Charles Robert Pratsch was born November 17, 1857 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, son of Charles August (born 1833, Leipzig) and Catherine Anna Dostman Pratsch (born 1837, Lancaster, Pennsylvania). Moving westward at the age of 25 with his brother-in-law, Lester L. Darling, and in 1884 the two homesteaded adjacent claims on the Wishkah River in the Grays Harbor country of western Washington state. By 1889, he was involved in photography. He had persuaded a photographer named Tolman to teach him the techniques for $300.
The Charles R. Pratsch collection of photographs was purchased by Washington State University in 1971. The collection consists of 584 glass negatives, mostly 8 x l0 inches; 299 lantern slides, many hand colored; and 33 miscellaneous photoprints. Pratsch’s work recorded all facets of woodswork, milling and shipping, as well as fishing, sealing and other maritime activities of Grays Harbor, Washington. There are also extensive photos showing the early growth of the towns of Aberdeen and Hoquiam, Washington. Of great interest and value to scholars are 64 portraits and photographs of the Quinault Indians.
In his later years Charles Robert Pratsch was caretaker of the Laidlow Island duck preserve. He died in 1937 at the age of 79 a few days after walking into a slowly moving train. His son, Fred Pratsch, acquired the negatives and made prints which he reproduced as oil paintings.
Pratsch's only known Yellowstone stereoviews are part of the collection at Washington State University. They are copy negatives of stereopticon views. The location of the originals is unknown, as are the dates of his visit to the park. It is very possible that Pratsch never released any Yellowstone views for sale to the general public, but were for his private use only.