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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE CITY OF RUINS AND ROSES, c. 1930

DPC Special: 1902

DPC Special: 1902

        In this car, known as the California Special, I toured the Southwest in 1902 with a display of pictures for the Detroit Publishing Company.
                                -- William Henry Jackson, "Time Exposure"

"Detroit Photographic Co. Special." An assistant to William Henry Jackson seated in a Delaware, Lackawanna & Western Railroad car. I've been reading WHJ's autobiography, "Time Exposure," which he began in his tenth decade and completed in 1940, two years before his death at age 99. Highly recommended by Shorpy's Book Club. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative. View full size.

 

Wm. H. Jackson and Henry Ford

Here's another view of Wm. H. Jackson. I bought this image at an antiques store a couple of weeks ago. If my math is correct, it's from 1942. A faint "Associated Press Photo" stamp is on the back, so I'm not sure if you can use this. But I thought you'd be interested in seeing the great man from another angle.

[Most fascinating! If WHJ was 97 when this picture was made, it was taken in 1940 or early 1941. - Dave]

Soot catcher

Dutch asked: ... what was the purpose of the saucer shaped tops about a foot over each of the wall lamp glass chimneys? Probably to catch soot, but how? Soot is in the hot vapor that rises straight up from the flame. All the catcher has to do is just be there close above it. Without those, the soot would coat everything immediately above the lamp, plus also tend to disperse in the air and gradually get all over everything else in the room.

Think About Running Water

Looking at the (exquisite) photos on display in Mr. Jackson's rail car, I just have to ask, did he have bladder problems?

So Time Travel IS Possible!

Apparently Geraldo Rivera has gotten his hands on a time machine. You can just see the wheels turning in his brain as he works on his next expose.

Cluttered but revealing

This is a marvelous image containing his best images on the walls and ceiling, his 8 x 10 camera on the desk with him, a sturdy tripod that looks light to carry, and my favorite, blotter books on the far side of his bed, weighted down to keep them flat with his pillows.

Blotter books were, as you can see, a method of drying prints and keeping them flat. Practically though, because that method takes days and days to dry the prints and the blotter paper, I always removed them after several hours and placed them on a very large framed screen that was on pulleys so it could be hoisted up to the ceiling, out of the way. The framed screen was covered with an identical screen so the prints would dry flat .

Good times!

Maxfield Parrish

Just add a few nymphs posing here and there among the rocks and trees and those photographs are amazingly similar to the beautiful Maxfield Parrish prints of the day!

Color me curious black and white

I'm hoping someone will have the answers to two questions. 1. What is that box-like device hanging from a strap near the lamp next to Mr. Jackson? 2. Easier - what was the purpose of the saucer shaped tops about a foot over each of the wall lamp glass chimneys? Probably to catch soot, but how?

"A private railroad car is not an acquired taste..."

"One takes to it right away." So said Eleanor Robson Belmont.

I imagine this holds true if the company is paying for it, and even if half of the car is taken up by darkroom and storage. And no, I don't think he looks 59. I look young for 43, and he looks a bit younger than me. Maybe he's like the Queen. Or Deepak Chopra.

Bravo.

Luz, espacio 3D, detalle, escenografía, encuadre: Todo. Bravo por WHJ.
Gracias.

Last Stop

There's also a nice writeup of him and a photo of his tombstone at Find-a-Grave that's worth a visit.

At 97 and counting

There is a wonderful article from Time Magazine, dated April 15, 1940, on a exhibit of Jackson's work.

Last week the museum on the first floor of Secretary Harold Ickes' new, white, boxlike Department of the Interior Building in Washington was given over to an exhibition of Pioneer Jackson's aged photographs. Admired by public and connoisseurs alike were the vivid detail and panoramic scope of the mountain and forest views that Old Master Jackson had snapped with his battered, wooden 6½-by-8½ camera in days when photography was scarcely more than a stunt. Best exhibit of all was spry Oldster Jackson himself, stooped and white-bearded but talkative and effervescent at 97.

William Henry Jackson still takes pictures, but with an up-to-date Leica, does a little sketching on the side, spends his spare time polishing his autobiography, which is due next month. Says he: "A fellow has to keep busy or he gets bored. I'm never bored." Three years ago, when his cronies of the G. A. R. hobbled bravely down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue in their Memorial-Day parade, Veteran Jackson failed to march. "Poor old Bill!" sighed his aged brothers-in-arms. Later they discovered that Bill Jackson had been dodging in & out of the crowds all along the route, taking pictures of the parade.

Good genes

And not just longevity-wise. That has to be the youngest-looking 59-year-old guy I've ever seen. Take away the mustache and I'd say he was maybe 25. Maybe it was exposure to all that photo fixer early on.

[This may have been taken in the Eighties or Nineties and published in 1902. (Where's that background wall calendar when you need it?) Here's WHJ circa 1904. Below, the old man in his 90s. - Dave]

Must be the clean living of 1902

If my math is correct, he would be 59 years old in this photo. I will be 59 next month, and Mr. Jackson looks a lot younger than I do!

[WHJ was indeed noted for his youthful appearance in midlife. - Dave]

 
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