Photographer Walter Aegerter (July 8, 1894-May 28, 1965) was born in Helvetia, Randolph County. He was the youngest son of Gottfried and Marianna Dubach Aegerter, who immigrated from Switzerland to Helvetia, in 1885. Walter made his living as a farmer but took up amateur photography as a young man, learning the trade from his father. By the 1890s, the Aegerters were turning out dozens of photographs of local families and the community, using the contemporary glass dry-plate technology. At his death, Aegerter left a large collection of hundreds of images documenting life in this small, Swiss German settlement between the years 1890 and 1930. The glass plate negatives survive to this day, and many photographs are housed at the West Virginia State Archives in Charleston and the West Virginia and Regional History Collection at West Virginia University. Aegerter died in Upshur County.
This Article was written by David Sutton
Last Revised on September 24, 2012
Sutton, David H. One's Own Hearth Is Like Gold: A History of Helvetia. New York: Peter Lang, 1990.
Sutton, David H. A West Virginia Swiss Community: The Aegerter Photographs of Helvetia, Randolph County. Goldenseal, April-June 1980.
Sutton, David H. Portrait of a Community: The Aegerter Photographs of Helvetia. Permanent exhibit. Helvetia Community Hall. Helvetia.