Skip to main content

Royal Photo Company collection

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1982_003-PA

Content Description

Contains 14,817 flexible film negatives and nine volumes of order books (which record job number and information) from the Royal Photo Company, Louisville. The photographic negatives from the Royal Photo Company were taken between 1937 and 1973 in and around Louisville, Kentucky. Most of the negatives are 8 x 10-inch safety negatives. Also included are approximately 180 photographic prints given to Aaron Chase by the Royal Photo Company. These prints are "before" and "after" images from the 1960s of buildings undergoing exterior renovations by the Louisville Perma Stone Company.Stern J. Bramson (1912-1989), son of the founder, made the bulk of the negatives between 1939 and 1972. The studio or its subsequent owner discarded all earlier materials. Prints by the studio are found in several other collections at the Photographic Archives, including Cirkut camera panoramas shot during World War I when the studio moved to Camp Taylor, a U.S. Army training base in suburban Louisville. The collection includes studio logbooks, an oral history interview with Stern Bramson, and over 25,000 black and white negatives. The negatives are a valuable source of information about commerce, industry, and major construction during this important period. In addition, there are significant groups of photographs showing workers, family groups, and minorities in Louisville. Louis Bramson established the Royal Photo View Company in Louisville in 1904, but many of the glass negatives were apparently sold when the company moved to a new second-floor location on West Jefferson Street in 1937. The Royal Photo Company focused on commercial photography and, unlike many other photographic businesses, did not operate a studio for portraits. Clients included Hillerich & Bradsby -- makers of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat -- and other businesses such as Southern Bell Telephone & Telegraph Company, Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corporation, and the Kaufman-Straus department store. In 1908, the company was renamed the Royal Photo Company. Stern Bramson, the son of Louis Bramson, joined the studio in 1930 and eventually took over operations, running the company until 1973 when he sold the collection to William Blackwell of Blackwell Studios. The University of Louisville acquired the collection of photographic negatives in 1982.

Acquisition Type


Language of Description


Script of Description


Restrictions Apply



  • 1937-1972


30000 photographs (92 boxes, 2 drawers, 18 books)