BOB BARTOSZ has been to official photographer of Camden County since about the beginning of time.... well, make that 1954. I would not be exaggerating if I said that his work provided a lot of inspiration for this website.
The son of Carl and Ethel Bartosz, Bob Bartosz' early years were spent at 628 North 35th Street in East Camden. He was already shooting pictures for area newspapers when he graduated from Camden County Vocational School in Pennsauken in 1954.
Bob Bartoz, Bob Dolan, and a several other men interested in Fire Service in Camden founded the South jersey Fire Buffs in the mid-1950s. The group aided Rev. William Gwynne of the Volunteers of America in operating a mobile canteen to assist Camden fire fighters.
Bob Bartosz married his wife Pat on February 15, 1958. Bob Dolan was his best man.
Bob Bartosz worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Bulletin, and from 1959 until his retirement in 1982, for the Camden Courier-Post. He worked as a Camden County Park police officer for 10 years in the 1960s. Besides his over 50 years of service as the official fire photographer for Camden County, he has over 40 years of service to Camden itself, having been in 1964 appointed official fire photographer for the Camden City Fire Department. He is an honorary battalion chief for Camden City Fire Department, and also assisted in getting the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund launched.
Bob Bartosz continues to serve Camden's Firefighters. Through his efforts, on May 16, 2006 Firefighter William Hillman, lost in the Sixth Regiment Armory fire of March 1906, finally had a tombstone placed over his remains, with full honors.
The subject of a long-overdue tribute in the Courier-Post written by Tom Bergbauer, Bob Bartosz has been chronicling Camden for over 50 years. This website in particular as well as anyone who has an interest in just about any aspect of Camden history owes Bob Bartosz a tremendous amount of thanks. I could go on and on, but I'll restrain myself and post Tom Bergbauer's article, and a few other items here.
Among other honors, Bob has been named an Honorary Deputy Chief of the Camden Fire Department.
Bob, if and when you see this, THANK YOU from ALL of us for your work and for the spirit in which you continue to serve our community in.
H. Davis School
Miss Ada Haley's 5th Grade Class
|Do You Recognize Anyone Here?????|
Bob Bartosz and Bob Dolan....
My Dad knew Bob Dolan since they were teenagers. My Mom met him when she was dating my Dad in the 1950's. My Dad and Bob went to thousands of fires together for many years. They always stayed in touch with each other and had long talks on the phone.
Bob Dolan was interested in many projects. All of them were around helping people..
In the mid 1950's my Dad and Bob formed a Fire Buff Club called South Jersey Fire Buffs Assoc. and Bob Dolan was the first president of the Club. They teamed up with a local Reverend, William Gwynne. Rev. Gwynne was noted for taking coffee and cold drinks to Camden Fire Fighters whenever there was a major fire in the City. He normally worked out of the back of his station wagon with his wife serving refreshments to the firemen. Bob Dolan would go with him to help him out. Bob was an auxiliary fireman in Camden City but my Dad was too young to join but my Dad traveled with Bob taking pictures of the fires. They had an idea and they raised money from donations and in less than a year they reached their goal and the truck was purchased. The Canteen truck had many homes and its last storage place was at the Pennsauken 2 Fire Station and many of the firemen helped them run the canteen. As the years went by many of the members passed away including the Reverend and his wife and in the late 1970's the Fire Buff Club only had three of its original members and went out of existence. You can see many of the photos on display of the happier times showing Bob Dolan and the members of the South Jersey Fire Buffs Association at work from the photos that my Dad took.
In 1956 Bob Dolan was drafted in the Service and in 1958 my Mom & Dad were married. Bob Dolan was able to get a weekend leave and he was the best man in their wedding. It started out to be a beautiful day on Feb. 15, 1958. As my parents arrived at the church it started to snow and Bob would tell my Dad that the snow was getting very deep outside. By mid-afternoon there was nearly 8 to 10 inches of snow on the ground and it was still snowing. My parents had their bags packed and were heading for the New Jersey Turnpike to head South. It took them almost four hours to reach Mt. Laurel and by then the Turnpike was closed. They were lucky to find a nearly motel. By days end, the snow was almost 2 feet deep. The snow also stranded Bob Dolan at my grandparents home in East Camden. For over a day and a half Bob had to walk and hitch hike back to Fort Dix. Just making it back in time so he wasn't listed as AWOL. This was one event he always liked to talk about for the last 48 years. Bob Dolan would always say his Famous Quote "If I was the Best Man Than Why Did She Marry Him".
to be confused with the notorious North Cramer Hill Gang (those guys
pulled stickups!), this fine group of life-long friends grew up in
East Camden in the 1940s & '50s, in the 500 & 600 blocks of
North 34th & North 35th Streets. As they say, you can take the boy out of Camden, but you
can't take the Camden out of the boy. This photo was
taken in 1991.
Click in Images to Enlarge
Camden Courier-Post - January 9, 2006
and fire buff makes a life that is picture perfect
By THOMAS A. BERGBAUER
was 8 years old when he took his first pictures. Sixty years and 126
awards later, Bob Bartosz still takes photographs -- as the official
photographer of the Camden County and City fire departments.
Bartosz family was living in East Camden when young Bob took to his
grandmother's Brownie box camera.
after World War II in 1945, my grandmother bought some film for the camera and
she would let me go out and take some pictures," recalls the 68-year-old
would take shots of his friends at play and says he still has those old black
and white pictures.
the time, there were a lot of police and firemen living in East Camden. When
he was 10 years old, the firefighters and policemen would take him fishing on
weekends. Then when the firemen were working, like putting out local grass
fires, he would run home and get his box camera and take pictures of them in
was just the beginning of what was to become a bonding friendship with the
firefighters and policemen in Camden County.
Bob, I was a fire buff," says Joseph Marini, chief of the Camden Fire
Department. "Bob is a lifelong buff and so am I and buffs kind of move in
the same circles, if you know what I mean."
says Bartosz is "a professional, first and foremost and has been a great
friend of firefighters for almost all of his life."
calls Bartosz, whom he has known for 40 years, "a great friend of Camden
Bartosz didn't only take photos for the fire department. He was a former
Pennsauken fireman and Camden County policeman stationed in Lakeland. He also
was an honorary Camden battalion fire chief who traveled to Chicago and Boston
to work with their fire companies to learn their firefighting methods.
he didn't take photos exclusively for the fire department. Bartosz worked for
the Courier-Post as a photographer from 1959 until he retired in 1982.
stint as a news photographer started in 1950 when he was taking pictures of an
East Camden house fire and a fireman introduced him to Philadelphia Bulletin
reporter Sara Sanderson.
asked me if the paper could use one of his pictures and told me that they pay
$5," he recalls. "So I gave her the roll of film and the next day
the story and my picture was in the paper, but I did not receive a credit line
under the shot."
then on, Bartosz says, when he took pictures of fires and accidents and
Sanderson was also at the scene, he would give her the roll of film and it
would be published in the Bulletin and he would be paid $5 for each photo.
1953, when he was 16, he had saved enough money and paid $150 to purchase his
first Super Graphic camera.
the teenager began to make a name for himself among the police and firemen in
Camden in the 1950s.
got to know all of the cops and firemen in the city," he recalls.
Bulletin began to use his work more and more and at that time he was the only
photo stringer it had in South Jersey, he says, but it still would not give
him a credit line.
1956, I took a time exposure of lightning flashes during a severe thunderstorm
and the Bulletin used it in an eight-column spread across Page One and I still
did not get credit."
magic year for him was 1954. That's when he got his driver's license, and he
was able to reach fire scenes faster and easier. That same year the Fire
Chief's Association made him the official fire photographer for Camden County.
gave me a badge and credentials at that time," he says proudly.
years later, he started his career with the Courier-Post.
day there was a fatal accident in front of the Courier-Post on Cuthbert Road
and I photographed it and the Bulletin used it on the front page," he
no credit line, William Stretch, then publisher of the Courier-Post, found out
who shot the picture. The next day Bartosz got a call from Stretch's
secretary, telling him Stretch wanted to meet him. Stretch offered him a job
at a salary he could not resist, Bartosz says.
photographer Curt Hudson says Bartosz has always had the knack.
of his fire experience, the combination to be a news photographer and a fire
photographer helps him to be able to see what is going on and know what is
going on at a fire, enabling him to get good pictures," says Hudson, a
former Courier-Post photographer and photo director.
has always had that ability," says Hudson, now a freelancer. "He did
not just stand there and take pictures of a fire, but was able to make good
pictures out of all of that commotion."
after photograph, year after year, Bartosz reaped many awards. Among them were
the 1966 Andy Lester Photographer of the Year award given by the International
Association of Fire Photographers at a conference in Chicago.
photo won over more than 1,000 others that were submitted from 37 states and
Canada and England," Bartosz says proudly.
is also particularly proud of a photo he took of the November 1969 Moratorium
March in Washington, D.C. In 1970, the photo won four first-place awards for
Bartosz: the New Jersey Sigma Delta Chi award for newspaper photography, the
National Press Photographer's Award, and honors from the New Jersey Press
Association and the Philadelphia Press Association.
photo he took, that of a boy swinging a bat titled Little Swinger, which won
the Philadelphia Eagles Award in 1971, is one of two non-Major League
photographs that hang in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.,
a former Camden County policeman, Bartosz says one of his proudest
achievements was his role in getting the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund
off the ground.
fund provides college education for the children of any fireman or policeman
killed or permanently injured in the line of duty. It raises money through
fundraising projects like golf tournaments.
got under way in 1965 when a Philadelphia policeman, wounded in the line of
duty, moved to South Jersey and suggested a fund be set up in Camden County.
Bartosz helped get the fund started and eventually became a director and
official photographer of the fund.
had a few friends of mine that were killed in the line of duty (as police and
firemen) and I always wanted to start something like that," he says.
Bartosz was not just an expert fire and accident cameraman, he also excelled
in other subjects. In 1971 he was assigned to cover the Philadelphia Phillies
at their new home, Veterans Stadium.
the years I met hundreds of players and became friendly with them," he
says. "To this day my wife, Pat, and I still receive Christmas cards from
many of them."
there is one experience he had at the Vet he will never forget.
the All-Star game was played at the Vet in 1976, I was picked to be the only
news photographer to walk out with President Gerald R. Ford and take a picture
of him throwing out the first ball," Bartosz recalls.
he already had his Secret Service clearance, Bartosz was able to photograph
every president from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan.
few hours before President Ford got to the stadium two Secret Service agents
were assigned to me," he says.
checked his camera bags and his credentials. "I was not allowed to leave
their contact. I could not talk to people and could not walk around. I had to
stay with them."
at the Courier-Post, former Sports Editor Bob Kenney had been trying to get in
touch with Bartosz because the president of Gannett Co., the owner of the
newspaper, was going to be with Ford and the Courier-Post wanted Bartosz to
get a picture of the Gannett president with Ford.
to Bartosz, Kenney finally got in touch with his wife Pat, who had tickets for
the game and had gone to the stadium early. When Pat Bartosz got to the
stadium, she was not allowed to go near her husband, so she asked a guard to
give a note to Bartosz.
transpired next was unforgettable, Bartosz relates.
the guard approached Bartosz, a Secret Service agent stopped him. The guard
told the agent that he had a message for Bartosz from the lady on the field.
When the Secret Service men read the message, they grabbed both Pat and
Bartosz and started searching him and his camera bags again.
then asked me if I knew the lady on the field. "Yes, that's my wife,' I
tell them. Come to find out my wife wrote on the note "Bob, Courier
called, shoot the man in back of the president.' "
says he "tried to make the Secret Service agents understand that the note
was just photographer's lingo. Finally the authorities contacted the paper and
got it all straightened out."
upshot? He got his pictures, the newspaper got its photos of Ford and the
Gannett president and everyone else.
job required him to be on call 24 hours a day, which took him away from home
and family all hours of the day and night.
only regret I had is that I did not see my kids grow up in the 1960s," he
he says, he is making up for it with his grandchildren.
I should die tomorrow, I had the most exciting life that the average person
could never venture to, because every day I got up, I got up looking forward
to taking pictures. I looked forward to going to work."
Thomas A. Bergbauer is a retired Courier-Post copy editor and can be reached at 856-346-0371, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Courier-Post, P.O. Box 5300, Cherry Hill 08034.
Camden Courier-Post * January 9, 2006
is the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund Emblem created by Bob Bartosz
in 1966 from one of his photos. The policeman and fireman are from
Pennsauken and the children are Bartosz's son Robert and daughter Debra.
Courier-Post artist Art Emerson drew this in 1966 from Bartosz's photo.
The emblem is still used today.
Photo courtesy of
Camden Courier-Post * January 9, 2006
|1960 - Camden County Policeman||1965 Bob Bartosz at a Pennsauken fire|
|1976- Bob Bartosz at a four-alarm fire in South Camden||
1979- Bob Bartosz at Veterans Stadium, covering a Phillies-Mets game for the Courier-Post, taking a photo of Hall of Famer Willie Mays.
Delivers Triplets at Camden NJ Fire Station
September 2007 has started out to be a busy month for members of the Camden City NJ Fire Department. Especially Rescue Company 1. You never know when the unusual is going to happen. Within the last few days they were called to a construction accident with a construction worker being injured on a eight story high rise building under construction, extrication on the North- South Freeway, person with his leg caught in a piece of machinery and numerous working dwelling fires in which fire fighters have to search for possible victims trapped and still the unusual was about to happen.
Group 4 was working a 24 hour tour and Captain Ed Glassman was in his office finishing up his fire reports for the day. Fire fighter Joe Cunningham was working the Watch Desk. Fire fighters Eddie Frontado, Mike Miller and Mike Labar were on the apparatus floor checking equipment because they just came back from a working dwelling fire. Fire fighter Labar was about to close the apparatus doors when a pregnant female came walking into the fire station, he took one look at her and knew that she was about to deliver.
He called to fire fighter Cunningham to announce on the P.A. System for all members of Rescue 1 to report to the apparatus floor for a medical emergency. Fire fighters assisted her to the rear of the station and Captain Glassman had fire fighters Miller and Frontado to gather up some clean towels, as fire fighter Labar was able to find a large cardboard box so she could be placed instead of laying on the bare apparatus floor.
That was all the Rescue 1 members could do for her at the present time. She was no stranger to the fire fighters at Liberty Street Station especially to fire fighter Danny Stratton of three group, he was off duty at the time. He especially took care of her making sure she had plenty of food to eat and as you can see by the photos, she is Smokey the fire house cat. She is an unofficial member just a neighborhood stray and a city cat who would stop by for a free handout. Fire fighters did all the could for her at the present time by making things comfortable and giving her a safe place to stay for the delivery. Later on that morning fire fighter Labar looked in on her to check how things were going and saw that she had given birth to four kittens, unfortunately one had died. She was given cat food and milk and is presently still in her back corner of the Liberty Street Station taking care of her remaining three kittens. Fire fighters hope that someone will adopt them and possibly give Smokey a better environment to grow up instead walking the city streets of Camden.
Photo 1 Fire fighter Mike Labar of Rescue Co. 1 checking on Smokey and her new arrivals.
Photos 2, 3, 4 Smokey with her kittens at Rescue 1 Station in Camden NJ.
Photo 5 Smokey's friend, fire fighter Dan Stratton of Rescue 1 stopping by for a visit.
|Click on Images for Enlarged and High Resolution Views|
Photographer Gets Photographed
For over the 50 years photographer Bob Bartosz has covered the activities of the Camden Fire Department.
On April 6, 2008, at the scene of the fire which destroyed the old Haddon Bindery on Linden Street, Camden real estate agent Craig Campbell took a photograph from which the images of Bob Bartosz at work were cropped.
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