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Barbering exhibit rich with history

Lambertville historian offers window to past

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Trudy Urbani poses Friday behind her barber artifacts display at the Bedford Branch Library in Tem-perance. Ms. Urbani says her grandfather’s shaving mug is among her most cherished possessions.

THE BLADE/LORI KING
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TEMPERANCE — Barbering as local history is the theme of an exhibit at the Bedford Branch Library during April.

The idea was the brainchild of township historian and Lambertville resident Trudy Urbani, who counts her grandfather’s porcelain shaving mug among her most cherished possessions, and was inspired by it.

Because of the shaving mug, she conceived of a two-part exhibit: one in the main display window opposite the circulation desk that contains more than 50 tools of the barbering trade, and a vitrine farther inside the library consisting of 17 antique-china shaving mugs. All the pieces are on loan from their local owners.

“The barber shops are an interesting part of our history,” Mrs. Urbani explained.

Checking out the artifacts in the display window, library patron Don Franks pointed to a model of the Erie Barber Shop, which graced downtown Erie many years ago.

“It’s a pretty good replica,” Mr. Franks, 73, said of the model. “I worked right next door to it, too, at a Mobil gas station, when I was in school.”

The main display tells the stories of Bedford’s past barbers, including Carl Shoup of Lambertville, whose first barber shop was curbside in front of his home. Later, he had a one-chair shop at Monroe and Summerfield roads, where he kept boxing gloves so youths could spar rounds outside on the dirt road.

Another Lambertville barber was Richard Komendera, who began his career in a shop at Secor and Sterns roads.

Temperance barber Martin VanBuren Moyer was known to pull teeth without using painkillers. His shop was in business from 1909 to 1928, and charged 15 cents for a shave and a quarter for a haircut.

Circulation clerk Jennifer Wenzel arranged the main display, drawing on the training she had in visual merchandising before she entered library work. The exhibit was very much in keeping with the library’s mission of promoting local history, she said.

“This is history,” she said. “We just had a quilter who brought all of her stuff, and that was neat. Every month we have something different.”

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