In 1909, a young gentleman known to posterity only as Mr Wilson posed for a series of pics in a bear costume in an Auckland photographic studio. Was Mr Wilson the Hot Furrie of 1909 or did he just like dressing up in a bear costume?
Acclaimed New Zealand photographer Herman John Schmidt ran his photographic studio in Auckland’s Edson’s Building from 1908 until 1942.
In 1970, with the building scheduled for demolition, a workman discovered thousands of plate negatives in the building’s attic. A team of rescuers ran relays climbing up to the attic. They recovered a total of 26,000 photographic plate negatives.
Among the photographs, is a series of pics of Mr Wilson in a bear costume taken in 1909.
And that’s about all we know. The bear costume is a little worse for wear and Mr Wilson poses in it before a somewhat faded painted backdrop. He displays a sense of humour with the bear holding up a cracker and a bottle of wine in one image.
In another photo, Mr Wilson reveals himself as a good-looking young man, posing in the costume but with the bear’s head sitting on his shoulder.
So we are left with a mystery. Was young Mr Wilson a hot furrie of the Edwardian era or simply a guy who wanted some pics and there just happened to be an old bear costume lying around?
We will likely never know and a bit of mystery won’t hurt us.
Cheers, Mr Wilson. We hope you enjoyed your photographic session.
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