Leon Studios

Nelda and Leon Kubala

The Museum houses one of the most important collections in Seguin the Leon Studio photographic collection. The Leon photo collection spans from the 1930s to the 1990s and includes the Ballard and Weiss photo and negative collections. Their collection is one of the most important collections in the Museum, documenting the life of Seguin over the past few decades. The collection, which is estimated to contain over 100,000 negatives and 100,000 photos, is in the process of being sorted, stored and digitized since the museum acquired the collection in 1998.

Leon Kubala was born on November 18, 1913 in Lost Prairie (Bell County), Texas. He grew up in the Scheffel Community, in Guadalupe County, where his father was a teacher. In 1935 he moved to Seguin to work with Weiss Studio.

Leon worked with Weiss and learned the photography business. In 1943 Leon meet Nelda Germann (born April 23, 1924) when she started working for Weiss.

Leon opened his own studio in 1944 which was located at 111 West Gonzales St, in downtown Seguin. A few months later, Nelda later joined him to work at the new studio. After a short time working together they married on September 3, 1948.

Leon and Nelda continued their business in downtown Seguin for over fifty years. Since Leon worked in photography from 1935 until the 1990s, he could remember the earliest times when daylight was used in studios and when igniting an explosive to make a bright light was used for a flash. With the invention of color photography it helped boost their business. For the earliest wedding photos, the wedding party drove to the studio to posed, but with their color equipment Leon was able to travel throughout the community and spend whole afternoons and evening, capturing the moments.

For many people in the community, they can still remember when Leon and Nelda displayed old photos in their studio window and everybody had to pass by and see what they had put up. It was a way to showcase the whole community.

After their retirement in the 1990s, the studio sat vacant until 1998 when the photo and negative collection was transferred to the Seguin-Guadalupe County Heritage Museum. Leon passed away on June 25, 2006 and Nelda passed away on January 28, 2013. Both are buried at San Geronimo Cemetery in Seguin.