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Boysen was originally a Pillsbury Business Partner
Born on December 28th, 1868 in San Francisco, Julius Boysen was the son of Julius Boysen, a native of Hamburg, and his wife, Albina Lundstrom. The family resided at 514 Pine Street In San Francisco. His baptism was witnesses by William Bohn, Beda Bohn, Charles Lundstrom, and Albina Lundstrom.
He met his wife, Mabel Sweetland of Lemoore, California, while she was visiting Yosemite with friends. The couple were married February 11, 1900. Mr. Boysen had two sisters, Miss Teresa Boysen and Mrs. Emily B. Vale. Both lived in San Francisco.
Boysen first came to Yosemite to work on the trails.
He and Arthur Pillsbury agreed to go into business together, purchasing the needed supplies to be used and sharing the photos Pillsbury had taken during his summers in Yosemite from 1895 until that time, 1897. Then, Pillsbury's marriage fell apart and he decided to go to the Yukon, selling his share in the studio to Boysen. Boysen opened his shop, first in a tent, the next year, 1898.
It was later replaced with a wooden building.
In 1925 he moved to the New Village, having built the shop now known as the Pohono Studio.
The couple had one child, a daughter, Ellen Boysen. Her married name is Ellen St. Clair.
Boysen's strong suit was developing and finishing. In this he was so excellent Yosemite visitors continued to send him their films from all over the world, Scotland, Africa, etc. His daughter, Mrs. St. Clair, remembers his anger when his employees failed to meet his rigid standards. Although many have not seen his scenic views these were also beautiful and highly professional.
One of Julius Boysen's 'projects' was a collection of Yosemite ferns. He gathered nearly twenty varieties. These he pressed, maing souvenir card sets, which sold from $1.50 to $5.00.
Julius Theodore Boysen died in Sacramento on May 29, 1939 after a long illness.
His wife, Mabel, continued to manage the business until her sudden death, May 10, 1943. At that time their daughter, Mrs. Ellen T. Clair, acted as executrix, selling the property to Yosemite Park and Curry Company, "including buildings, equipment, furnishings, inventories, negtives, goodwille, etc, etc," for $7,000. This was approved by Frank A. Kittredge, August 23rd, 1943.
Mabel Boysen is remembered for her friendship and kindness to the Indians. Many baskets collected by her are in the Museum in Yosemite. Others are now in the possession of her granddaughter, Mrs. Edward B. Wells.
A clipping, including no date or time, but with an addition written in ink says,
"May 28, 1936
Thirty-five years ago
Ellen Boysen, the little daughter of J. T. Boysen, had the honor of particular notice from President Roosevelt during his visit to the Yosemite Valley, for the President, then passing , saw her little face in the crowds and approached her individually and gave her both his hands and his blessing."
Miss Boysen was the first woman to be employed by Camp Curry as a driver. She as noted for her skill on steep mountain grades. To her went the honor of driving Willian G. McAdoo, Secretary of the Treasury, and his party, all about the park. Clipping refers to a photograph showing Mrs. St. Clair at the wheel.
From document in the Yosemite Archive.
The Boysen Negatives
Were sold to the YP & CC on August 23, 1943. We have yet to ascertain if they were stored with the negatives of George Fiske, but this seems probable.