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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Michigan Assassin: 1908

The Michigan Assassin: 1908

San Francisco, 1908. "Boxer Stanley Ketchel at wheel of American Underslung auto with manager Britt Willis." Both of whom would be dead not long after this photo was made -- middleweight champion Ketchel (the "Michigan Assasssin") fatally shot in a training-camp robbery in 1910, and Willis the victim of a "violent stomach hemorrhage" in 1909. Their car, an American Underslung, was among the first to employ the now-universal dropped frame, with the bottom of the car below the axles. 6½ x 8½ glass negative by Dana Studio, from the collection of George Whitney Jr. (1922-2002), owner of the Cliff House restaurant. View full size.

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The tank on the running board -

- is almost certainly holding acetylene, which is used in the headlights.

Quite a set of driving gloves.

The long gauntlet was clearly intended to keep the wind from blowing up one's sleeve, and kept the sleeve from catching on other things on the car, like the shift lever.


Curious about the multiple "valve stems" in the rim. Can't recall seeing this on other photos of the era. Any ideas? Also what is the pressure vessel mounted horizontally of step? Is it the source to blow the massive horn coming out of the cowl?

[The wheels have tire clamps, which are addressed in this comment thread about a contemporaneous auto. -tterrace]


I assume the "FOTOGRAFHER" sign above means "PHOTOGRAPHER"? Where did this weird spelling come from?

["Fotografer" (not "fotografher") means "photographers" in Swedish, Danish and Norwegian. -tterrace]

Ketchel Killed

Fascinating story of the murder of Stanley Ketchel here.


There seems to be a multi note steam whistle on the side of the car. I don't think even Stanleys had those.

SF 1908

Stanley Ketchel fought 2 fights in San Francisco in 1908 at the Coliseum, on 31 July he fought Hugo Kelly and won with a KO in the 2nd, a week later he defeated Joe Thomas by TKO in the 3rd.

Unmatched wheels

They're the same style and it's hard to tell from this distance if they are the same size. But the rears have extra spokes and segments. I wonder why?

[To withstand the stresses of acceleration and braking. - Dave]

Rogues' Gallery

Every person in this picture looks like trouble (except for the girls -- they just look scared).

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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