Louis Peter Keyser, Chief
Photographer (retired) of the Bureau, passed away on May 2,
1944, after a very brief illness.
Keyser was a lifetime resident of the District of Columbia,
having been born here on October 24, 1869. His family had lived
a longtime in the District and Mr. Keyser was well acquainted
with local history.
After attending local schools and Columbia College, he entered
the Bureau on February 11, 1887, as an electrotypist. The Bureau
was then in the Treasury Department. He became Photographer
on February 1, 1895, and Chief Photographer on September 15,
1924. After fifty years of service, he retired on December 31,
1937, with the record of having taken no sick leave and very
little annual leave. He also had the record of serving under
7 Superintendents or Directors of the Bureau – Thorn,
Mendenhall, Duffield, Pritchett, Tittmann, Jones, and Patton.
Mr. Keyser was a member of Dawson Lodge, No. 16, F.A.A.M., Mt.
Vernon Chapter No. 3, Orient Commandery No. 5, Almas Temple
of the Mystic Shrine, Anchor Club, and Society of the Oldest
Inhabitants of the District. During his long service in the
Bureau, Mr. Keyser was very popular with the employees. He took
great pride in his office in the new building, which was the
center for many a friendly gathering or “surprise”
In his early years he loved fishing and canoeing. He enjoyed
the outdoors and took many trips through the mountains and valleys.
Flowers were one of his hobbies and he spent many hours in his
garden at home. Even after retirement he kept in touch with
his friends in the office and went on many motor trips with
them. His enthusiasm and zest for life belied his actual years.
Many of the employees have interesting anecdotes regarding “Louie,”
especially when he was saving dimes in an old cigar box in his
office, and would let his “special” friends run
their fingers through his pile of metal. He was a frequent visitor
to the late “Captain” Henry’s place at Shadyside,
Md., where he used to spend many an enjoyable hour.
His last trip was to Baltimore on Easter Monday with his brother
Dr. Carl Keyser. A few days later he developed a severe cold
and bronchitis. He had practically recovered from this illness
when his condition changed, and he passed away very suddenly.
Burial was at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Louis P. Keyser has well earned his place in Coast Survey History
– not only for his fifty years of faithful service, but
for his devotion and loyalty to the Bureau and its employees.
He has become one of its traditions.
“The Buzzard,” Vol. XI, No. 19, pp. 2-3. May 11,