Married: Annie Canty (died 1928);
Paul A. Kaminsky owned a barber shop in the Riverside Inn for more than fifty years.
Undated (but presumably c. 1940), unidentified news clipping:
Saranac Lake Barber Learned His Trade in Saxon Village
Paul Kaminsky Recalls Serving Theodore Roosevelt Charles Evans Hughes and Others.
Saranac Lake, April 3. — Barbering has come a long way since Paul Kaminsky, 71-year-old veteran now at 16 Main street, passed his examination before the Barbers' Guild in the Saxon village of Tangermundt in Germany.
Paul, as he is known to residents here, had served three years as an apprentice, beginning at 13 and paying $100 yearly for the privilege. Not only did he learn hair cutting and dressing, but also the rudiments of simple surgery and medicine.
"We not only cut hair," he relates, "but people also came to us in the small towns when they were sick, and we gave them medicine. We fixed cuts and bruises, too, and also black eyes."
There were none of the streamlined tonsorial fixtures now prevalent when he began. "Electric clippers?" he exclaimed, "We didn't even have hand clippers— just scissors, a brush and a comb. When we lathered for shaving, we used soap in a hand basin, without a shaving brush, which was quite a knack."
There were no expanses of mirrors lined with glittering bottles of lotions and tonics, no tilting chairs with hydraulic lifts. Simple, straight-backed chairs were adequate then, and a small hand-mirror. "They call this the 'antique shop'," he said, indicating his massive oak furnishings, "but it was way ahead of what there was in the old days."
From Tangermundt, he set out on an Odyssey that took him through Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland to America. In the Russian Imperial embassy at Berlin, he once shaved the Grand Duke Vladimir; in London he trimmed the hair of Ignace Jan Paderewski, then rising to fame, and in Edinburgh, he ministered to Prime Minister Gladstone of England.
Beards and mustaches were plentiful in those days, he recalled. One day in the Oriental hotel at Manhattan Beach, he trimmed the bristling mustache of a vigorous young man, then police commissioner of New York, later President Theodore Roosevelt. He also trimmed the mustache of John Philip Sousa, the noted bandmaster, and here in Saranac Lake was called to serve Charles Evans Hughes, then governor of New York state and now Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Kaminsky came to Saranac Lake 36 years ago and after working six months for Mack Pasho at 33 Main street bought the Riverside Inn barber shop. He stayed at the Inn for 26 years, and ten years ago moved to his present location at 16 Main street. The Inn was razed in 1935.
It was in 1904 that he first began shaving E. C. Pine, proprietor of the Riverside Inn, which he has continued to do daily since that time. Mr. Pine is one of the few that still have an individual shaving mug at his shop.
Mr. Kaminsky is now in his 56th year as a barber and still puts in a full day at the chair. There is no more doctoring in his trade, few mustaches and beards to trim, and not so many shaves as formerly.
However, not all his barbering has been confined to men. He believes that he was the first man in Saranac Lake to cut a woman's hair, over 20 years ago. This first customer was none other than Irene Castle, who introduced bobbed hair to America, and who was then visiting a sister here.
Undated, unidentified news clipping:
Paul A. Kaminsky Celebrates 50th Anniversary as Barber By Canceling Debts to Him
Saranac Lake Man Has Cut Hair of Many Noted Persons
SARANAC LAKE.—Celebrating his 50th anniversary as a barber, Paul A. Kaminsky has wiped out the debts owed him by all customers and bid them welcome in his Main street barber shop.
Half a century of hair cutting and associated activities of the barber's trade have made Paul quite a diplomat so that he can please all comers.
He has been the dean of barbers in this village for so many years that Paul's history has almost faded into oblivion. However, his history goes back to Friday the 13th of April, 1869, when he was born in the Saxony village of Tangermundt, the 13th child of a family of 13.
In his 13th year, Paul A. Kaminsky affixed his signature of 13 letters to an apprenticeship card in the barber shop of his native village. For three years, while he paid a fee of $100 a year, Paul learned the many duties of a barber, which in those days and in that village included pulling teeth, doctoring blackened eyes and other incidentals.
When he finished his apprenticeship and was awarded a big diploma by the barbers' guild, Paul moved on to practice his profession in various cities of Germany, England, Ireland and Scotland before coming to America.
Many were the famous faces that Paul shaved and the heads of hair that he trimmed. Having mastered the art of barbering in Leisig and Dresden, Paul administered the tonsorial needs to his first real celebrity in Berlin. This was the Grand Duke Vladimir of Russia.
But that incident was just a stepping stone to the real achievement of his career, trimming the hair of the renowned pianist Ignace Jan Paderewski. That was before the famous Pole became president of his country, sometime in the, '90s when Paderewski was visiting in London.
This was a task for a truly masterful barber. It required several hours, and he earned a pound tip.
A list of the famous men for whom Paul cut hair would be most imposing, but it must be mentioned that the learned Gladstone was one of his patrons in Edinboro.
Not long after Paul came to United States in 1893 there sat in his barber chair at the old Oriental hotel in Manhattan beach a second future president. This man had quite a mustache to trim as well the hair of his head. He was then police commissioner of New York city, and later was President Theodore Roosevelt.
Paul come to Saranac Lake just about 30 years ago. A few months after his arrival he became owner of the barber shop in Riverside inn and conducted it until three years ago when the inn closed temporarily.
A coincidence of his first cutting of woman's hair was that the woman was the person who introduced bobbed hair in America—Irene Castle, the dancer. It was on the occasion of Mrs. Castle's visit to a sister in this village.