Thursday, May 30th, 2024
Review Magazine Uncategorized

Remembering the 50s

If you’ve seen photos of Millersville University from the 1950s, there’s a good chance they were taken by Myron Bird, class of 1957.

If you’ve seen photos of Millersville University from the 1950s, there’s a good chance they were taken by Myron Bird, class of 1957. Whether it’s photos of Old Main, the campus “lake” as it was called then, football on Brooks Field or photos of Dr. and Mrs. Biemesderfer, they were likely taken by Bird. Several of his photos are shown on these pages and you can view hundreds of his photos and negatives in Archives and Special Collections at the Francine G. McNairy Library and Learning Forum.

Myron Bird has taken photographs for a long time. “I was given a camera when I was a child. Mother paid 50 cents for it. It was a Baby Brownie, not great quality, but I took a lot of pictures with it. My parents set me up with a darkroom in my bedroom,” says Bird.

Bird kept going with photography in high school and built his own enlarger, which he used at Millersville University. At Millersville he started taking photos for the yearbook his freshman year with a Rolleiflex Camera his mother brought back from Germany.

“Using a strobe light for flash was just coming out. I came across an article in Popular Science or a photography magazine on how to build a strobe flash unit. So, for a project in electricity in industrial arts, I built my own strobe flash unit,” Bird says. “With that unit, I was able to take photos at basketball games. It was faster than any shutter speeds at that time. It would freeze the frame to 1,1000 of a second. Saved me the cost of buying flash bulbs.”

Bird had a darkroom set up in Old Main on campus. “It was up on the third floor,” says Bird. “It was an old residence room—the smallest of the singles. In it I had my homemade enlarger. The school didn’t give me equipment, they just provided the room. I was the unofficial University photographer.”

During his time at Millersville, Bird also taught himself to silk screen. Osburn Hall on campus is named after Dr. Burl Neff Osburn, who was Bird’s professor and advisor in the Industrial Arts Department at Millersville State Teacher’s College. “He encouraged me to try new things like silk screening, even though he didn’t know anything about it. No one else was interested in it. I was the first one to do it at Millersville. I published a book using a silk screen process, “Printers Marks,” which is in the library.”

After Millersville, Bird taught in York City Schools, in New Jersey and even Germany. “While in Germany, I bought a Nikon camera. It was a 35mm camera. I took thousands of photographs in and around Europe. I have boxes and boxes of slides of Europe,” says Bird.

When Bird returned to the U.S. he worked for “The Pennsylvania State Hospital for Crippled Children in Elizabethtown” and did their in-house printing and served as their industrial arts teacher.

“I applied my photography and graphic arts skills and did their in-house printing for nine years.”

When the hospital closed he became a locksmith and worked in that profession from 1974-2000.  “Most of the locksmithing was for commercial and industrial customers,” says Bird. “I would key a 400-room hotel with a master key, as well as work in high security locations.”

These days you can find him traveling in his RV. “I’m still taking photos, just not as much as I used to.”

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