Bob Bartosz with his 4 & 5 Camera in 1958

BOB BARTOSZ has been to official photographer of Camden County since about the beginning of time.... well, make that 1954. I would not be exaggerating if I said that his work provided a lot of inspiration for this website. 

The son of Carl and Ethel Bartosz, Bob Bartosz' early years were spent at 628 North 35th Street in East Camden. He was already shooting pictures for area newspapers when he graduated from Camden County Vocational School in Pennsauken in 1954. 

Bob Bartoz, Bob Dolan, and a several other men interested in Fire Service in Camden founded the South jersey Fire Buffs in the mid-1950s. The group aided Rev. William Gwynne of the Volunteers of America in operating a mobile canteen to assist Camden fire fighters. 

Bob Bartosz married his wife Pat on February 15, 1958. Bob Dolan was his best man.

Bob Bartosz worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Bulletin, and from 1959 until his retirement in 1982, for the Camden Courier-Post. He worked as a Camden County Park police officer for 10 years in the 1960s. Besides his over 50 years of service as the official fire photographer for Camden County, he has over 40 years of service to Camden itself, having been in 1964 appointed official fire photographer for the Camden City Fire Department. He is an honorary battalion chief for Camden City Fire Department, and also assisted in getting the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund launched.

Bob Bartosz continues to serve Camden's Firefighters. Through his efforts, on May 16, 2006 Firefighter William Hillman, lost in the Sixth Regiment Armory fire of March 1906, finally had a tombstone placed over his remains, with full honors.

The subject of a long-overdue tribute in the Courier-Post written by Tom Bergbauer, Bob Bartosz has been chronicling Camden for over 50 years. This website in particular as well as anyone who has an interest in just about any aspect of Camden history owes Bob Bartosz a tremendous amount of thanks. I could go on and on, but I'll restrain myself and post Tom Bergbauer's article, and a few other items here.

Among other honors, Bob has been named an Honorary Deputy Chief of the Camden Fire Department.

Bob, if and when you see this, THANK YOU from ALL of us for your work and for the spirit in which you continue to serve our community in.

Phil Cohen
Camden NJ
June 2006

Henry H. Davis School
Miss Ada Haley's 5th Grade Class
Do You Recognize Anyone Here?????

July 2006- A reunion is being planned for later in the year.
If you recognize anyone or are in this picture yourself,
PLEASE e-mail Bob Bartosz at

Bob Bartosz and Bob Dolan....

My Dad knew Bob Dolan since they were teenagers. My Mom met him when she was dating my Dad in the 1950's.  My Dad and Bob went to thousands of fires together for many years.  They always stayed in touch with each other  and had long talks on the phone.

Bob Dolan was interested in many projects.  All of them were around helping people..

In the mid 1950's my Dad and Bob formed a Fire Buff Club called South Jersey Fire Buffs Assoc. and Bob Dolan was the first president of the Club.  They teamed up with a local Reverend, William Gwynne.  Rev. Gwynne was noted for taking coffee and cold drinks to Camden Fire Fighters whenever there was a major fire in the City.  He normally worked out of the back of his station wagon with his wife serving refreshments to the firemen.  Bob Dolan would go with him to help him out.  Bob was an auxiliary fireman in Camden City but my Dad was too young to join but my Dad traveled with Bob taking pictures of the fires.  They had an idea and they raised money from donations and in less than a year they reached their goal and the truck was purchased.  The Canteen truck had many homes and its last storage place was at the Pennsauken 2 Fire Station and many of the firemen helped them run the canteen.  As the years went by many of the members passed away including the Reverend and his wife and in the late 1970's the Fire Buff Club only had three of its original members and went out of existence.  You can see many of the photos on display of the happier times showing Bob Dolan and the members of the South Jersey Fire Buffs Association at work from the photos that my Dad took.

In 1956 Bob Dolan was drafted in the Service and in 1958 my Mom & Dad were married.  Bob Dolan was able to get a weekend leave and he was the best man in their wedding.  It started out to be a beautiful day on Feb. 15, 1958. As my parents arrived at the church it started to snow and Bob would tell my Dad that the snow was getting very deep outside.  By mid-afternoon there was nearly 8 to 10 inches of snow on the ground and it was still snowing.  My parents had their bags packed and were heading for the New Jersey Turnpike to head South.  It took them almost four hours to reach Mt. Laurel and by then the Turnpike was closed.  They were lucky to find a nearly motel.  By days end, the snow was almost 2 feet deep.  The snow also stranded Bob Dolan at my grandparents home in East Camden.  For over a day and a half Bob had to walk and hitch hike back to Fort Dix.  Just making it back in time so he wasn't listed as AWOL.  This was one event he always liked to talk about for the last 48 years.   Bob Dolan would always say his Famous Quote "If I was the Best Man Than Why Did She Marry Him".

Robert W. Bartosz,
December 15, 2006

Bob Bartosz
Willie Mays

34th & 34th East Side Gang!

Not to be confused with the notorious North Cramer Hill Gang (those guys pulled stickups!), this fine group of life-long friends grew up in East Camden in the 1940s & '50s, in the 500 & 600 blocks of North 34th & North 35th Streets. As they say, you can take the boy out of Camden, but you can't take the Camden out of the boy. This photo was taken in 1991. 
      From left to right: Don Thorne, Bill Chalmers,  George Parks, Don Joyce, Bob Bartosz, Bill Emenecker, & Ray Kerby.

Click in Images to Enlarge

Camden Courier-Post - January 9, 2006

Photographer and fire buff makes a life that is picture perfect


He was 8 years old when he took his first pictures. Sixty years and 126 awards later, Bob Bartosz still takes photographs -- as the official photographer of the Camden County and City fire departments.

The Bartosz family was living in East Camden when young Bob took to his grandmother's Brownie box camera.

"Just after World War II in 1945, my grandmother bought some film for the camera and she would let me go out and take some pictures," recalls the 68-year-old Wenonah resident.

He would take shots of his friends at play and says he still has those old black and white pictures.

At the time, there were a lot of police and firemen living in East Camden. When he was 10 years old, the firefighters and policemen would take him fishing on weekends. Then when the firemen were working, like putting out local grass fires, he would run home and get his box camera and take pictures of them in action.

That was just the beginning of what was to become a bonding friendship with the firefighters and policemen in Camden County.

"Like Bob, I was a fire buff," says Joseph Marini, chief of the Camden Fire Department. "Bob is a lifelong buff and so am I and buffs kind of move in the same circles, if you know what I mean."

Marini says Bartosz is "a professional, first and foremost and has been a great friend of firefighters for almost all of his life."

He calls Bartosz, whom he has known for 40 years, "a great friend of Camden firefighters."

But Bartosz didn't only take photos for the fire department. He was a former Pennsauken fireman and Camden County policeman stationed in Lakeland. He also was an honorary Camden battalion fire chief who traveled to Chicago and Boston to work with their fire companies to learn their firefighting methods.

And he didn't take photos exclusively for the fire department. Bartosz worked for the Courier-Post as a photographer from 1959 until he retired in 1982.

His stint as a news photographer started in 1950 when he was taking pictures of an East Camden house fire and a fireman introduced him to Philadelphia Bulletin reporter Sara Sanderson.

"She asked me if the paper could use one of his pictures and told me that they pay $5," he recalls. "So I gave her the roll of film and the next day the story and my picture was in the paper, but I did not receive a credit line under the shot."

From then on, Bartosz says, when he took pictures of fires and accidents and Sanderson was also at the scene, he would give her the roll of film and it would be published in the Bulletin and he would be paid $5 for each photo.

By 1953, when he was 16, he had saved enough money and paid $150 to purchase his first Super Graphic camera.

Bartosz the teenager began to make a name for himself among the police and firemen in Camden in the 1950s.

"I got to know all of the cops and firemen in the city," he recalls.

The Bulletin began to use his work more and more and at that time he was the only photo stringer it had in South Jersey, he says, but it still would not give him a credit line.

"In 1956, I took a time exposure of lightning flashes during a severe thunderstorm and the Bulletin used it in an eight-column spread across Page One and I still did not get credit."

The magic year for him was 1954. That's when he got his driver's license, and he was able to reach fire scenes faster and easier. That same year the Fire Chief's Association made him the official fire photographer for Camden County.

"They gave me a badge and credentials at that time," he says proudly.

Five years later, he started his career with the Courier-Post.

"One day there was a fatal accident in front of the Courier-Post on Cuthbert Road and I photographed it and the Bulletin used it on the front page," he remembers.

Despite no credit line, William Stretch, then publisher of the Courier-Post, found out who shot the picture. The next day Bartosz got a call from Stretch's secretary, telling him Stretch wanted to meet him. Stretch offered him a job at a salary he could not resist, Bartosz says.

Fellow photographer Curt Hudson says Bartosz has always had the knack.

"Because of his fire experience, the combination to be a news photographer and a fire photographer helps him to be able to see what is going on and know what is going on at a fire, enabling him to get good pictures," says Hudson, a former Courier-Post photographer and photo director.

"He has always had that ability," says Hudson, now a freelancer. "He did not just stand there and take pictures of a fire, but was able to make good pictures out of all of that commotion."

Photograph after photograph, year after year, Bartosz reaped many awards. Among them were the 1966 Andy Lester Photographer of the Year award given by the International Association of Fire Photographers at a conference in Chicago.

"My photo won over more than 1,000 others that were submitted from 37 states and Canada and England," Bartosz says proudly.

He is also particularly proud of a photo he took of the November 1969 Moratorium March in Washington, D.C. In 1970, the photo won four first-place awards for Bartosz: the New Jersey Sigma Delta Chi award for newspaper photography, the National Press Photographer's Award, and honors from the New Jersey Press Association and the Philadelphia Press Association.

Another photo he took, that of a boy swinging a bat titled Little Swinger, which won the Philadelphia Eagles Award in 1971, is one of two non-Major League photographs that hang in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Bartosz says.

As a former Camden County policeman, Bartosz says one of his proudest achievements was his role in getting the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund off the ground.

The fund provides college education for the children of any fireman or policeman killed or permanently injured in the line of duty. It raises money through fundraising projects like golf tournaments.

It got under way in 1965 when a Philadelphia policeman, wounded in the line of duty, moved to South Jersey and suggested a fund be set up in Camden County. Bartosz helped get the fund started and eventually became a director and official photographer of the fund.

"I had a few friends of mine that were killed in the line of duty (as police and firemen) and I always wanted to start something like that," he says.

But Bartosz was not just an expert fire and accident cameraman, he also excelled in other subjects. In 1971 he was assigned to cover the Philadelphia Phillies at their new home, Veterans Stadium.

"Over the years I met hundreds of players and became friendly with them," he says. "To this day my wife, Pat, and I still receive Christmas cards from many of them."

But there is one experience he had at the Vet he will never forget.

"When the All-Star game was played at the Vet in 1976, I was picked to be the only news photographer to walk out with President Gerald R. Ford and take a picture of him throwing out the first ball," Bartosz recalls.

Because he already had his Secret Service clearance, Bartosz was able to photograph every president from John F. Kennedy to Ronald Reagan.

"A few hours before President Ford got to the stadium two Secret Service agents were assigned to me," he says.

They checked his camera bags and his credentials. "I was not allowed to leave their contact. I could not talk to people and could not walk around. I had to stay with them."

Back at the Courier-Post, former Sports Editor Bob Kenney had been trying to get in touch with Bartosz because the president of Gannett Co., the owner of the newspaper, was going to be with Ford and the Courier-Post wanted Bartosz to get a picture of the Gannett president with Ford.

According to Bartosz, Kenney finally got in touch with his wife Pat, who had tickets for the game and had gone to the stadium early. When Pat Bartosz got to the stadium, she was not allowed to go near her husband, so she asked a guard to give a note to Bartosz.

What transpired next was unforgettable, Bartosz relates.

As the guard approached Bartosz, a Secret Service agent stopped him. The guard told the agent that he had a message for Bartosz from the lady on the field. When the Secret Service men read the message, they grabbed both Pat and Bartosz and started searching him and his camera bags again.

"They then asked me if I knew the lady on the field. "Yes, that's my wife,' I tell them. Come to find out my wife wrote on the note "Bob, Courier called, shoot the man in back of the president.' "

Bartosz says he "tried to make the Secret Service agents understand that the note was just photographer's lingo. Finally the authorities contacted the paper and got it all straightened out."

The upshot? He got his pictures, the newspaper got its photos of Ford and the Gannett president and everyone else.

Bartosz's job required him to be on call 24 hours a day, which took him away from home and family all hours of the day and night.

"The only regret I had is that I did not see my kids grow up in the 1960s," he says wistfully.

Now, he says, he is making up for it with his grandchildren.

"If I should die tomorrow, I had the most exciting life that the average person could never venture to, because every day I got up, I got up looking forward to taking pictures. I looked forward to going to work."

Thomas A. Bergbauer is a retired Courier-Post copy editor and can be reached at 856-346-0371,, or the Courier-Post, P.O. Box 5300, Cherry Hill 08034.

Camden Courier-Post * January 9, 2006

Left: Bob Bartosz in front of a fire truck at the Liberty Street Fire Station in Camden.
Camden Firefighters (from left) Ed Stratton, Mike LaBar, and Battalion Chief Mike DiPascale (far right) look through old photos taken by Camden Fire Department Photographer Bob Bartosz (second from right). 

This is the Camden County Hero Scholarship Fund Emblem created by Bob Bartosz in 1966 from one of his photos. The policeman and fireman are from Pennsauken and the children are Bartosz's son Robert and daughter Debra. Courier-Post artist Art Emerson drew this in 1966 from Bartosz's photo. The emblem is still used today.

Camden Courier-Post * January 9, 2006

1960 - Camden County Policeman 1965 Bob Bartosz at a Pennsauken fire
1976- Bob Bartosz at a four-alarm fire in South Camden

1979- Bob Bartosz at Veterans Stadium, covering a Phillies-Mets game for the Courier-Post, taking a photo of Hall of Famer Willie Mays.

Camden NJ firemen advancing line as explosion rips 3 Alarm Fire at Paint Company in May of 1967.

Philadelphia Fires 50s - 60s -70s

by Bob Bartosz

Mother Delivers Triplets at Camden NJ Fire Station
Story & photos by Bob Bartosz, Camden Fire Department Photographer
September 11, 2007

September 2007 has started out to be a busy month for members of the Camden City NJ Fire Department.  Especially Rescue Company 1.  You never know when the unusual is going to happen.  Within the last few days they were called to a construction accident with a construction worker being injured on a eight story high rise building under construction, extrication on the North- South Freeway, person with his leg caught in a piece of machinery and numerous working dwelling fires in which fire fighters have to search for possible victims trapped and still the unusual was about to happen.   

Group 4 was working a 24 hour tour and Captain Ed Glassman was in his office finishing up his fire reports for the day.  Fire fighter Joe Cunningham was working the Watch Desk. Fire fighters Eddie Frontado, Mike Miller and Mike Labar were on the apparatus floor checking equipment because they just came back from a working dwelling fire.  Fire fighter Labar was about to close the apparatus doors when a pregnant female came walking into the fire station, he took one look at her and knew that she was about to deliver.  

He called to fire fighter Cunningham to announce on the P.A. System for all members of Rescue 1 to report to the apparatus floor for a medical emergency.  Fire fighters assisted her to the rear of the station and Captain Glassman had fire fighters Miller and Frontado to gather up some clean towels, as fire fighter Labar was able to find a large cardboard box so she could be placed instead of laying on the bare apparatus floor.  

That was all the Rescue 1 members could do for her at the present time.  She was no stranger to the fire fighters at Liberty Street Station especially to fire fighter Danny Stratton of three group, he was off duty at the time. He especially took care of her making sure she had plenty of food to eat and as you can see by the photos, she is Smokey the fire house cat. She is an unofficial member just a neighborhood stray and a city cat who would stop by for a free handout. Fire fighters did all the could for her at the present time by making things comfortable and giving her a safe place to stay for the delivery.  Later on that morning fire fighter Labar looked in on her to check how things were going and saw that she had given birth to four kittens,  unfortunately one had died. She was given cat food and milk and is presently still in her back corner of the Liberty Street Station taking care of her remaining three kittens. Fire fighters hope that someone will adopt them and possibly give Smokey a better environment to grow up instead walking the city streets of Camden. 

Photo 1    Fire fighter Mike Labar of Rescue Co. 1 checking on Smokey and her new arrivals.

Photos 2, 3, 4    Smokey with her kittens at Rescue 1 Station in Camden NJ.

Photo 5    Smokey's friend, fire fighter Dan Stratton of Rescue 1 stopping by for a visit.

Click on Images for Enlarged and High Resolution Views

The Photographer Gets Photographed
Fire Department Photographer Bob Bartosz
Photos by Craig Campbell



For over the 50 years photographer Bob Bartosz has covered the activities of the Camden Fire Department.

On April 6, 2008, at the scene of the fire which destroyed the old Haddon Bindery on Linden Street, Camden real estate agent Craig Campbell took a photograph from which the images of Bob Bartosz at work were cropped.