Leon Studios

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.

Nelda and Leon Kubala

 

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 is buried at San Geronimo Cemetery in Seguin.

Below are examples of his work

                        

Title: Unidentified Bride                                          Title: Barbara Howell Ryan
Number: n/a                                                               Number: 59-149
Photographer: Leon                                                 Photographer: Leon
Date: 1940s                                                                Date: 1959

 

Title: Automobile Wreck                                        Title: Bauer-Smith Wedding
Number: n/a                                                             Number: 50-475
Photographer: Leon                                               Photographer: Leon
Date: n/a                                                                   Date: 1950

 

Title: Stockdale Jubilee Coronation of              Title: Gudarramas Dance Hall
Queen Melone, Su Zanne Cotter-Queen           Number: 46-028
Number: n/a                                                           Photographer: Leon                                             Photographer: Leon                                             Date: 1946
Date: 1978                                                           

 

Title: June 19th Float, Ruth Scott- Queen        Title: Texas Lutheran College Cheerleaders 
Number: 49-184                                                   Number: n/a
Photographer: Leon                                           Photographer: Leon
Date: 1949                                                            Date: late 1970s – early 1980s

  

Title: Perry’s Grand Opening                              Title: Trade Days in Central Park  
Number: 59-022                                                     Number: n/a
Photographer: Leon                                             Photographer: Leon
Date: 1959                                                              Date: Mid 1930s

For information about photo reproduction and research, click here.

ALL PHOTOS ARE COPYRIGHTED BY THE SEGUIN-GUADALUPE COUNTY HERITAGE MUSEUM, INC.