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Louis Peter Keyser, Chief Photographer (retired) of the Bureau, passed away on May 2, 1944, after a very brief illness.

Mr. 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” party.

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.

In: “The Buzzard,” Vol. XI, No. 19, pp. 2-3. May 11, 1944.

Publication of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), NOAA Central Library.

Last Updated: June 8, 2006 9:24 AM

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