messrs. John Lellman & Co. was founded in 1890. In 1896, John Emmel purchased this company which also had a location in Greenport and renamed it Emmel Bottling Works (The Sag-Harbor Express, Sept. 1897). It was first located near “the corner of Wharf and Bay Streets” in Sag Harbor (May 1896). JJML’s Archives holds a bottle from this factory.

After at least one fire and several years, Emmel re-located in 1899 to the corner of Burke and Division Streets (currently the location of the Umbrella House/Cavinola’s/Sag Harbor Beverage Center). After John’s untimely death of “liver disease” at the age of 53/54, his son, Harold, who was living in Hartford, CT., sold it to a direct competitor, Fred Wilson (The County Review, March 1918, and Suffolk Weekly Times, 1918). Wilson’s company was located across the street (EH Star, 1962). According to the 1962 East Hampton Star article, no Emmels remain in Sag Harbor. If you know of any – please pass them along to us. It would be a great boon to have people and places from the photographs identified.  Other names associated with this family (and likely in these photographs) Samsoe, Christman, Hanssen/Hansen, and Kuhlwein.

Photographs: 2Emmel Bottling Works Co. corner of Burke and Division Streets c. 1900, “Fireman’s Tournament” written on back of photo.

3Snippet from The Corrector March 31, 1906. ⁵The Corrector, Nov. 1899.

4On the beach (1919): one man in a button-up shirt and bowtie,  and three men in bathing suits – one is wearing a Pierson (PHS) shirt (second from right), perhaps on Havens Beach.  

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