Buffalo and its German Community, Pages 306 - 310

Biographies for William B. Kamprath (continued), William J. Gomph, Charles Wm. Miller, Chas. O. Smith, Charles H. North, and Frank J. Offermann


William B. Kamprath

Beginning of biography of William B. Kamprath is at Webpage 45

In 1910 and 1911 he held night school classes for typesetters and printing apprentices. Thirdly he was employed at the day school, from 1908 to 1909 as a teacher of 8th Grade at Schools 12 and 44. The other half year he was assistant principal for the Primary Grades Department of School 44, where 26 female instructors and 1200 students were under his guidance. In September 1910 he was appointed principal of the Broadway Vocational School of Printing, in which he oversaw subject instruction in all branches of the art of book printing. In 1911 he became chief editor of all publications of the Vocational Department of Schools in Buffalo. In this capacity he published the weekly paper The Week in Review and Vocational Education, the journal which serves to instruct and enlighten, discussing all that is worth knowing in the field of progressive education. The journal is sent out from Albany to all teachers and special interest groups in the United States. Two issues of this excellent journal have been published so far, one for May 1911 and one for May 1912. The journal deals with teaching issues and contains illustrative articles on the work of the Vocational Department. The journal should soon appear 4 times per year. Both publications are issued by the printing school and well demonstrate the degree of achievement at the school.

Mr. William B. Kamprath is not just an excellent educator. He has an artistic inclination and talent which come in handy in his chosen profession. He himself is a performing artist of the violin and he has performed with many choirs. He is a member of Emmaus Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Emmaus Youth League, of which he has been a directing counselor for 7 years. The debate and literary groups of this league were organized by him. For 4 years Mr. Kamprath has been president of the N.Y. District of the Walther League. Furthermore he is a member of the Buffalo Schoolmasters Association, for which he was honored by his appointment as secretary last May. This honor bespeaks the respect he enjoys among his colleagues. Mr. Kamprath belongs to the Buffalo Manual Teachers Association, the Buffalo Art Teachers Association, the N.Y. State Teachers Association, and the Y.M.C.A., Central Department. He resides with his parents at 34 Wohlers Avenue.

The German models for the structure of the printing school include the Munich Secondary Trade School, which is under the direction of Prof. Kerschensteiner.


Two years ago Prof. Kerschensteiner came to the United States and Buffalo. His influence was a strong stimulus in the forming of the printing school. There have been plans to relocate the School of Printing to its own building. Since its founding it has been located in the building of School No. 44. Other plans call for the school's expansion. It may become a part-time continuing education school for all typesetting and printing apprentices. Those employing the students should follow the German model and give their apprentices a half day off per week with pay to attend classes. Buffalo would become the first city in the State of New York to have a school of this kind, thus testifying to the progressiveness of our School Department and the extraordinary ability of Mr. Kamprath, the principal of the printing school. The Broadway Vocational School of Printing, which had 120 students and 2 teachers in the last school year, divided its curriculum between practical and theoretical courses. Along with instruction on the technical aspects of printing, scientific instruction is also given with special emphasis on those fields of knowledge most useful to the book printing profession. The pictures accompanying this biography illustrate both sides of this trade school's work - the theory and practice. Thus the school is administered in a very capable way by an excellent educator, Mr. William B. Kamprath.

William J. Gomph

Mr. William J. Gomph is a true musician and a master on the organ, whose artist force has not yet reached its apex. He comes from an artistic German family. He was born on August 10, 1878 in Albany, N.Y. as the son of musician Wm. C. Gomph. His grandfather emigrated from Schleswig-Holstein in the middle of the last century.

William J. Gomph received a good education in the schools of his father city. At an early age he demonstrated a significant musical talent. It's understandable that his father laid out an artistic path for him. His father was his first teacher. He went to Europe for many years and studied under the best masters in London and Paris.

In 1894 Mr. Gomph came to Buffalo, where he assumed the position of organist for the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church. After a few years he became organist for the Delaware Avenue Baptist Church then he returned after 4 years to the Lafayette Avenue Church, where he has remained ever since. Besides this he is organist for Temple Beth Zion and the Buffalo Scottish Rite Cathedral. For the Pan-American Exposition he was the official organist and at the St. Louis World Exposition he was assistant organist. His reputation as an excellent organist is well established and well known beyond the city limits. He's been repeatedly called upon to be soloist at large public performances at places such as the Convention Hall in Buffalo and other cities.

Caption under picture at upper right reads William J. Gomph


Mr. Gomph is a sought-after piano teacher and many of his students have made names for themselves as accomplished pianists.

Mr. Gomph is a respected Free Mason who reached the level of the 32nd degree many years ago. He has been a success at all his artistic endeavors and he has remained a humble, lovable human being esteemed as a fine member of society in all circles in which he travels.

On April 28, 1903 Mr. Gomph married Miss Mary L. Williams. He lives with her and their nine-year-old daughter, Martha, in a happy home at 568 Auburn Avenue.

Charles Wm. Miller

Whoever is the least bit familiar with Buffalo knows Miller's Silk Shop. It is a business of well-deserved good reputation and individual character. The showrooms are on the second floor of the Brisbane Building in the center of the business quarter. There is no other shop in the city which is as bright and friendly as Miller's Silk Shop.

The owner of this establishment, Mr. Chas. Wm. Miller, was born on March 9, 1859 in Erie, Pa. as the son of German parents and he received a proper German education. He attended the public schools and then went into the haberdashery business of Walther Bros., where he received his first training as a merchant. His ability, hard work, and dedication to service helped him advance quickly.

In 1880 Mr. Miller came to Buffalo and found a position at the well known firm of Adam, Meldrum, & Anderson Co. Here one could find special gifts, silks and velvet goods. For 29 years he worked for this firm, first as a saleman and then as a buyer of silks and velvet goods. It was a lucrative position.

Three years ago Mr. Miller decided to start his own business and he opened a shop in the Brisbane Building at the corner of Main Street and Lafayette Square. He deals chiefly in silk and velvet goods of the best quality and carries fine linen and lace. He sells items at wholesale and retail. Under his capable management and that of his loving wife, who is his excellent assistant, the business has grown with each year. Once a customer starts to shop there, he always comes back and brings new customers with him. Everyone knows that one receives honest service and the best goods at affordable prices. Mr. Miller's motto is "Come on up the flight of stairs and save some money." Once one has bought something there, one understands the motto.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Charles Wm. Miller


Mr. Miller is a member of the Hiram Lodge and the Zuleika Grotto of the Order of Free Masons, the Queen City Lodge of the Order of the Royal Arcanum, and he is a many-yeared member of the Buffalo Orpheus and other organizations. His open, friendly manner and his honorable character have earned him a large circle of friends. He lives with his wife Maria, nee Spring, in a cozy home at 166 Highland Avenue. His first wife Julia, nee Burgard, died, as did his only daughter Blanche, who was 21 years of age.

Chas. O. Smith

A large number of important photographic businesses in Buffalo are in the hands of German-Americans. Among those the studio of Chas. O. Smith is listed as one of the best. The works produced at this studio attest to artistic perfection and a fine degree of discernment. Thus it was that during the National Beauty Competition of the Western New York District Mr. Smith won first prize for best picture.

Mr. Chas. O. Smith was born on December 18, 1863 in Altenburg on the Saale. He was the son of Mr. Friedrich Moritz Sigismund, once a non-commissioned officer. The father had married Miss Christina Fredericka, daughter of the well-known city economist Menzel in Naumburg on the Saale. Their son, Chas. O., came to America and legally changed his name when he became a citizen for business reasons. Chas. received a good education and then became a merchant. He came to America in May 1883 on a speculation venture but the deal fell through. He learned photography while in Toledo and in 1884 he came to Buffalo. Here he opened Smith's Photo. Studio in the building at 446 - 448 Main Street in 1885. He owned this business for 15 years until 1905. Then he relocated the business to 476 Main Street, where you'll still find him today. He has a fine reputation and a healthy number of clients.

Mr. Smith descended from an old soldiering family. His grandfather was in the Napoleonic Campaign of 1806 - 7 years in the riflery guard in Russia. Later he became a gamekeeper for the Baron von Bodenhausen. Many of his brothers are in service to the state.

Mr. Smith married Miss Alice K. Bodine in this city in 1886. She was born in Wayne, N.Y. Two children have come from the happy union. His son, Leon H. Smith, is 19 years old and a student, who graduated this year from Lafayette High School. His daughter's name is Charlena Alice Josephine. Mr. Smith is an active member of the Orpheus Singing Society. He is also a member of the National Photographic Association. He lives with his family in a beautiful house at 20 Brantford Street.

Caption under picture at upper right reads Chas. O. Smith


Charles H. North

When one is naming the well known Germans of Buffalo's East Side one must not forget Charles H. North. He's lived there since 1879 and has played a significant role within the German community. He was born on February 13, 1862 in Hohenroth near Neustadt on the Saale. He was the son of economist Georg North and his wife Juliana. He attended the Latin School in Neustadt, graduated from the academic High School in Münerstadt, and went into the employment of the Post and Telegraph Service.

In 1878 he emigrated to the United States and after a year in New York he came on July 21st to Buffalo. Until November 15, 1904 he held a responsible position at Crandall House and the Crandall Horse Co. Later he took over a tavern at the corner of Sycamore and Pratt Streets, from which he retired about a year ago in order to establish himself as a notary and real estate agent. Mr. North is considered one of the best bookkeepers and accountants in the city. He is often sought out by banks and large firms as an auditing expert. His advocacy is much to thank for the building of a German hospital. He has regularly taken part in all German endeavors. He is a member of many clubs and lodges. For a year he was president of the Bavarian Mens Choir. He is an excellent member of society and he is loved by all who know him.

Frank J. Offermann

Buffalo's well known printing shop owner, Mr. Frank J. Offerman, is a child of Buffalo. He was born on September 6, 1876 as the son of Mr. Gottfried Offermann. His father came from Cologne on the Rhine and settled in this city in 1863. His mother, born Geneva Barth, first saw the light of the world in Williamsville, N.Y. Young Frank received an excellent education. After graduating from the famous Canisius College he became a clerk at the Lake Shore Railroad Office. He spent 2 years there. Then for 5 years he ran a wine and beer business. After this time he established a printing shop which mainly produced yearly calendars and advertising novelties for commercial establishments. His immense talent and untiring drive led Mr. Offermann to build an important business.

Mr. Offermann is a member of St. Mary's Church and he belongs to many social groups such as the Elks, the Eagles, the Moose Lodge, the Orpheus, the C.M.B.A., the Buffalo Automobile Club, and the Wine and Liquor Dealers Association. On October 6, 1898 he married Miss Gertrude Dörfler. He lives with her in a pleasant home at 296 Hickory Street. His place of business is at 301 Broadway.

Caption under picture at lower left reads Charles H. North


Go to next set of biographies

Go to Index


Susan Kriegbaum-Hanks
Revised September 8, 2005