Randy Drais on “William H. Tipton: The Man Behind the Camera”
Most Battle of Gettysburg buffs have heard about Gettysburg photographer William H. Tipton. Tipton studied photography as the apprentice of Charles and Isaac Tyson, who were among the earliest Gettysburg photographers, and he later went into business for himself, taking thousands of photographs of visitors to the Gettysburg battlefield, where he also established Tipton Park and was a major force behind the establishment of the Gettysburg Electric Railway’s trolley line on the battlefield.
By 1888, Tipton had produced approximately 5,000 views of the Gettysburg battlefield (the vast majority of the collection was acquired by the Gettysburg National Military Park from C. Tyson Tipton in 1935) and more than 100,000 portraits. Join amateur historian Randy Drais as we learn not only about William H. Tipton’s many influences on Gettysburg, the battlefield, and the Gettysburg National Military Park, but also his family and their involvement as well, and view many of Tipton’s rarely seen battlefield photographs.
Born and raised in York, Pennsylvania, Randy Drais developed a keen interest in the Battle of Gettysburg and the Gettysburg Campaign immediately after a 5th grade field trip to that famous Civil War battlefield. A lifelong passion to learn more resulted in his creation in March of 2008 of a website, battleofgettysburgbuff.com, for individuals who wish to learn and do more than the average visitor to the battlefield. A “companion” website, battleofgettysburgbuff.net, Facebook page, and a quarterly newsletter soon followed.
A graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in International Studies, Randy has worked in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania Senate, and the Pennsylvania Department of State. Married with two daughters, Randy retired on January 1, 2015 and now devotes even more time to his main passion, learning even more about the Battle of Gettysburg and sharing that information with others. He has also co-authored “Texans at Gettysburg: Blood and Glory with Hood’s Texas Brigade” and is currently working on a second volume.