Elizabeth (Erdman) Romane (Eugene)
Erdman was employed in 1910 as a photographer for Sue Dorris (please see separate listing). Note her residence in 1910 is on the same street as Dorris, one block away on opposite side of street. At Elizabeth’s address is also listed Erdman, Clara. No other Erdman’s are in the 1910 Lane County directory.
1910 Lane pg. 83 Eugene “Erdman, Elizabeth, photogr Sue Dorris, bds 263 Pearl”
1925 POW pg. 224 Eugene “Romaine (sic), Elizab H photog 777 Willamette”
News Items and Advertisements
“After several decades of picture taking in Eugene, Mrs. Elizabeth Romane has announced that she will destroy her files of negatives Jan. 1.
“These pictures, many of which she has mounted in scrapbooks, present a kaleidoscope of life in Eugene’s earlier days-days when wide film was available for portrait work. The artist declares that something was lost to the trade when it went
“Mrs. Romane looks back in more than 50 years spent in Lane County. She came from Minnesota in 1909 with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Albert Erdman. Following a crop failure, during the Cleveland administration, Mr. Erdman, a farmer, decided to come to Oregon where a brother had preceded him. He bought 140 acres near Elmira, paying about $800 for it, as Mrs. Romane recalls. Here the family was reared and schooled.
“The children included, besides Elizabeth, the eldest, her two brothers and three sisters: Sylvia (Mrs. Robert) Riker, Alice (Mrs. John E.) Meccke and LeRoy Erdman, all of Eugene; Clara (Mrs. John W.) Wells of The Dalles, and Albert, deceased, who was twin to Alice.
“Pictures of her own three sons and their families line Mrs. Romane’s mantel at this season.
“I always bring them all out at Christmas, to spend the holidays with me,” she says. One son, Albert, is in Oakland, Calif., where he is in employe of the Alameda Air Base; his twin, Richard, is in Tokyo, in military transportation; the third, Steven, lives in Springfield.
“Buys Album. Elizabeth Erdman wanted to be a photographer from childhood. An aunt visited them, taking outdoor pictures with a Kodak, and this inspired her with a wish to do the same. She saved the money she earned at farm tasks and spent $3.25, a very large amount in those days, especially to a little girl, to buy “the nicest photograph album I could find.” It’s a good one; she has it today- with heavy celluloid cover trimmed in gold and with embossed velvet black.
“When she finished school, young Miss Erdman came to Eugene to interview two photographic studios, Tolman’s and that of the late Miss Sue Dorris. The latter agreed to take her on as an apprentice, and she worked in this capacity for nine months before she became a paid employee.
“Miss Dorris didn’t want to be bothered with questions. She told me, ‘Just watch me, see what I do, and learn from that. I’ll tell you what you need to know.”
“Later she went to Tolman’s and continued there when it was bought by Bernard Anderson.
“In 1918, Elizabeth was married to Harry Romane, but the couple separated in 1923. They had bought the Clark Studio and operated it together; Mrs. Romane continues to do so.
“The children grew up in the Studio,” she says.
“Scrapbooks in Mrs. Romane’s home attest to her successful work; there are ribbons for national and international awards, and prints of the pictures which won them.
“The Romane Studio operated in several locations along Willamette St., from the 20s to the 50s.
“I moved to a location upstairs over Seymour’s in 1929, and stayed until rents raised so that they became prohibitive; then I moved my studio here. I had purchased this house in the 40s, before zoning restrictions. I operated my studio here, and I still take pictures now and then for old customers- some of them I’ve been serving for three generations! I opened a gift shop in connection with the studio.” Register-Guard (Eugene) Unidentified clipping. files of Oregon Historical Society
1959: “A woman who began her apprenticeship as a portrait photographer a half century ago when Willamette Street was lined with board walks in still actively engaged in that profession.
“Mrs. Elizabeth Romane of 1852 Willamett St. estimates she has taken more than 30,000 photographs of people in Lane County since 1909.
“Portrait work is lots faster and easier, today,” says Mrs. Romane, who began her apprenticeship under Sue Dorris at a Sixth Avenue-Willamette Street studio.
“Lighting technique, film and equipment changes in photography have speeded up the work of today’s portrait artists, she says.
“Studios in those days had sky lights (ceiling windows) and we would manipulate shades to get the north light,” she says of the early 1900’s.
“Artificial lighting, which came into vogue in the 1920’s, a switch from 8 x 10-inch film to enlargements and film emulsion changes are among the factors Mrs. Romane cites as simplifying and speeding portrait work.
“ARTIST IN PHOTOGRAPHY. Considered by many as an artist in her field, Mrs. Romane said she became interested in photography at the age of three when “the beauty of pictures began to fascinate me.”
“She was born in Minnesota and came to Lane County as a young girl. She was raised in a 140- acre farm which was located at the Fern Ridge reservoir site.
“I think the A. F. Rankin and Winter Studios were the first in town.” she recalls. “Portrait photographs cost $1 a dozen postcard size and $7 to $9 a dozen for 5 by 7’s. Today, the price is double to triple that.”
“In 1918, Mrs. Romane purchased the old Rankin Studio at Seventh Avenue and Willamette and has been at several locations since.
“She believes the desire of a person to “have a picture taken” is still universal but that studios have been called on less and less to do the picture taking because of developments in home movies and individual interest in camera equipment.
“LARGE FAMILY GROUPS. “There seems to be a revival in interest in photographs of large family groups,” she explains. “These seemed to go out during the 1930’s.”
“As for the thousands of people viewed by Mrs. Romane through her camera the past half century she says they “haven’t changed much.” But clothing and hair styles have changed many times only to return.
“Oregon’s Centenial celebration reminds her that whiskers, beards and pioneer costumes seen today were much in popular favor during the Eugene pageants a couple decades ago and in the era when she arrived in the city and “had to dodge around the mud holes” on Willamette Street. Register-Guard (Eugene), 10 May 1959.