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Arthur Younger Ford photograph albums

 Unprocessed Material
Identifier: 1977_001-PA

Content Description

Three 14 x 17 inch albums. Albums I and II contain 309 gelatin silver prints, mostly 8 x 10 inch or slightly smaller, depicting various subjects in Kentucky, circa 1900-1910. Various photographers. Album III contains 70 gelatin silver prints taken at Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis, 1904. Item count is approximate. The Arthur Y. Ford albums include photographs of Kentucky scenes captured at the turn of the 20th century. The albums were assembled in 1904 for display in the Kentucky Building at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. After the exposition, also known as the St. Louis World's Fair, the albums remained in the hands of Ford, chairman of the Kentucky committee for the fair. The family of Arthur Y. Ford, who served as president of the University of Louisville from 1914 through 1926, donated the albums in 1970. The 309 photographs from the first two albums are of Kentucky scenes from the Appalachian, Bluegrass, and western portions of the state. The third album contained photographs of the Louisiana Purchase Exhibition, including views of the Kentucky Building and exhibits. The albums contained no views from the Louisville area or from the Northern Kentucky region near Cincinnati, Ohio. It seems reasonable, therefore, to assume that there had originally been at least one other album. The official reports of the Kentucky Committee list the photographers whose work was exhibited, but not all of those named are represented in the extant albums. Unfortunately, the reports do not contain an itemized listing of the photographs displayed at the exposition. The photographs contained in the albums are all silver gelatin prints. Most depict rural scenes, emphasizing people in front of their homes, at work farming, including hemp production, or engaged in craft work, such as broom making, weaving, and carving. The images depict a wide range of Kentuckians, from wealthy thoroughbred owners to poor country people and belie the usual stereotypes of rural Kentucky and Appalachia. The 69 images from the fair, comprising the third album, were produced by official fair photographers for a mass market. They include images of Kentucky's and other states' agricultural exhibits; of the buildings and landscape of the fairgrounds, in what is now St. Louis' Forest Park; and of one of the fair's most defining and disturbing features, the anthropological exhibits. Over 2,000 indigenous people from around the world, including approximately 1,000 from the Philippines, a then-new protectorate of the U.S., were brought to the fair in order to expose fairgoers to other cultures, and to expose people from those cultures to the mores and amenities of Western civilization at the dawn of the 20th century. 377 images from the 379 filed with the Ford photograph albums are available online. One duplicate image was removed from display, and another was discovered to belong to the Claude C. Matlack Collection. The university archives also houses the papers of Arthur Y. Ford and those of his son Salem Ford (1896-1976) who attended the University of Louisville. Arthur Ford's papers contain his letters, clippings, scrapbooks, speeches, and diaries, beginning with his student days at Brown University, ca. 1883. Most of the material relates to his work as a Louisville journalist, businessman, and university president. Also included in the collection are miscellaneous photographs, printed material, diary pages, and correspondence of one son, Salem, and his wife.

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Restrictions Apply



  • 1876-1983 (bulk 1883-1926)


380 photographs (5 boxes)