Bradley Beach photographer Milton Edelman, who is 94 and been taking pictures of the Asbury Park area for decades, will be recognized and honored at the Asbury Park Historical Society’s annual reorganization meeting on Thurs., Jan. 19.
“Milton took many iconic images of Asbury Park and the surrounding area. He was all over the place and many of his photographs are now important and historic. It will be a pleasure for Milton to see how much the public had appreciated his contributions. His beloved photographs, which include the Mayfair Theatre, Swan Boat Ride, and Palace Amusements, are endearing and his entire collection is a favorite of visitors to my store,” said Edelman’s friend and Historical Society Trustee Kay Harris, who also owns the Asbury Galleria in Convention Hall where she sells Edelman’s works.
The Historical Society meeting, to be held at the Asbury Park Public Library at the intersection of First and Grand avenues, begins at 7 p.m. Refreshments will be served. The meeting is also the society’s annual membership drive.
A Powerpoint presentation on Edelman’s life and career, including many photographs, will be presented at the reorganization meeting. Examples of Edelman’s photographs will also be displayed and for sale, and, if he is feeling up to it, he will also be there to sign copies.
Born in Baltimore, at 17 Edelman worked as a compositor setting up type at a printing business. When he was 21, he entered the U.S. Army in 1943, serving until 1945.
“I always had a love of photography and even took pictures on the Queen Mary when I was being shipped from America to Great Britain during the war. I always had a pocket camera with me and took photos during the war,” he said.
After the war, Edelman went to photography school in Baltimore, graduating in 1948.
“I was always attracted to the artistic part of photography. Anything that interested me was a subject. I have always had a camera since I was a teenager,” he said.
Edelman then went to New York City and worked as a bus boy at the Metropolitan Hotel. But, after only two weeks, he got a job at the Jumping Brook Country Club in Neptune, where he was trained as a French service waiter.
In 1950, Edelman moved to Crystal City, Texas where he opened and operated “Milton’s Photography Studio” from 1950 to 1955.
In 1955, Milton moved to Asbury Park where he worked as a photographer for Storyland Village, a children’s theme park located just off the Asbury Park traffic circle, where HomeGoods and ShopRite are now located in Neptune. From there Edelman was hired as the photographer for Asbury Park’s Monterey Hotel in 1955 and remained there until it closed in 1961.
Edelman then opened his own photography studio in the Oakhurst section of Ocean Township and remained there for 15 years.
“I decided to stay here – I like the jersey Shore. I was busy all the time and opening my own studio paid off in the end,” he said.
Over the years, Edelman took numerous photos in the Asbury Park area, including the boat shows held at the Convention Hall, beauty pageants, parades, political events and other assignments. He eventually moved his business to Neptune where he operated for another 10 years.
He was also a partner in a business that manufactured circuit boards for computers and electronic devices.
“I am very satisfied with my accomplishments and took a lot of photographs. I still have them and I am very proud of a lot of it,” he said.
And Harris urges the public to attend the reorganization meeting on Jan. 19 and get a look at how Asbury Park and the surrounding communities looked like decades ago.
“We are trying to save Milton’s photographs for posterity and the Historical Society is helping out down this path,” she said.
Edelman has retained the negatives and numerous images of individual and family photographs from 1961 to the 1980’s, as well as many from St. Jerome’s Catholic High School in West Long Branch. He has transferred this collection of negatives (and some photographs) to the Asbury Park Historical Society. A listing of more than 500 names of people who had photographs taken by Edelman is posted on-line at www.APHistoricalSociety.org. Anyone who recognizes a name on the list can acquire the negatives at the Jan. 19 meeting. There is no charge but a donation to the APHS is also appreciated.
People can also renew their membership or join the Historical Society at the same web site.