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WILLIAM TAUCH
The Fayetteville Photographer
and His Sculptor Daughter

by John Troesser

( Illustrated with 5 vintage photos )
Mr. and Mrs. Tauch
The Tauchs in happier times
(William in his Volunteer Fire Dept Uniform)
Courtesy Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives
In the middle of the 1890s, a man named William Tauch was mayor of Fayetteville. Since Fayetteville has never demanded too much of the mayor's time, William filled in the rest of his hours by being the town photographer.

William suffered from "Small town Photographer's Syndrome." This was a common malady of the times. Whenever the photographer felt he was about to be overcome by fumes from the chemicals - he would reach into his back pocket for the antidote which came in small brown bottles and was sold nearly everywhere.

Mrs. Tauch was worried that he was taking too much antidote. But she had another concern which was the time he spent alone indoors with other women. She was afraid something might develop besides photographs.
Tauch and 3 Mai brothers
Tauch (kneeling with real mustache) in a play with the Mai Brothers
Courtesy Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives
She thought long and hard about how to let her husband know how she felt. She decided that cutting her throat in public might do the trick. She did it. In front of the house, the children and most of the town. That got Mr. Tauch's attention.

He stopped self-medicating and moved to Schulenburg. Mrs. Tauch missed her jugular and recovered, but wore high collars thereafter. They later moved to Flatonia and then to Brady where their daughter Waldine exhibited her talent for sculpting.
Tauch and family
The Tauch Family. Standing: Emma (left) and Waldine

Courtesy Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives

Waldine was so impressed by the detail in an ivory letter opener that she carved an elephant's head in chalk. It was noticed by a neighbor and shortly thereafter she was asked to form a centerpiece (in butter) for The Brady Tuesday Study Club's luncheon. The group, recognized talent when they saw it and collected money to send her to San Antonio to study under the world-renowned sculptor Pompeo Coppini.

Coppini was so impressed with her that he taught her gratis when her tuition ran out. He and his wife asked to legally adopt Waldine, even though she was technically full-grown by this time. Coppini taught her on the condition that she must never wed. She never did and she worked until she was in her 80s.

Sunday School class picnic
Waldine and Emma (first seated girls on log (left)

Courtesy Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives
Sample Photograph from The Tauch Studio in Fayetteville:
A wedding "Cabinet Card" from the 1890s. Note imprint at bottom. Click on photo for larger image

From TE photo archives
Today her sculptures and statues are found in San Antonio, Austin, Canton, Dallas and Brownwood as well as other towns across Texas. An example of her work can be seen by clicking on the Canton page. The monument at Cost near Gonzales is by Waldine Tauch as well as Pippa Passes on the Baylor University campus.

John Troesser
Personal Interview with Martha Tauch, Flatonia, Texas, November, 1999

Readers' Forum:
Subject: Waldine Tauch

I read with interest your article on Waldine Tauch and her father. Thank you for this.

However, I would point out that seven Tauch pieces are part of our collection, including the original plasters from which the bronzes were cast for the Texas Ranger, Pippa Passes, Higher Education, and Buckner Group. Tauch had a special relationship with Panhandle-Plains as she also left twelve Pompeo Coppini pieces to PPHM as well. You might add Canyon and Burnet (Buckner Children's Home) to the places one can see her work.

Keep up the good work about Texas.

- Respectfully, Michael R. Grauer, Curator of Art Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas, September 23, 2005
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