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2006 National Stereoscopic Assn Miami FL Harry zur Kleinsmiede, Sheldon Aronowitz and Gary Shacker by Susan Pinsky

Harry zur Kleinsmiede

3D enthusiast and major 3D book publisher


1947 - 2020    73 years old

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2006 National Stereo Assn Miami FL portr
2006 National Stereo Assn Miami FL portrait of Harry zur Kleinsmiede by Gary Schacker

Author and 3-D Book publisher Harry zur Kleinsmiede died early this year and his loss to the international 3-D community is hard to measure. He was among the founders of the International Stereoscopic Union in 1975, but his contributions to the spread of information about (and enthusiasm for) stereoscopic photography were only beginning.

Starting in 1985 with the publication of Wim van Keulen's 3D Past and Present, Harry's 3-D Book Productions published an amazing variety of View-Master illustrated books and 3-reel albums with text and/or images by accomplished and internationally recognized people like Wim van Keulen, Mark Blum, Hugo de Wijs, Mary Ann & Wolfgang Sell, Stan White, Dr. Robert Chase, Pat Whitehouse and Harry himself. In 1987, 3-D Book Productions published the second (and later third) edition of Jac. G. Ferwerda's The World of 3-D, A practical guide to stereo photography which was widely accepted as a standard text on the subject by both beginners and experienced stereographers around the world. To help with one of the most challenging aspects of stereo photography in those slide film days, Harry wrote 3-D Mounting Guide, A Practical Guide to Mounting Stereo Slides.

1975 Harry zur Kleinsmiede and others at 1st ISU Congress Wageningen, Netherlands by Bern Dons
1975 Harry zur Kleinsmiede and R.P. deVr
1975 Harry zur Kleinsmiede and R.P. deVries at 1st ISU Congress Wageningen, Netherlands by Bern Dons
1975 Harry zur Kleinsmiede with Meopta s
1975 Harry zur Kleinsmiede with Meopta stereo 35 in Volendam
at 1st ISU Congress by Don Jeater
1978 ISU York UK Abram Klooswijk, Wim va
1978 Group eating at ISU Congress in York, UK with Abram Klooswijk on left and
Harry zur Kleinsmiede on right with others by Charlie Piper 

Each of the books and most of the 3-reel albums were reviewed in Stereo World, and it's hard to pick favorites from among so many gems but one that I enjoy going back to is Wim van Keulen's 3D Imagics, A Stereoscopic Guide to the 3D Past and its Magic Images 1838-1900.


Condensed on its 78 pages and 12 View-Master reels is an impressively comprehensive and well illustrated history of 19th century stereography from cameras to subjects to viewers. Everything Harry published drew new people into some aspect of 3-D, but 3D Imagics has a special power to seduce people into an appreciation (or even passion) for historical stereo imagery. 

As a child, Harry had to spend several years in a hospital, where in 1952 he was given a View-Master Model C, one of the few in the Netherlands at the time. More than just "open the world" to him, it inspired an interest that impacted the rest of his life. In 1994, he published a View-Master illustrated book about View-Masters, Mary Ann and Wolfgang Sell's View-Master Viewers – An Illustrated History containing six reels documenting View-Master equipment over the years, including some rare or one-of-a-kind examples. 

1978 Harry zur Kleinsmiede at York ISU C
1978 Harry zur Kleinsmiede at York International Stereoscopic Union Congress
by Charlie Piper 
1983 Harry zur Kleinsmiede at the Hugo stereo projector at the International Stereoscopic Union Congress, Buxton UK by David Starkman
I983 International Stereoscopic Union co

But his most prodigious (14+ year) effort would appear beginning in 2001 in four volumes containing no reels or stereo images at all. His View-Master Reels and Packets, A Collector's Guide would provide enthusiasts and collectors with a carefully researched and organized record of all reels and packets issued since 1939.

Accomplishing this required three large volumes plus a Supplement. Even the Supplement, at 448 pages, is a heftier book than some previous efforts at listing View-master reels, and Volume 3 (Showtime and Education) is over two inches thick. Combined, the volumes provide 1,964 pages of lists, background information and reel face images, plus packet covers, which are illustrated in color. Even after the 2015 Supplement, an Index to the four volumes was published the following year.


Harry zur Kleinsmiede was an ideal combination of a person knowledgeable, helpful, interesting, friendly and just basically a delight to meet and talk with at NSA cons and ISU congresses. He was one of those individuals who's departure can truly be said to leave the world a bit flatter, and as a View-Master historian and reel publisher, even a bit less round!
                    - John Dennis

Editor, Stereo World

National Stereoscopic Assn

I983 International Stereoscopic Union congress Buxton UK Susan Pinsky
with Harry zur Kleinsmiede by David Starkman
1983 Abram Klooswijk and Harry zur Klein
1983 Abram Klooswijk and Harry zur Kleinsmiede at ISU in Buxton UK
by Lou Smaus
1983 Buxton UK ISU by David Starkman_04.
1983 Harry zur Kleinsmiede at the Hugo deWijs stereo projector at the International Stereoscopic Union Congress, Buxton UK by David Starkman

Below from Allan Griffin's 1990 Interview as editor of Stereoscopy 4 (series 2),  periodical of the  International Stereoscopic Union: (modified for tense)

There was a publishing house in The Netherlands that specialized in issuing books in the fields of stereo photography and

3-D history, namely, '3-D Book Productions' with Harry zur Kleinsmiede and Mariet de Weerd as an enthusiastic pair of publishers.

Since his childhood, Harry zur Kleinsmiede collected View-Master reels and made his own personal reels. In later years his stereo collection was enlarged with a Belplasca camera and a home made Hugo de Wijs stereo projector. At meetings of the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stereofotografie (NVvS) (Dutch Society for Stereo Photography) and at ISU International Stereoscopic Congresses, we have been able to enjoy Zur Kleinsmiede's beautiful

3-D audiovisuals, including Disneyland, China, The Tyrol in Winter, Legoland, Dog's Cemetery, Poland and Auschwitz.

From general publisher to 3-D publisher

1978 ISU York Convention Paul Wing Abram
1978 ISU York Convention Paul Wing, Abram Klooswijk and Harry zur Kleinsmiede by Charlie Piper
1983 Abram Van Klooswijk and Harry zur K
1983 Abram Van Klooswijk and Harry zur Kleinsmiede at Buxton ISU
by David Starkman
1983 International Stereoscopic Union co
1983 International Stereoscopic Union congress Buxton UK Harry zur Kleinsmiede and Susan Pinsky in front of Palace Hotel by David Starkman
1983 Group shot of International Stereos
1983 Group shot of International Stereoscopic Union congress attendees Buxton UK
with RED arrow to Harry zur Kleinsmiede on left side by David Starkman
1989 ISU Frankfurt brunch Harry zur Klei

By profession Zur Kleinsmiede was a publisher of educational books. What is better than combining one's profession and hobby? Consequently, in 1977, the book 'Stereofotografie stap voor stap' (Stereo Photography Step by Step) by Jacobus G. Ferwerda was brought out, a publication of the NVvS, the production and marketing of which were completely co-ordinated and organized by Zur Kleinsmiede. Five years later Ferwerda's book 'The World of 3-D' was released by the NVvS. Ferwerda and Zur Kleinsmiede had been engaged on the work for almost two years.

Zur Kleinsmiede's next project was a series of educational booklets in combination with View-Master reels – one or two reels to each booklet. In 1984 he offered this project to Wolters-Noordhoff of The Netherlands, a well known publishing house of informative books. Zur Kleinsmiede was given an opportunity to develop his 'Wolters 3-D' idea. At first there were plans for eight titles, among which were 'Stereo viewing Past and Present', 'Life of the Bees', 'Space Shuttle' and 'World War I' . After a market research with detailed covers, bookshop displays and test reels, it was decided not to continue this project. Unfortunately, for publications like these, the market appeared to be rather too small.

1989 ISU Frankfurt Germany Harry zur Kleinsmiede with Cynthia Morton at brunch by David Starkman
1993 ISU Eastbrn Sept Harry zur Kleinsmi
1993 ISU Eastbourne Sept Harry zur Kleinsmiede behind his trade show table
by Susan Pinsky
1993 ISU Eastbourne Sept Harry zur Kleinsmiede at banquet by David Starkman
1993 Harry zur Kleinsmiede at ISU Eastbo
1993 Harry zur Kleinsmiede at ISU Eastbourne Trade show by David Starkman
2003 Bescason ISU Harry zur Kleinsmiede
2003 Bescason, France ISU Harry zur Kleinsmiede at downstairs trade fair
by David Starkman
2011 ISU Egmond aan Zee Netherland Harry
2011 ISU Egmond aan Zee Netherland Harry zur Kleinsmiede getting pudding
by Susan Pinsky
The Beginnings of 
3-D Book Productions
2006 National Stereoscopic Assn Miami FL Harry zur Kleinsmiede, Sheldon Aronowitz and Gary Shacker by Susan Pinsky

The 'Wolters 3-D' project formed the foundation on which '3-D Book Productions' was built. It was established in March, 1985. The first title produced was '3-D Past and Present', derived from the manuscript Wim van Keulen had originally written for the earlier project, with additional detail added. The result was a handsome looking book in four-colour printing, giving an overall view of the complete stereo story, from daguerreotypes up to and including holography. Inside the back cover, three View-Master reels were inserted, details of which were included in the text. The resulting product was more attractive than the former, and was aimed at a smaller public.

2011 ISU Egmond aan Zee Netherland Harry zur Kleinsmiede at his trade table
by David Starkman

Towards the end of 1985 the supply of 'The World of 3-D' was running out and the NVvS was no longer interested in marketing the book. However, it was still in demand world-wide, and it was because of this reason that '3-D Book Productions' decided to publish it on their own account. In 1987 the second edition was released, and towards the end of 1989 the third printing was marketed. 'The World of 3-D' is now considered as the standard guidebook for stereo photographers world-wide and is now sold in over thirty countries.

[End of excerpt from Allan Griffin's 1990 interview]

1985 ISU Arlington VA Harry zur Kleinsmi
1985 International Stereoscopic Union Arlington, VA Harry zur Kleinsmiede and Paul Milligan at Harpers Ferry by Susan Pinsky
1991 Harry zur Kleinsmiede, Susan Pinsky
1991 Harry zur Kleinsmiede, Susan Pinsky and Allan Griffin ISU Paris, France

I was so shocked to hear of Harry's passing from a stroke.  I have been friends with Harry for about 40 years.  We spoke often, and we roomed together at a few NSA Conventions,  After the 2001 NSA Convention Harry, I , and Gary Schacker traveled to New York City together.  

I was so honored when Harry asked me to edit his four View-Master books.  I was always so amazed at his vast knowledge of View-Master history, and am so grateful that he shared this knowledge. which would have certainly been lost forever if not for Harry.

Harry was a kind gentle man who was always more than willing to share his knowledge and help out wherever he could.

In the 40 years I knew him I never heard him say a bad word about anybody, a rare trait indeed.

Harry was loved by all who knew him and he will certainly be missed by the 3D community and by the View-Master community.

Harry - you were a treasure!

Sheldon Aronowitz

1985 Mr Poster and Harry zur Kleinsmiede
1985 Mr Poster and Harry zur Kleinsmiede ISU Arlington VA by Louis Smaus

Harry zur Kleinsmiede loved View-Master like few others. He lived and breathed View-Master. And he wanted anything and everything View-Master for his collection. It is such a shame that his life's work will not be kept intact; no one place to put it all; no museum to house it all.

As you know Ryan Dumont and I own the View-Master Database, and wouldn't it be a wonderful idea if we were able to have pictures of Harry's collection (at least the more scarcer items) pictured there?  It would not be difficult to do. I could devote a section of the DB to Harry, and make categories, and show pictures of the items that were in his collection. This way, when I am gone, the DB would live on as would the images there.

All this would just take some organizing, but not a whole lot. The next step is for Harry's heirs to get in touch with me for the images.

Dalia Miller

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Harry zur Kleinsmiede's Activities/Honors

  • International Stereoscopic Union (ISU) Founding and organizing Member (1975)

  • ISU Treasurer 1975

  • ISU Committee Member for many years

  • ISU Country Representative (Netherlands)

  • ISU Auditor (1990)

  • Honorary ISU Life Member (1994)

  • ISU Secretary (1997)

  • Founding member of the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stereofotografie (NVvS) (Dutch Society for Stereo Photography) in 1973. Treasurer from 1973 to 1983.

ISU was founded in  1975 and it is considered as the first International Stereoscopic Union World Congress

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Past & Future Congresses of the International Stereoscopic Union

#           Year & Date                                        Country                           Location                            Venue

1         1975      8. – 13. May                    Netherlands                            Wageningen   International Agriculture Institute

2        1976      2. – 05. September          France                                     St. Mandé          Institut Géographique National

3       1978       07. – 11. September         United Kingdom                       York                           University of York

4        1983      22. – 26. September       United Kingdom                     Buxton                            Palace Hotel

5        1985     10. – 14. October                     USA                           Washington / DC     Rosslyn Westpark Hotel, Arlington

6        1987     01. – 05. October              Switzerland                           Interlaken                 Casino Congress Center

7        1989    29–30 May & 31 May–04 June    Germany     Berlin & Neu-Isenburg     Museum für Verkehr und                                                                                                                                                                       Technik & Hugenottenhalle

8        1991     25. – 30. September              France                                   Paris                                Palais de Tokyo

9        1993    22. – 27. September            United Kingdom                 Eastbourne                        Congress Theatre

10     1995    27. June – 03. July                      USA                                Atlanta / GA                    Stouffer Waverly Hotel

11     1997   21. – 26. May                          Netherlands                           Rolduc               Conferentieoord & Hotel Rolduc

12    1999   22. – 27. September               Germany                                Lindau                                    Inselhalle

13    2001   19. – 24. September                 Australia                              Sydney                     The Sydney Boulevard Hotel

14   2003   28. May – 02. June                    France                                Besançon                                    Kursaal

15   2005  14. – 19. September               United Kingdom                 Eastbourne                                 Congress Theatre

16   2007   10. – 17. July                                    USA                          Boise / ID      Grove Hotel / Boise Centre on the Grove

17   2009  09. – 14. September                    Austria                               Gmunden                Toscana Congress Gmunden

18  2011    17.– 23. August                         Netherlands               Egmond aan Zee                          Hotel Zuiderduin

19  2013   20.– 26. August                           Slovenia                            Ljubljana             Mestno Gledališče Ljubljansko

                                                                                                                                                          (MGL – Ljubljana City Theatre)

20  2015  06. – 11. September                  South Korea                        Busan                            Busan Cinema Center

21   2017   08. – 14. August                              USA                                 Irvine / CA                                    Hotel Irvine

22  2019  20. – 26. August                           Germany                          Lübeck                      Hotel Holiday Inn / Schuppen 9

23  2021  14. – 20. September                Czech Republic              Český Krumlov      Městské divadlo Český Krumlov

                                        For more information:

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1983 Group shot of International Stereos
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