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Bolger Heritage Center New Feature looking back at the 1920 census to see who lived in Ridgewood

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, from the Bolger Heritage Center, at the Ridgewood Public Library , by now, you should know it’s 2020 “census time.” We at Bolger Heritage Center thought we’d start a new feature—occasionally looking back at the 1920 census to see who lived in Ridgewood at the time of that century-old census.

First up—Joseph Gaylord Gessford and his wife Marion. Gessford had a photography studio on Fifth Ave. and among his famous photographic subjects were Buffalo Bill, Mark Twain, George Westinghouse, and Teddy Roosevelt (not seen here). The Gessfords came to Ridgewood in 1908 and stayed on Lincoln Ave. until 1928. Several of his photographs are in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC.

Twain was quoted as saying he “liked the proofs” of his portrait, and his personal secretary noted that it was the one photograph of Twain that had “fire in his eyes.” Twain said it was because he was beginning to lose his temper, and “was on the verge of saying so when the final exposure was made.”

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