The Museum acquired the Weiss Studio collection through the purchase of the Leon Studio Collection. The Weiss collection was purchased by Leon and Nelda Kubala in 1949. The Weiss collection spans from the late 1920s to the late 1940s and captures the early essence of Seguin and Guadalupe County. Currently the collection is in the process of being sorted, stored and digitized since the museum acquired the collection in 1998.
Willy Max (Maximillan) Weiss was born in Germany. In the early 1920s he stowed away as a teenager to Mexico and then later traveled to New Braunfels, Texas. For a short while he worked at a grocery store and then later became interested in photography.
During this time, he saved his money and bought an 8×10 camera. He would walk around New Braunfels making appointments and then returning with his camera to take pictures. He did photography for about three years starting in 1928. In the mean time, he met and married the daughter of the mayor of New Braunfels, Hetta.
In 1932, Willy and Hetta Weiss bought Ebherhards studio in Seguin (Today’s Nelson Building on North Austin St). Weiss did photography and Hetta learned to hand color (or tint). Many beautiful portraits are evident in the collections; they photographed everything from wrecks, animals, babies, confirmations, weddings and funerals.
They built a home on Humphreys St and bought a farm on Capote Road. That year, the pecan bottom on his property produced enough pecans to pay for the homestead; meanwhile business at Weiss Studio was good.
In 1948 Weiss sold the studio to Weldon Ballard and he continued photography as Ballard Studio. Willy and Hetta moved out to the country where they enjoyed living and were successful raising cattle and pecans. Both Willy and Hetta are buried in New Braunfels at the Comal Cemetery.