Herman John Schmidt was born in Auckland in 1872. At 14, he was apprenticed to the well-known local photographer Charles Hemus, and by 1900 Hemus had appointed him manager. In 1904 marriage, and international recognition at the St Louis World's Fair, brought Herman equal billing - the studio being renamed the Schmidt Hemus Studios. Around 1907 Herman’s father purchased the business, and it became the Schmidt Studios. Herman retired in 1942, and died in 1959.
In the summer of 1970, during demolition work, some 27,000 glass plate negatives, a number of business ledgers, and a small collection of correspondence were discovered hidden away in the attic of 270 Queen Street. A team of Library staff, led by New Zealand & Pacific Librarian, Pat French, mounted a rescue operation. The rescued treasures now form the Library's Schmidt Collection.
From Special Collections, Auckland Libraries.